Breaking the rules

As I’ve said before and discussed more fully when this blog was in its other place a few years ago, I don’t believe that beef production is sustainable.  Unlike lamb, pork and poultry production, for example, which can be beneficial and necessary to the agricultural cycle (although I know it isn’t always), raising beef cattle is too wasteful of the earth’s resources to be acceptable.  So I don’t eat beef very often…..but rules are there to be broken and when the weather is as cold as it is now there is nothing like a beef casserole for providing much needed warmth.

Some of the juniper berries in my photo yesterday were for a marinade for some stewing beef.  I added them to some red wine, chopped carrots and garlic, a couple of bay leaves, some ground pepper and a sliced echalotte onion and left the pieces of beef in this marinade overnight.  Today I added some more wine and a little salt, brought it all to the boil and simmered for about two and a half hours, adding some black olives for the last hour or so.  It’s ready now to be re-heated and served with rice for supper tonight:


8 thoughts on “Breaking the rules

  1. To my mind it’s the milk industry that’s the most wasteful and lacks sustainabilty – in Britain most male calves are shot and destroyed. People are frightened of eating veal, but happy to drink milk and eat cheese. Sorry about the rant – your casserole look delicious and a good example of using all (or more) of the animal for food 😉

      • There was something on tv the other week, on Country File I think, which was encouraging farmers to keep male calves for veal production and they also took a veal dish around the local town for people to taste. I think a campaign’s needed to re-educate people about the production of veal, to get those old fashioned ideas out of their heads, and to stop the waste of this meat. And your beef casserole sounds lovely!

  2. I’ve never used juniper berries when cooking but I’m intrigued enough to look for them the next time I go spice shopping and to give the a try shortly thereafter. How could I not be? Just look at tonight’s supper!

  3. I think you’re wrong about beef cattle. It depends how they are reared. They are a vital part of the environmental cycle in the extensively farmed uplands in the UK.

    I’ve been reading your blog for ages. Please excuse me for making my first post one of disagreement

    • That’s OK – I don’t mind disagreement and discussion! You’re right that there are upland areas where cattle rearing can be part of a sustainable cycle. But I was referring more generally to intensive cattle rearing in lowland areas and worst of all the destruction of the Amazon, for example, to rear beef. The trouble with cattle is that they need so much of the natural resources to produce protein for a small proportion of the earth’s population. I would not want to see the end of small-scale beef rearing, but I would like to see the end of industrial-scale farming.

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