Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hummus Hamburger

Last weekend I did my grocery shopping and noticed that meat prices are higher than a year ago.

That happens -- prices go up and if you're on a budget, you adjust your purchases accordingly.

With the hike in price on meat it certainly prompted me to reconsider, yet again, my relationship to eating animal protein.

It was only last month that I dedicated a series of posts to Reducing, Refining and Replacing animal protein in one's diet. More recently, I began reading Righteous Porkchop by Nicolette Hahn Niman.

If you've read Righteous Porkchop you know that it's an exploration of the factory farming industry, vis-a-vis the inhumane farming of animals for human consumption.

To be honest, I'm skimming content because I can't stomach reading the details of factory-farming livestock and poultry; cruel and inhumane treatment of animals is abhorrent to me.

And yet I eat meat.

And if I eat animal protein then I need to know how I can do so without supporting an industry that does not align with my belief that livestock and poultry deserve to live out their lives in environments that are natural to their species.

So I've been reading more carefully the back section of Nicolette's book where she offers solutions such as "Finding the Right Foods" by seeking out meat, eggs and poultry not grown on industrialized farms but on traditional farms.

When I read that I realized one of the reasons I so enjoy watching the All Creatures Great and Small series on Netlfix is the depiction of traditional farming practices.

Though somewhat romanticized (it's set in the 1930's), the series nevertheless is a reminder that raising livestock for human consumption is not an evil when the farming practices are in harmony with the cycles of nature.

Oddly, I didn't realize it until I put two-and-two together that the author of Righteous Porkchop is married to Bill Niman, of Niman Ranch, whose mission it is "to raise livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably ..."

Before reading Nicolette's book, I wrote a post titled French Lentils and Ham Hock Stew referencing Niman Ranch pork as one of the more humanely farmed pork meats available and thus a brand worth looking out for at your grocery store.

Ultimately, what I've learned through my recent reading and my relationship to eating meat is that I can be a more conscious consumer of animal protein simply by asking questions of my grocery store meat-counter associate and or by researching where in my area I can buy humanely farmed meat and poultry.

If you're a meat eater, I encourage you to be vigilant in your efforts to consume meat and poultry that has been farmed humanely.

Meanwhile, this week at the grocery store I reduced the amount of meat I purchased in order to stay within my budget.

And then once home, here's a delicious trick I employed to make my Niman Ranch ground beef go further:

Hummus Hamburger

1) Mix 1/4 of a pound of hamburger meat with approximately 4 ounces of home-made hummus.
2) Form meat into rounds and brown in a skillet, cooking hamburgers for approximately 10 mins on med to low heat.

To Serve: Because chic pea hummus is moist and quite garlic-y in flavor, when mixed with the beef it makes for a very succulent and tasty hamburger. I still had some good-quality organic Ketchup on the side, but home-made tomato salsa or even fruit chutney would be a great accompaniment as would a crusty chunk of bread.

In the top pic you'll note that I had one hamburger (I kept the other for lunch the following day) with a large helping of the Colorful Winter Vegetables I wrote about earlier this month

1 comment:

Green Health said...

Righteous Porkchop sounds like a fun read :) I love hummus. Haven't ever seen it being used like this before. I'm intrigued. I'll have to give it a try.