Craig Cook is a man of many hats. He is the man behind Prime Quality Meats outlets, a master butcher and also a farmer. His career started at 16 years-of-age, milking cows on a Wollongong farm after school.
What would be your perfect meal?
The perfect meal that I enjoy is a dry aged steak on the grill. Rump is one of my favourites due to its texture and juicy full rounded flavour, which I love to serve with a small dob of café de paris butter. I do find that a dry aged rump steak cooked medium rare and turned only once on the barbecue will guarantee a great eating experience. And do ensure a steak is always grass-fed.
What is the most popular ‘go to’ winter comfort meal?
By far, slow cooked lamb shanks although, I do have some other favourites. Slow cooked beef shin, beef cheeks or a traditional veal osso bucco done in a lovely spicy tomato sauce.
Do you think customers should be experimental with the meats they buy or just stick to their favourite cuts?
I feel it’s fantastic for customers to be experimental these days and certainly with the TV shows and promotions of exotic foods. This is an area people are really warming to but are still very reserved when trying such things as wild game, kangaroo, long dry aged wagyu and cuts such as crocodile and emu. All these cuts make a wonderful dinner party selection but also require a certain level of expertise when cooking.
Ethical and sustainable farming is part of your business model – why has ‘Paddock to Plate’ taken off?
The real reason for the take off has been consumer pressure on the back of news and information about where their product comes from and how it’s raised. We took the initiative some years ago to resolve this issue in our business by beginning to grow our own.
With 12 stores and a farm, how do you find the time to cook – and what is your advice to busy food lovers?
It’s very easy to find the time if you’re passionate about food, and we also have to know for ourselves what makes a great meal possible for our customers. We’ve worked hard in our stores to create products that are not only easy to use but very quick and prepared for convenience. It’s been a must in the growth of our company that we provide a range of products that are ready to go, just take home and pop on the grill or in the oven.
Special Offer at Norton Plaza Prime Quality Meats: Buy 1 kilo, get 1 kilo free – Grass Fed Tova Stud Rump Steak. Offer this weekend only. www.primequalitymeats.com.au
Braised Red Wine Lamb Shanks
• 4 frenched lamb shanks
• ¼ cup plain flour
• 8 whole baby brown onions, peeled
• 4 stalks rosemary
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
• ½ cup red wine
• 1½ cups beef stock
• Mashed potato and steamed green vegetables to serve
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Season the flour with salt and pepper, and mix well. Dust lamb shanks in the seasoned flour, shake off excess.
2. Heat a large frypan over a medium high heat, add a little oil. Brown the lamb shanks well on all sides. Remove and place them in a small roasting dish.
3. Reduce heat in pan and add a little extra oil, add the baby onions, cook for 1 minute, stir occasionally. Add rosemary and garlic, stir for 30 seconds.
4. Gradually pour in the combined wine and stock. Stir until the mixture boils. Pour over the lamb shanks. Cover the dish tightly with its lid or foil, place in oven. Cook for 1½-2 hours or lamb shanks are very tender. Turn the shanks occasionally and adjust the heat as it cooks if needed. You may need to add a little beef stock or water if it appears too dry.
5. Serve shanks with a spoonful of the thickened sauce and mashed potato and green vegetables like beans and sugar snap peas.