Farm Blog

I Can Bake, Roast, Grate, Pickle, Ferment – What Am I?

I Can Bake, Roast, Grate, Pickle, Ferment – What Am I?

The answer to the question is one of our favorite root vegetables – BEETS! If you aren’t a fan of beets, I’m here to tell you a recipe exists for this humble root that will change your mind.   Sure, you may not enjoy a homemade […]

Building, Bonding & The Beatles

Building, Bonding & The Beatles

Building a chicken hoophouse has been just an idea for years.   We had intended to build something similar to expand our smaller, traditional chicken house at the Wyoming farm but it was always put off. During 2019, our first full year living here at the […]

Lacto-Fermented Homemade Corned Beef

Lacto-Fermented Homemade Corned Beef

A few years ago, we tried this recipe from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon because we wanted real Corned Beef, from our own organic Grassfed Brisket, made with good ingredients.    Processed, store bought meats do not appear on our table.  If we want traditional Corned Beef, it’s up to us.

That’s how we found ourselves making this recipe.   Every time we make it, we’re thrilled with the results.

Not everyone will be comfortable with curing the meat on the counter.   It’s how we do it but you could cure it in the refrigerator for a longer period of time.

We use our Corned Beef for making seriously good Reubens but it can certainly be used for the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner.

Important:  The whey used in this recipe is raw whey – not acid whey.   Raw whey is created by straining plain yogurt through a flour sack towel for several hours.  The result is whey and a beautiful creamy yogurt cheese.  Raw whey can also be produced by allowing raw milk to sit on the counter until it separates.  Strain through a flour sack towel.  Acid whey is produced by combining milk and an acid like lemon juice to create a simple fresh cheese.  Upon heating the milk and adding the lemon juice, the milk will separated into curds and whey.

Recipe below is based on a 2 lb Brisket.  Adjust recipe as needed for weight of the Brisket.

1 BBF Grassfed Organic Brisket, note weight and adjust all remaining ingredients

1/2 cup raw whey

1 cup filtered water

2 T sea salt

1 T mustard seeds

4-5 bay leaves, crumbled

1 T Juniper Berries, slightly crushed

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix all seasonings and rub into all sides of the brisket.   Place in a container that just holds the beef.  Mix whey with water and pour over brisket.  Turn brisket over a few times.  Cover and marinate at room temperature for 2 days, turning frequently.  Alternatively, place brisket in refrigerator for 4 days, turning frequently.

Once beef is cured, cut into 3 or 4 large pieces.  You can leave whole but cutting helps reduce cooking time.  Based on the weight of the brisket, place one quart of water into stock pot for each pound of meat.   Simmer on low until beef is fall apart tender.  This will produce a delicious beef stock.  If want a more gelatin rich stock, add a Beef Knuckle Bone to the pot before simmering the beef.

We make Corned Beef for the sole purpose of Reuben Sandwiches.  With our sourdough Rye bread, Swiss Cheese, homemade Thousand Island and Bushel & Peck’s Sauerkraut, these sandwiches are a delicacy!


Braised Savory Whole Chicken with Tomatoes & Olives

Braised Savory Whole Chicken with Tomatoes & Olives

If we’re cooking a whole cut-up BBF Chicken, it’s most likely going to end up in a saucy, savory skillet dish like this one – tender chicken pieces nestled into a flavorful tomato based sauce with onions, peppers and Kalamata olives.   This skillet dinner is […]

The Julia Burger

The Julia Burger

Before we had our eureka moment for making the perfect hamburger, we made too many burgers that didn’t deliver.    Too thick, too much shrinking, not covering the bun properly, not enough seasoning.  They just didn’t come together like a really good diner style burger.  […]

Italian Beef – The Real Way

Italian Beef – The Real Way

Here’s another BBF Grassfed Beef braising recipe that produces fall apart tender meat and flavorful broth.  Served over the best crusty bread you can bake or procure, an Italian Beef sandwich is one of our favorite, easy meals.  The best cut for Italian Beef is Brisket but you can also substitute an Arm or Chuck Roast.   These less tender cuts are transformed into fall apart, tender beef after a low, slow braise on the stove, crock pot or a short spell in an Instant Pot.

The broth will be delicious with just the Brisket or Roast but adding Knuckle and Marrow bones will round out your stock, fortify it with gelatin and make a good thing even better.

We use one quart of water for every pound of meat and bone used in this recipe so note the beef meat and bone weights before discarding the paper wrappings.

1 BBF Beef Brisket, Chuck or Arm Roast

1 BBF Beef Knuckle Bone

1 BBF Beef Marrow Bone

2 – 3  Onions, peeled, cut in half

Fresh Garlic, 2 or 3 cloves, peeled, coarsely chopped

Fresh or Dried Herbs – Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Sage

Coarsely cracked peppercorns

Cut thawed beef cut into 3 or 4 pieces.  Season well on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic granules – our standard three seasoning blend.  Season Knuckle bone if using.

Heat heavy soup pot and add high heat safe fat.   Add seasoned beef pieces and brown on all sides.   Remove or push to the side and brown Knuckle bone.   Once browning is complete, add Marrow Bone, if using, and 1 quart of water for every pound of meat and bone used.   Add halved onions, garlic, coarsely chopped fresh herbs or crumbled dried and a few coarsely cracked peppercorns.  Allow to cook on a low simmer, partially covered, until beef is fall apart tender – 2+ hours.  Taste broth for seasoning – it will likely need salt.

You now have two wonderful results from the braise – delicious tender meat and rich beef broth.

For an Italian Beef Sandwich, shred a portion of beef and serve over warmed crusty bread.  Broth can be served right over the top or on the side as a dip.   We top our sandwich with a favorite tangy raw ferment like Dill Pickles or Immunichi.

Sitka Coho Salmon

Sitka Coho Salmon

Here we are in the middle of the Midwest yet we are sourcing some of the best wild Alaskan salmon available to anyone. We are incredibly fortunate to have Sitka Salmon located in our community based just west of Peoria in Galesburg, IL.  This company […]

Raw Maple Pecan Bars

Raw Maple Pecan Bars

We were introduced to this recipe by a good friend and real food lover who has an excellent eye for good recipes.  We were instantly hooked especially since we have the best ingredients ready in our pantry – Certified Organic Native Missouri Pecans and the […]

A Family Tradition – Barb’s Vegetable Beef Soup

A Family Tradition – Barb’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Today, we’re having Barb’s Beef Vegetable Soup.   This recipe made a regular appearance on our dinner table at the Kinsella house – Anita’s family.

Barb, my mother, was a natural in all things food related – cooking, gardening, canning, freezing, baking, catering and enjoying.   And, she did all this for a family of 6 while making it look so easy.  Or, in her catering days, prepare food for a few hundred people and laugh at the stressful times.   She was the best boss ever.  It wasn’t until Brian and I had our own children that I realized just how hard Mom worked to keep good food on the table, on the canning shelves and in the freezer.  She was one amazing woman.

Mom will be gone 8 years this May and not a day goes by we don’t miss her.  Those of you lucky enough to have known Barb know she was an exceptional person and good at everything she tried.  But, she was especially known for her cooking and baking.  She made the most delicious everything.

This recipe reminds me of Mom.  The flavor is just what I remember.  Missing are the delicious creamy homegrown Lima beans Mom always grew in the garden.  Wow, were they delicious.  Growing up, I didn’t understood what it took to grow and freeze enough Lima beans for 6 hungry people.  Now, I know.

If I could see Barb one more time, I would hug her and not let go.  And, I would thank her for all she did to raise us kids.  All the time spent cooking, cleaning up and doing it all over again the next day.   Never a complaint, always doing for others.    I really miss her.

Here is the soup recipe as best I can remember.  It is very simple so start with the best ingredients. Homegrown as much as possible.  It even has a surprise ending.

Barb’s Beef Vegetable Soup

1 Chuck or Arm Roast
1 Quart Canned Tomatoes, preferably homegrown
Potatoes, diced, waxy reds instead of a russet that will break apart
Cabbage, sliced
Carrots, diced
Celery, diced, use leaves if you have them
Onion, diced
Green Beans, frozen or fresh, NOT from a can
Sweet Corn – homegrown fresh or frozen is best, store bought as last resort

Slice Chuck or Arm Roast into 4 or 5 pieces and season generously with salt, pepper and garlic granules or powder.  Do not remove bone.  In heated stock pot, add fat and brown beef on all sides.  Add 1 quart of water for each pound of meat plus one more quart.  Turn heat down very low, cover and cook beef until tender and falling apart, 2-3 hours.  This bone-in, meaty roast creates a rich beef broth.  Once beef pieces are tender, remove from pot and set aside.

Add one quart tomatoes, vegetables and 1 tsp salt.  Mom never measured the veggies but you can estimate 1 cup of each vegetable to start.   She was heavier on cabbage because it cooked down.  If your soup seems too loaded with veggies, add another pint – quart of water.  Don’t worry if the flavor seems weak at this point.  Flavor will improve once the vegetables add their goodness to the broth.

Cook at a low simmer until vegetables are tender.   Taste for seasoning and add additional salt plus freshly ground pepper.

Break up meat into smaller pieces and add back to the stock pot to heat through.  Serve as is or read on for the Kinsella tradition…

Surprise Ending:
It was our family’s tradition to take the beef roast pieces out of the soup and serve them separately, on a plate with ketchup.  Or, catsup as Mom called it.  That was always the way we ate the tender meat and it is DELICIOUS.  The sweet acidic catsup perfectly compliments the rich, tender beef.  Mom knew!

Homemade Grainy Mustard

Homemade Grainy Mustard

Our family loves mustard.   It compliments so much of the food we grow and enjoy.  It’s a staple in all our salad dressings and vinaigrettes, BBQ sauces for grilled BBF meat and the ever favorite cold sandwiches, burgers and brats.  It felt like we were […]

Protecting Chickens from Predators

Protecting Chickens from Predators

The number one question we receive about our laying hens or meat chickens is, “How do you keep the coyotes away?”  There is a real misconception about poultry, coyotes and their ability to coexist. To the surprise of many, coyotes are not our major predator […]

Classic Beef Stew

Classic Beef Stew

It’s mid-December.  The days are now short and the quiet cold of winter has descended upon the farm.    But, our kitchen is alive with bubbling pots of broth, soups and stews including this delicious Classic Beef Stew.   We use our own BBF Stew Meat which are roughly 1″ pieces cut from the Chuck.   This is a cut that needs a low, slow braise (or use an Instant Pot) cooking until the pieces are fall-apart tender.

For this recipe, we used homemade beef broth.   Making homemade beef broth is very simple and will make this dish 10x more delicious than using store bought broth.  It’s totally worth the small effort.

Our broth was made with:

1 – 5 lb bag Beef Bones

1 – Beef Knuckle Bone

The bones were added to a large stock pot and enough water added to just cover.  We simmered this pot until the bones had very little meat/fat left on them.   The bones were not browned before simmering which is just a personal preference.  The broth was strained into a large bowl, cooled and fat skimmed off.  We use the fat for high heat roasting or making bird suet.

Now time to start your stew.

2 lbs BBF Stew Meat, seasoned

Fresh garlic, 6-8 cloves

Bay Leaves, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage – any of these can be used or some combination

1 cup Red Wine – your favorite variety

4 quarts beef stock

Onions – 4 medium, quartered

2 cups carrots, large dice

2 cups potatoes, large dice

1 cup celery, large dice

Heat fat of choice in a heavy stock pot and brown seasoned pieces of stew meat on all sides.   Do this in two or three batches, adding more fat, if necessary, between batches.  While beef is resting, add 2 quartered onions and saute for a few minutes.  Add red wine, beef broth, garlic and herbs.  Add browned stew meat, set heat to low and barely simmer for 1.5  – 2 hours.  Onions will ‘melt’ into the broth after this much cooking time and will add beautiful flavor.  At this point, beef should not be completely tender as there is more cooking time for the vegetables.   Add remaining onions, carrots, potatoes and celery.  Continue at a very low simmer until beef pieces are tender – another 1.5 – 2 hours.  Check periodically so beef and veggies do not get overcooked.

Taste broth and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.   You should now have an amazing, full flavored broth, tender beef pieces and vegetables cooked through but not falling apart.

We enjoy the stew just like this but if you want a thicker stew, combine flour and water to make a slurry.   Make sure this mixture is blended completely with no lumps of flour.  With stew at a low simmer & whisking continuously (trying to avoid all the meat and veggies!), slowly drizzle the slurry into the broth.   Start with just a couple tablespoons.   Let stew simmer a few minutes and then add another couple tablespoons if you want a thicker stew.   Just go slowly.