IT’S the season for winter comfort food – soups and slow cooks, casseroles , roasts and stews – and you’ll find the perfect cuts of meat at the market.
Fresh from Hayters Hill – a sustainably-managed free range pork and beef farm in the hills overlooking Byron Bay, you’ll find winter slow-cook favourites like chuck steak, beef ribs and oxtail. Just add onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, beef broth or stock, red wine, herbs and seasonal vegetables for a flavour-packed hearty winter meal. Hayters Hill’s pork collar roast is another great slow-cook cut – rub with garlic, herbs and olive oil and cook covered on low heat for four or more hours or more for tender, pull apart meat. Hayters Hill butcher Peter Walsh is at the market every Friday and can give tips and recommendations.
Andrew Cameron of Byron Grass Fed – which sources grass fed and finished beef from local farmers – says osso bucco is one of his customer’s favourite winter cuts. To cook, toss the beef in some flour and salt and pepper, brown then set aside. Fry some onion, garlic, carrot and celery in the same pan until softened, add some stock, wine and a tin of tomatoes, then return meat and cook for about an hour and a half.
Bexhill farmer Warren Wiggins, of Local Dorper Lamb, says lamb neck chops are considered an old fashioned cut, but are full of flavour due to the meat sitting close to the bone and great for winter meals like lamb stew. Add carrots, celery, carrot, potato and a can of Guinness for a hearty Irish-style stew. Lamb shanks are another of Warren’s recommendations for winter – when cooked slowly, the meat has velvety and melting texture.
For sides or to add to your stews and slow cooks, you’ll find plenty of winter vegies at the markets now, including carrots, celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, fennel, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, tomatoes, fresh herbs and bone broth, a great alternative to stock, and you can mop up the gravy with a fresh slice of sourdough from local bakers Heart Breads Byron Bay or Crabbes Creek Woodfired.