When the meat goes on sale, I stock up for the weeks to come. We have a chest freezer and food downstairs can be left out. The other day I found a flank steak (an expensive piece of meat) and saw, to my dismay, that it had burned in the freezer.
What’s the freezer burning anyway? This happens after the food has been frozen for a long time. The meat develops white spots and the texture and flavor are altered. In fact, red meat can appear gray or pale brown. These discolored areas are dry, and one of the best ways to cook meat is to use a method that adds moisture – braise or use a slow cooker.
Seeing dry, discolored meat can cause you food safety concerns. Do not worry. According to the USDA, frozen meat is still safe to eat. One edge of the flank steak was scorched, but it was such a small area that I left it alone. But the USDA recommends cutting severely burned sections. “Foods that are badly burnt in the freezer may have to be discarded for quality reasons,” notes the USDA.
Although I stored the steak in a heavy plastic bag with a zipper, over time it still developed freezer burn. To add moisture, I decided to cook the steak in a seasoned broth. I thawed the steak in the microwave and cut it in half to fit in my slow cooker. (I have the smallest size.) While cooking the steak will shrink a bit, so you need to keep this in mind when planning your meal.
A few hours later my husband and I feasted on some of the tastiest steaks we’ve ever had. The slow cooker method will work with ball points, round steak, and other tougher cuts of meat. Usually the flank steak is cut across the grain. With the slow cooking method, however, you cut with the grain or shred the meat. Everyone in the family will enjoy this tasty recipe.
1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups unsalted beef broth
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 tomato, chopped
3-4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
4 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup gravy flour (approx – you may need more)
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepared mashed potatoes
Place the cooking bag in the slow cooker. Stir the ketchup into the beef broth. Place the flank steak in the stove. Pour the broth mixture over the meat and sprinkle with vegetables. Cover and cook on high heat for 3 1/2 hours on low heat or 5 hours on high heat. Remove the meat and place on a cutting board. Whisk water into the flour to make a porridge, making sure there are no lumps. With the stove over high heat, stir the porridge into the liquid and cook until the sauce thickens. Season the sauce with S&P to taste. Put the lid back on the slow cooker to keep the sauce warm. Grate the meat and place it on a mashed potato. Top each serving with a generous amount of sauce. Serve with a green vegetable or salad. Makes 4 generous portions.
Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson