Wednesday, November 16, 2011 My First Saugatuck Craft Butchery Experience

Look at that little bundle of joy. Go ahead, just look at it. I won't judge you.

OMG. Yesterday I had my first Saugatuck Craft Butchery experience. I was looking forward to it since I'd first read the article on CTBites. As most of my Facebook fans know, I'm not one to get excited about restaurant openings. But butcher openings? Give me a place to get some kick-ass ingredients and I'm a happy headbanging camper.

Well let me tell you, they did not disappoint.

As I walked up to the joint there was a nice young woman setting up shop for the day, placing doormats with pink pigs in their proper places. Of course I had to comment and we started talking (the doormats were at Bed, Bath & Beyond) and the conversation organically shifted to the organic meats (get it? Ba-dum-bum). She was super nice in assisting me, it's a good thing I was the only customer there because I had no idea what I wanted. I knew I wanted to use the fancy dutch oven my neighbor gave me, that was about it. I hemmed and hawed over lamb for a bit, I've only really liked it once. I know I need to learn to like it, and the uber-patient young woman helping me explained that pasture raised lamb has a different taste than supermarket lamb, but I was still unsure about it. Thankfully the Owner/Head Butcher who had been busy breaking down a steer with a bunch of other manly-men in burlap hats chimed in with a beef roast and I was sold. A pound-and-a-half, just enough for me and my husband. It was $15.08 - I know that sounds like a lot of money to some people. But just think about it, I supported a local business, a local farmer; I can live with the fact that the animal I ate only had one bad day in his life (straight from the butcher's mouth) and my husband and I had an awesome dinner. That was money well spent!

Check it out! They have tons of stuff, local yogurt, maple syrup, all sorts of dried meats, burgers, chicken wings, local cheeses. They use up every bit of the animal and even have cuts of meat you've never heard of. They visit all the farms as well as the slaughterhouses. It's a top notch operation, people; just go already! I can't come up with any more words to describe the awesomeness. Two Tits-Up for Saugatuck Craft Butchery!

And now, the recipe portion of this programming...

So I get this beautiful, tied-up piece of meat home. I give it a good covering of garlic salt, onion powder, rosemary powder and pepper and let it sit for a while. Just before General Hospital started I put the enameled dutch oven directly on the stove top (Which I wasn't sure I could do. Thank you James and Jane) and I browned the meat in olive oil all around. Then I threw in some of my husbands white wine and some bay leaf, threw on the lid, tossed it into the preheated 300 degree oven and left it for two hours.

When I opened the lid I was horrified. Everything looked scorched, my piece of meat had been replaced with a much smaller piece of meat that looked horribly overdone. I almost cried. I've never used a dutch oven before and I was convinced I'd ruined that beautiful piece of steer. My husband consoled me, assuring me it would be great. He grabbed some stock-cubes from the freezer as I doused it with more wine and tossed in some onion and carrots.

An hour later I took it out of the oven. I took the meat out to rest and put the carrots back on the burner. I tasted it, adjusted the salt, added pepper, rosemary, a shot of maple syrup to take out the bitter; a corn starch slurry thickened it up as it simmered on the stove. I threw some green beans and pine nuts under the broiler for a few minutes. I like them that way, nice and crispy - some people might say they were raw but that just means they've eaten overcooked green beans their whole sad for them.

The meat rested for about 20 minutes before my husband sliced it. There was no slicing. It was so tender...just look at the picture.

The carrots were covered in a rich brown onion sauce and cooked perfectly, giving way easily to my fork and still bright orange in the middle. The meat was incredible, light as air, almost indescribable. Have you had the Hershey chocolates with the air bubbles? This is the meat equivalent to that. Smooth like ice cream, tender. We dogged it. Wasn't one bite left.

I will be using both the butcher and the dutch oven more often. Rock on! \m/


Saugatuck Craft Butchery is located at 575 Riverside Ave in Westport, CT - Right of I-95 exit 17


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