Cow tipping

FOOD ADVENTURES
by Mary Cokenour
The first time I’d ever heard the term “cow tipping” was in 1990 when first moving to Lancaster, PA. Our residential neighborhood was surrounded by Amish farmland with local, bored teenagers bragging about this nighttime exploit.
What exactly is “cow tipping”? An activity of sneaking up on any unsuspecting, or sleeping, upright cow and pushing it over for entertainment.
The practice of cow tipping is generally considered an urban legend and stories of such feats viewed as tall tales. Except if you happen to live in a rural area with even adults bragging how they did this activity during teenage years.
Personally, I saw this as cruelty to animals. I certainly wouldn’t enjoy being hurt and/or frightened by being pushed down onto the hard ground in my sleep!
Spring forward to 2009 with the move to Utah. Cows here are “handsomer”, for lack of a better word, than the overworked black and white milking cows of Pennsylvania.
Where those East coast cows would back away if you stared at them, cows in the Southwest have what I would definitely call New York attitude, as they stare back with “whatchalookinat?”
Asking about cow tipping, folks would ask, “What is that?” and once explained would proclaim, “Well that’s stupid!”
So much for cow tipping in the Southwest.
Which now brings my convoluted thought processing to “beef tips”. Did you ever go to a restaurant where the special for the evening was beef tips?
The server explains how this is a special cut of tender beef, prepared in a rich gravy and served over, well, something... rice, mashed potatoes, noodles, a pureed vegetable.
Sounds really good, and it has to be special, considering the price is almost equal to a T-bone steak.
Here comes the surprise; where exactly does this “special cut of tender beef” come from on the cow? The tips are small, about one inch; is there only one tip in each cow!?!
Originally, a beef tip was the tip of a tenderloin or sirloin steak which was trimmed off to give the steak a smoother, rounder appearance.
Nowadays, while quality restaurants may perform the same trim job, beef tips could simply be a steak cut up into one inch pieces and called the same thing.
Depending on the quality of the beef itself, the cooking process is the same, but may take longer.
The recipe I’m giving uses a simple London broil cut, lean, with all excessive fat removed, as the fat will only make the gravy greasy, not tastier.
A hint for all those hunters bringing home elk and deer this season, this recipe works very well for those meats also.
I use Portabella mushrooms, as they have a meatier texture yet mild flavor. They are often used as a substitute for vegetarians who want to partake of a “burger”, just not the meat part.
Beef Tips with Egg Noodles
Ingredients: 2 lbs. lean London broil, 4 Tbsp. flour, 1 large onion, julienned, 1 lb. portabella mushrooms, cut into one inch pieces, 1 cup red wine (merlot or burgundy), 1 cup beef stock (not broth, too watery), 1 tsp. dried, crushed thyme leaves, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp. minced garlic, 1 lb. wide egg noodles
Preparation: Spray a four-quart crockpot bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut London broil into one inch pieces; mix with the flour to coat all sides and place in bottom of crockpot bowl. Place onions over the beef and mushrooms over the onions in a layering process.
Whisk together wine, stock, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic; pour over mushrooms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerator overnight (eight hours).
The next day, remove plastic wrap, place bowl into cooking unit, cover with appropriate lid, set on low and let cook for eight hours. At seven and a half hours, prepare egg noodles according to package directions.
Serve beef tips over egg noodles.
Makes six servings.
Note: If a thicker gravy is desired, stir in one teaspoon of corn starch at a time until desired consistency is met.

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