I am home for Christmas!!!  During my flight, I finished the book that I started a few weeks ago called “The Dirty Life” by Kristin Kimball.  If you haven’t read the book and you wish to have a better understanding of the emotions connected to the locavore movement I suggest you read the book.  Once I was home I went to the local grocery store to get some stuff to make this meal.  You will notice that the costs are much higher than what I normally post.  The ingredients while not much different than normal, were purchased locally at a small family owned grocery store in our town. (The closest Wal Mart is not very close and doesn’t sell groceries anyway so we shop mostly at Treat’s our local store.) Our store (Treat’s General Store) was founded in 1852.  At that time the store carried everything from milk and eggs to gun powder & dynamite to supply the Gold miners of the time.  The store has never changed families or locations, but it did receive a new building in the late 80’s after the original store blew up from a natural gas accident.  They no longer carry explosives!  When you shop locally not only do you get the benefit of knowing the produce man, the checkers and most of the shoppers too, but I have grown up with the children of the store owner, they have supported my every endeavour and I recall as a little girl playing the back of the store and eating cold hot dogs from the meat case.  In addition to relationships with loving people and our community, the community as a whole benefits as well.  According to All Business, when you spend $100 with a local merchandiser $68 return to the community.  When you shop with a large marketer like Wal Mart only $16 returns to the community.  Now, am I saying that Wal Mart is the reason our local economies suffer, not necessarily.  Nor am I denying that I shop at Wal Mart because I do often.  Do I think that the locavore movement is here to stay, or that we should only buy local… I’m not convinced.  When presented with a choice I prefer to support local agriculture, economy, and merchandisers, but to feed the world we will continue to need the sustainable and efficient production of modern conventional agriculture.  Wherever you chose to purchase groceries this is a great meal, head to the kitchen and get to cooking!

 

From the Cold Box
1.5 lbs Minute Steak (Tenderized Round Steak)
4 strips of bacon
1 stick of butter
1 lb of fresh green beans
Handful of mushrooms
Fom The Pantry
1/2 C Chopped Pecans
5 Gold Russet Potatoes
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Pinch of Sugar

Prep the vegetables first.  Snap off the ends of green beans… I used to do this when I was a small girl in Pappas garden (I love to eat fresh green beans).  You can also slice your mushrooms and chunk up the potatoes. (Yes chunk up is a technical term..HA) 

In your largest iron skillet, cook the bacon slow to ensure you get lots of pork fat drippings (I LOVE PORK FAT) Once the bacon is finished take it out of the skillet and crumble it up. 

Now season your minute steaks with salt, pepper and a touch of garlic powder.  Cook them hot and fast in the bacon grease.  You can add a little bit of butter if you need it. 

This is also the time to start the potatoes.  In a large skillet or pot whichever you prefer, add water to the chunked up potatoes just enough to keep them at a low boil. 

After the steaks are done remove them from the grease and dump in your green beans with the rest of the stick of butter.  Also add the bacon crumbles and chopped pecans.  Turn down the heat and let your green beans slow simmer until just before they begin to soften.  I like them a little firm yet.  Remove the green beans.  If there are a few bacon bits and pecan pieces in the pan that’s ok. 

Now in the same skillet brown the mushroom slices.  Mushrooms absorb water so you want to brown them in a fairly dry skillet, they will actually brown slower in water.  Once the mushrooms are browned we are gonna add a little bit of water to loosen everything from the skillet.  The water will bring all the flavors together, the beef, bacon, green bean the nuttiness of the pecans, all of it will transfer to our gravy.  Sprinkle a little flour and whisk with a fork.  Add flour until the gravy is to your favorite consistency.  To put on steaks I like gravy a little thinner than I like it on biscuits.  If you get to thick add some more water, you can always thin back out.  Thickening without clumps is the hard part.  Once your gravy is where you want it.  Turn off the heat.  Mix in salt, pepper a little more garlic if you need it.  Because this skillet has been through so many temperatures and near burning so many times during cooking everything, the gravy can have a semi bitter/burnt taste.  To combat this problem I add just a small pinch of sugar.  This just really brings everything together wonderfully. 

Serve the steaks (medium rare) topped with the mushroom gravy.  Put your green beans and boiled potatoes on the side.  A very hearty, filling and out of the ordinary winter dinner.  Enjoy!

 

Costs
1.5 lbs Minute Steak (Tenderized Round Steak) – $6.25
4 strips of bacon- $0.75
1 stick of butter- $0.60
1 lb of fresh green beans- $1.34
Handful of mushrooms- $1.56
1/4 C Chopped Pecans- $0.30
5 Gold Russet Potatoes- $1.70
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Pinch of Sugar- $0.30
Total Costs- $12.80 (Serves 4)
Cost Per Plate- $3.20

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed cooking the meal!  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Until We Meet Again,

~ Anna-Lisa

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