It’s October and the Fall is upon us, and it’s time to get ready for my favorite holidays of the year. This time of year also brings more food choices with the cooler weather moving in. We start to eat more comfort foods such as soups, casseroles, and stews just to name a few. This year I’m planning to bring you a multitude of these seasonal dishes. Tonight’s entree will be paired with a roasted Fall vegetable salad, which will be made with parsnips, butternut squash, red onion, red bell pepper and spinach, and tossed in pomengranate vinegarette & toasted squash seeds. The entree will be something new and different to many of my fellow New Yorkers. So I introduce to you… Steak-Bird!
That’s right, ostrich is on the table tonight! Now the reason why I call it “steak- bird” is because this is not your average poultry; ostrich is similar in taste, texture and appearance to beef. Ostrich has found a place on the world’s menu, delivering red meat flavor with two-thirds less fat. According to the National Culinary Review, ostrich is poised to become “the premier red meat of the next century”. The reason is simple . . . no meat combines the flavor, versatility and nutritional benefits of ostrich. It is already a popular menu item at many American and European restaurants. I am yet to see it appear on menus within the NYC limits, but I’m quite sure it is an option in quite a few.
Now I tried to cook ostrich 2 years ago and it did not work out too well, especially since I did not research how it should be prepared. Because of its low fat content, ostrich cooks faster than other meat products. Steaks and whole muscles should be cooked medium rare to medium. Cooking ostrich to well done is not recommended, and this is exactly what I did — Blah! This time I was ready to redeem myself for the disaster that took place on my first try. After talking to a couple of fellow chefs (Thanks to Chefs Tim “Bossman” Cozart & Marty Embry), I was advised to marinate it before cooking, and prepare it as I would a delicate cut of steak such as filet. I guess the second time is the charm: the steaks cooked beautifully this time around! Tender, flavorful, and very similar to beef. I made a cranberry/merlot sauce to top it off, and the sauce had just the right amount of sweet tartness of the cranberries which, along with the vegetables, made an awesome dish! What a great way to kick off the Fall season. Bon Appetit 🙂
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup cider or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 ostrich steaks (4 ounces each)
In a resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container, combine the first 10 ingredients; mix well. Add meat to marinade and turn to coat. Seal bag or cover container; refrigerate overnight, turning meat occasionally. Drain and discard marinade. Broil or grill, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and cook 6-8 minutes longer or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 135, I DO NOT recommend cooking it well done, it will dry out) and add sauce of your choice (I chose to make a cranberry/merlot sauce).
Heat oven to 450ºF.
Place first 5 ingredients in 15×10-inch pan. Add 2 Tbsp dressing; toss to coat. Spread to evenly cover bottom of pan.
Bake 40 to 45 min. or until vegetables are tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Spoon into large bowl. Add spinach; toss lightly.
Top with bacon, seeds and remaining dressing.