The General Manager of 4505 Meats, Belle oversees the Farmers’ Markets, our Butcher Shop at 1909 Mission Street, and catering events. She spends her free time hanging out with her hipster friends and doing hipster things that you’ve probably never heard of like eating the hipster steak that our hipster butcher cuts just for her. You, too, can join the Belle Bueti fan club and visit her at the Farmers’ Market Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
1) What is one of your earliest food memories?
My grandma’s meatballs. She used the cheapest ingredients she could find because she had five kids to feed on a barber’s budget but they always taste like a million bucks. When I think of good food, I always think first and foremost of my Italian grandmother and her food and her recipes that never taste the same cooked anywhere but her kitchen.
2) What is your favorite thing to eat at 4505 Meats?
Oh jeese. I’d say the chicken yum yum. Yum yum’s an understatement.
3) If someone offered you 1 million dollars and the only stipulation was that you had to dedicate the next two years to studying any subject of your choice, what would it be?
I’d go to Italy and study the history of their food, region by region. They’ve got a pretty great farm to table culture there—except their farms are tiny, bursting gardens in their backyards. Everyone has one, it’s not a quaint DIY thing, just totally normal and expected. I’d live with Italian grandmothers and hopefully they wouldn’t mind me taking a few notes. Presumptuous, I know.
4) If you had the option, where would you like to visit and why?
Morocco because it’s such a mix of continents, or so it seems. Or the Scottish highlands. They’ve got some great woolly cows…and castles.
5) What is your spirit animal?
Otter. Because I made a really good one out of paper mache in 3rd grade.
Belle’s Braised Beef Shank Curry with Noodles
I recently brought a 3 lb boneless Magruder beef shank home from the market, anticipating my contribution to our ongoing 4505 staff cook off. This was my first attempt at boneless shank and I have to say it wasn’t that easy to use my horribly dull knives to cut the roast into cubes. So I would say either anticipate some messy carnage or go to the Butcher Shop and put Thomas or Nick to work portioning for you. Tell them Belle sent you. If you are a spice weeny like me, I would say cut back on the curry paste or chili powder by 1 half. I was slightly distracted by the heat and had a hard time being a valiant host while my friends seemed completely unaffected. After several hours of braising and very little prep (though many ingredients), this is a very tasty and dinner-party-friendly dish. The 4505 ladies I had over were pleased, even though they had no other choice.
Feeds: 6 with leftovers
Time: 6, with 4 hours of TV time
For the Beef & Broth:
- 3 lbs boneless beef shank, cut into 1.5” cubes (leave the tougher sinewy bits, they are super tasty later)
- 3 tbs fish sauce, divided
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 4-ounce can curry paste (I used Magic Curry, which I found in a little-known market called Bi-Rite)
- 1.5 tbs chili powder, pinch cinnamon, pinch cumin, pinch coriander (or just try harder than me to find 2 tbs Madras curry powder)
- 1 tablespoon turmeric (mostly for that yellow pop)
- 2 cups water
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (not light)
For the Topping:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- One large shallot, sliced thin
- About ½ lb green beans
- About ½ lb broccoli rabe or bean sprouts
- Bunch cilantro
- Bunch basil
- 10 oz ramen noodle
- 6 tbs softened butter
- 1 lrg clove crushed garlic
- 6 pastured eggs
- 2 limes, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Make the garlic butter. In a small bowl, using a spoon, mix the crushed garlic into the softened butter. Pop in the fridge for topping the bowls later.
- About 5 hours before you plan to eat, get the beef cooking. Brown the beef in a little coconut or olive oil over medium hot heat. I like coconut oil because its flavor works deliciously with the spices in this dish. If you crowd the beef in the pan it will not brown, so you may need to do several batches.
- In a 5 qt dutch oven toss the beef in the red curry paste, chili & spice blend (or madras), 1 tbs fish sauce, brown sugar, and turmeric; stir until the beef cubes are thoroughly coated. Pour the water on top. Cover and pop ‘er in the oven.
- Leave to braise for 5 hours. I found that the gelatinous, sinewy bits that characterize boneless shank are most tender if you braise for as long as possible.
- Gently stir the coconut milk into the beef mixture along with the remaining 2 tbs fish sauce; continue braising for 30 minutes. If you need more liquid, adding a half cup water is fine.
- Quickly blanch the beans & broccoli rabe (if you are using it) in a large pot of simmering salted water. Remove and reserve same simmering water for blanching the ramen later.
- Make the crispy fried shallots. Heat 1 tbs coconut oil in a small pan, add the sliced shallots and stir almost constantly over medium heat until crispy and browned. Transfer to a paper towel.
- Make the soft-boiled eggs. Boil a small sauce pan of water and carefully spoon the eggs into the water. Cover the pan and turn off the heat. Let sit 6-7 minutes for a custardy yoke. Run eggs under cold water and peel immediately.
- Arrange your toppings: cilantro, basil, lime, garlic butter, eggs, blanched veggies & shallots
- Now blanch the noodles in the veggie blanching water until they’re soft. Strain and divide the noodles among 4-6 large soup bowls.
- Ladle the broth and beef on top and then let your lucky friends garnish their own bowls, DIY ramen style.