This is a little awkward, the last recipe I posted was in February. I almost feel like a stranger on my own blog. Long time no see blog! The reason why I haven’t been posting lately is that I have been pretty overwhelmed with work. In fact I was traveling last week for a study on small-farmer Peruvian coffee cooperatives that produce and export organic and fair trade coffee to the US. Hey, maybe you’re sipping on a cup of freshly brewed Green Mountain coffee right now? Well I met some of your suppliers! Our objective was to study how connecting coffee smallholder farmers to international markets produced positive socio-economic impacts in the region and for the farmers of the cooperatives. Amazing experience in an absolutely gorgeous and breath-taking region (San Ignacio, Peru) named one of the best in the world for coffee; and for the first time in my life, I participated in a coffee-tasting. It’s kind of like wine-tasting, and believe me it’s serious business. They do it in a lab and test everything from aroma to flavor, uniformity, body. And you got to love the vocabulary of any specialty product-tasting profession when they discuss the results of each sample. Me: “slurp. Hmmm, wow, that’s some tasty coffee, batch number two seems stronger than batch number one, wouldn’t you say?”. The lab tester: “you’re right, batch number two was a little syrupy, with notes of aromatic cinnamon in cup, along with hints of mandarine acidity and quite lively on the palate”. Me: “…………yes, totally what I meant”.
Obviously the trip was a lot of fun, interspersed with little moments of Peruvian folly, like when we had to hitch-hike a car in the middle of nowhere because our driver didn’t have his car papers and couldn’t take us to our destination because of a police control, and then getting to ride in a tiny car that was seconds away from falling apart and probably came out of the 1970s, the three of us squeezing in with 4 other people and, of course, a huge sack of clucking chickens. Yes. A sack. I kind of felt sad for the chickens, little did they know it was market day…
The cooperatives generally produce and export unroasted, green coffee beans (like in the photo), but they insisted on roasting a couple of batches that they had just received from the farms for us to bring back with us. Can you believe I’m sipping on a cup of coffee right now that, just a few days ago, was still a fruit on a plant in the mountains? I get fascinated by anything farm-to-table, it feels so right. Anyways, as a result, I brought back about 3 pounds of coffee with me from that trip. Have you ever put fresh coffee in your luggage? You should. Oh my god the smell. The delightful smell of freshly roasted coffee beans. Everywhere we went, I left a little trail of coffee scent coming from my luggage. I don’t know about you, but the smell of freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee beans makes me completely ecstatic. Back at the office, we’ve been making coffee every day with the organic beans, and my colleagues and I spend a good minute every day after grinding the beans and before pouring the water over them just smelling those unique grounds and getting drunk on coffee smell.
And so I HAD to make something a little more than coffee out of these beans. If you’ve never heard about seasoning meat with ground coffee than this recipe may come as a surprise to you, but it’s one of my favorite ways to season a piece of meat (both beef and pork). The flavor is intense and smoky and mixes with the juices from the meat and the butter, making for an irresistibly tasting sauce. I bought an Argentinean-raised “Ojo de Bife Ancho” (a boneless ribeye roast) and thought, what better to go with this succulent, prime, word-class piece of meat than fresh, organic, word-class coffee as a seasoning? Put genius and genius together right?
There are generally two ways to roast prime rib, high temperature and fast, or low temperature and slow. I went for the latter (325°F for 25 minutes per pound of meat) since I like how tender the meat comes out from slow-roasting, but seared it in a pan first to get a nice crusty exterior and lock in the juices. I’ve been enjoying this for dinner every night since Sunday (it’s a big chunk of meat and I’m only one tiny person) and oh man it just gets better and better every day. In order to get a tender result, it’s important to leave the roast at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before handling it, to not pierce it at any moment while cooking and to leave it to rest for at least 20 minutes after cooking under a sheet of aluminium before cutting into it. Total time: approx. 4:30 hours. Totally worth it.
Recipe: Coffee Rubbed Ribeye Roast
Makes 1 roast (6-8 servings, depending on size)
1 boneless Ribeye roast, left at room temperature for 1-2 hours before cooking
1.5 tablespoon of coffee beans, preferably organic
1 tablespoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
1 teaspoon of dried garlic
2 tablespoons of butter, for cooking
1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Grind the coffee beans and peppercorns and mix with the salt and dried garlic. Rub the seasoning all over the roast with your hands.
3. Heat a skillet on medium heat for several minutes until very hot. Add the butter and let it melt, coating the whole bottom of the skillet. Carefully add the roast and brown for 1:30 minutes at a time on each side, using a pair of tongs to turn it. Do not move it other than to turn it.
4. If using an oven-proof skillet, transfer the skillet directly to the oven. Otherwise, transfer the roast to a shallow pan previously heated in the oven (no deeper than 2 inches, so the heat circulates optimally). Roast the ribeye for 25 minutes per pound. For a 5 pound roast, you’ll want to roast it for about 2:05 hours.
5. Once done, remove roast from the oven and cover loosely with a sheet of aluminium foil. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing so as to allow for the juices to settle and redistribute.