I’ve worked my way through my first meat box –my subscription is with Victorian Farmstead–with unwavering success. As I almost always do when I am getting to know new ingredients–and these meats are new to me, as they are not commercially raised–I prepared very simple dishes. I enjoyed half the grass-fed New York steak neat, with just salt and pepper. It cooked in half the time corn-fed steak requires; about 2 minutes per side for rare was sufficient. I enjoyed the second half with a dollop of Pt. Reyes Original Blue Cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Yum. The meat was pristine and clean on the palate, with none of the greasiness of corn-fed beef. Some people will miss that greasy quality but I find its absence refreshing.

Carne asada–beef sliced very thin–made excellent tacos, as you would expect. I grilled the meat, which I seasoned first with salt and pepper, on the stove in a very hot ridged cast iron pan for about 90 seconds, quickly sliced it, folded it into tender corn tortillas that I’d heated over a gas burner and topped the meat with minced white onion, minced serrano, a squeeze of lime and chopped cilantro. It was great taco truck fare in my own kitchen.

Lamb stew meat inspired me to revisit a favorite recipe from my earliest years as a cook–lamb kababs with lemon juice, rosemary, onions and mushrooms–and I write about it in today’s Seasonal Pantry, which you can find here.

For the tiny little chicken–just 2 1/2 pounds–I used a technique I wrote about last spring, when I was experimenting with Gleason Ranch chicken, some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I followed the recipe exactly as I had written it in the column and it worked perfectly; the entire bird–including the breast–was juicy and tender. Cooking a small chicken in a hot–425 degrees–is the way to go. I served it on a big bed of spinach sauteed with garlic and lemon.

A 2 1/2 pound chicken, which will serve 2 to 4, cooks in 30 to 40 minutes.

I’ll discuss the chuck roast and ground beef in a future post. For now, here’s the recipe for cooking small pastured chickens.

I almost always serve roasted chicken on some sort of greens, sometimes sauteed spinach, sometimes big handsful of herbs, sometimes fresh salad greens

Perfect Roasted Chicken, with four variations:

  • With lemon, rosemary, sage and pancetta
  • With fresh sage and creamy polenta
  • With garlic, wild mushrooms and Madeira
  • With garlic, serranos and cilantro