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Beyond Burgers: All-Natural Laura's Lean Beef Sizzles in South-of-the-Border Recipes

Presented by Laura's Lean Beef

PHOTO COURTESY OF MINNESOTA MONTHLY

If you have lean ground beef on hand, you have many great options at your fingertips to easily whip up a meal—whether it’s a busy weeknight or a more leisurely weekend. Plus, when you can feel good about the source of this delicious and versatile protein that is win-win for taste and quality.

The quality of our lives can’t be separated from the quality of our food. Laura Freeman built upon this philosophy when she took the reins at her family farm and founded the Laura’s Lean Beef company in 1985. Back then, people had begun to shy away from beef due to concerns that it was high in fat and cholesterol. So Laura set out to find a solution to allow health-conscious consumers such as her to continue to eat beef in good conscience.

The USDA allows beef to be labeled “natural” as long as it is minimally processed and contains no artificial ingredients. This definition covers most fresh beef sold in grocery stores. What makes Laura’s Lean different? You might think of their program as a return to traditional, old-fashioned cattle farming. Unlike most other “natural” beef, their approach begins with the way the cattle are raised, without the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. The cattle are raised on a vegetarian diet of natural grasses and grains. And of course, no additives, fillers, or artificial ingredients are used in the beef. Though Laura has since retired, the company continues practicing these standards.

Plus it’s good for you. With a serving of beef you’re getting essential nutrients—riboflavin, iron, vitamin B6 and B12, niacin, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc—including about half your daily value for protein. Speaking of protein, you would need about 3 cups of quinoa or 6.5 tablespoons of peanut butter (both clocking in at over 600 calories) to equal the 25g of protein in 3 ounces of beef, which has about 173 calories.

Thinking beyond burgers, this nutritious lean meat is perfect in south-of-the-border inspired recipes including Tamale Skillet Cornbread, created by Cook’s of Crocus Hill, and Big Green Egg’s chili you can even make on the grill.

Look for Laura’s Lean Beef now available at Target and other select local grocery stores.

Tamale Skillet Cornbread:

Makes 8 Servings • Recipe by Cook’s of Crocus Hill

This easy, protein packed one-pan meal will make everyone in the family happy, including picky kids!

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound Laura’s 92% Lean Beef
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder or ½ teaspoon cayenne powder, plus more to taste
  • ½ cup corn, canned or frozen (does not need to be thawed)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 scallions, chopped, divided
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro, divided

PHOTO COURTESY OF MINNESOTA MONTHLY

Cornbread Batter:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream, plus extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup buttermilk

PHOTO COURTESY OF MINNESOTA MONTHLY

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat, and then pour all the butter into a small bowl and set aside to use in the cornbread batter.

3. Place the pan back over medium heat, add the ground beef and season it with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer it to a bowl and set aside.

4. Add the onion to the pan and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin and ground chipotle or cayenne and cook for 1 minute or until the mixture becomes very aromatic.

5. Return the beef to the pan and add the corn, beans, tomatoes and chicken broth. When the mixture comes to a simmer, stir in the cheese and continue to simmer until just slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in half the scallions and ½ cup cilantro. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and chipotle powder or cayenne, if desired.

6. For the cornbread batter: Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, buttermilk and reserved melted butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. 

7. Drop spoonfuls of the cornbread batter over the beef mixture. The batter is quite thick, so do your best to spread it gently and evenly to cover the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining half of the sliced scallions, remaining ¼ cup chopped cilantro, sliced avocados and sour cream, if desired.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MINNESOTA MONTHLY

Roasted Upside Down Chili:

Makes about 10 servings • Recipe by Big Green Egg

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 quart (32 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 cup Big Green Egg Vidalia Onion Sriracha Barbecue Sauce
  • ⅓ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds Laura’s 92% Lean Beef, formed into a large patty
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans dark kidney beans, drained

PHOTO COURTESY OF MINNESOTA MONTHLY
As seen at Minnesota Monthly’s GrillFest event May 5-6th 2018, featuring Laura’s Lean in Big Green Egg’s Roasted Upside Down Chili recipe.

1. Set the EGG for direct cooking (without the convEGGtor) at 350°F/177°C. Preheat an uncovered Dutch oven, and then add the oil for a few seconds to heat. Add the onion and green pepper and cook until soft. Add the garlic and jalapeños and cook a few more minutes. Next add the tomatoes, broth, barbecue sauce, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar and pepper. Mix well and bring to a simmer.

2. Carefully remove the Dutch oven and the cooking grid; add two small chunks of apple wood to the charcoal. Insert the convEGGtor (for indirect cooking), replace the cooking grid and the Dutch oven and continue cooking at 350°F/177°C.

3. Season the ground beef patty with salt and pepper. Place a perforated cooking grid on top of the Dutch oven, then place the ground beef patty on the grid. Cook for 90 minutes. Remove the grid with the meat to a sheet pan. Add the beans and a bit more water if needed. Break the meat up with tongs and place it in the pot. Cook for another 30 minutes until everything is well blended and slightly thickened.

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