The Healthy Benefits
Kristen Schmitt wrote in Modern Farmer (May 2014):
Alpaca meat is the byproduct of culling the herd – but it’s a tasty byproduct. Each mature alpaca harvested equates to about 60 pounds of meat – roughly the same amount of meat you can get from a deer.
Lean, tender and almost sweet, alpaca meat is nutritionally superior to many of its red meat counterparts.
Lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol, this high-protein, exotic meat is beginning to appeal to those seeking out alternatives to domesticated meat like beef or pork, and even wild meat, like venison.
Ground alpaca is versatile enough to be substituted in place of ground turkey or beef in most recipes.
Alpacas have been a main source of nutrition not only in South America, but all around the world.
This item from the Alpaca Association of New Zealand sums up our philosophy best:
Alpaca meat is very low in fat, high in protein and iron, and is believed to have the lowest cholesterol level of any meat. It is lean, tender and almost sweet - a mild tasting meat that will take on the flavors of whatever it is mixed with, with no fatty after taste.
We have a great affection for our alpacas. They are intelligent, easy to manage and have a light environmental footprint. We farm alpacas because we like them or we wouldn’t be doing it. But at the end of the day, they are animals and we are farmers and farmers are in business to profit from their farming activities.
One aspect of alpaca farming that has great potential is alpaca meat.
The natural order is that animals and plants yield more than they need to reproduce themselves; there is redundancy built into the system to ensure its survival. For example, too much grass grows in spring and summer so we cut and store it as hay or silage in order to have sufficient feed in the winter. Farmers are people who manage the surplus production of plants and animals to make a living.
Alpacas are fundamentally no different in this respect from any other farm animal. They are intelligent. They are beautiful animals. But their over-production of fibre and offspring is what enables us to make an income from them.
If you love the taste of red meat, but have been told to watch your cholesterol...
or you are on a high protein/low fat diet, look no further!
Alpaca Cuts Include:
Celebrate! Abundant Living in Central Oregon | Winter 2019-2020
Magazine Presented by The Nugget Newspaper
Published on Oct 7, 2019
By Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief | Recipes and Photos By Vicki Curlett
Alpaca meat is an alternative to beef – and it is catching on in the food world.
“Alpaca meat is one of the healthiest and most flavorful meats in the world,” Sierra Meats reports. It is described as a mild meat which takes on the flavor of the dish. It is slightly salty, tender and lean, high in protein with no fatty aftertaste. Alpaca meat also has the lowest level of cholesterol of any meat.”
Art Izer and Nancy Chapel-Izer can testify to the qualities of alpaca meat – and not just because they own and operate an alpaca ranch in Central Oregon.
“Art had a heart attack three years ago,” Nancy told Celebrate!
He had high cholesterol, and required stents to open blockages. A cardiologist consulted with him on his diet.
“They said, ‘You know, you’ve got the natural thing right there.’” Nancy recalled. “’You should be eating alpaca meat because it’s so lean.’”
Art began eating alpaca instead of beef on a regular basis and, Nancy reports, within a year, his cholesterol had hit normal levels.
“We have it a lot,” Nancy said. “We don’t buy beef now. We use it for spaghetti; we use it for hamburgers; we have round steak we use for fajitas. Tonight, we’re having a roast from the neck.”
Much as is the case with game meat, preparation is the key.
“The flavor is wonderful,” Nancy said. “The big secret is, you can’t over-cook it. You can’t have it well-done”
ALPACA MEAT APPETIZERS
Baked Peruvian Meatballs
with Green Sauce
Baked Peruvian Meatballs
with Queso Sauce
Cranberry, Pear and
Black Cherry Sauce
Stuffed Italian Sausage
Baked Alpaca Apple Sage Empanadas With Cider Sauce
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ to ½ tsp salt
6 oz. unsalted butter cut in small cubes
¼ cup to ½ cup water or milk
Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter
and pulse until incorporated but still in pieces. Add the
egg and the water or milk (in small increments) and
continue to pulse until a clumpy dough forms. Split dough
into two large balls or into smaller balls to flatten into disc
shape. The dough can be used immediately or refrigerated
until ready to use (1-2 days max). Roll out the dough into a
thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes about 4” in circum-
ference with a cutter or bowl. If using smaller balls, these can
be flattened in a tortilla press. Use immediately, or store in
the refrigerator/freezer for later use.
To assemble the empanadas, place a spoonful of filling on the
Middle of each empanada disc. The amount of filling will
depend on the size of the empanada, but it is easier to seal
if not overstuffed, leaving about a half inch of uncovered
dough around the outside edge. Beat one egg and a few
drops of water together and brush around outside edge.
Fold empanada over in a half moon shape, pinch the edges
together and seal by pressing a fork around the outside edge.
Refrigerate 30 minutes before baking. Whisk one egg and a
few drops of water and brush top of empanada for a golden
Put 2 cups apple cider in a saucepan and boil
until thickened and it covers the back of a spoon. Add 6 tblps.
of heavy cream while stirring. Add 1 tblsp. maple syrup.
When empanadas are baked, drizzle sauce over to serve.
1 lb. ground alpaca or ground pork
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 fuji apple, cut into ½” cubes
½ dried cranberries or apricots
1 tbsp. dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat, add ground alpaca breaking it up with your fingers, then breaking up with a wooden spoon into smaller pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the outside of the meat is pale, but not browned. Do not overcook alpaca, it should be medium rare, and will cook further in the empanada. Remove alpaca and set aside on a plate. Add more olive oil to pan and sauté the onions until they are browned and caramelized. Add apple, cran-berries and sauté until apples soften but still retain their shape. Remove from heat and let cool.
When meat mixture has cooled, fill the empanada dough as instructed and brush with egg wash. Bake at 375-400 degrees for 18-25 minutes until golden, depending on size of the empanadas.
Baked Peruvian Meatballs with Green Sauce
Makes approximately 18, 1.5” Meatballs
1 lb. ground meat – alpaca or beef
2 tbsps. Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Stir-In Paste
3 tsps. Gourmet Garden Cilantro Stir-In Paste
½ small onion finely chopped
2 tsps. cumin
½ tsp. pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put ground meat in a
large mixing bowl. Add garlic, cilantro, onion, cumin,
pimenton, breadcrumbs, egg and salt. Mix thoroughly
but gently with your hands to combine, but do not over-
mix or meatballs will become tough. Using a medium
ice cream scoop, form into 1.5” balls of equal size.
Lightly spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with olive oil and
place individual meatballs in each compartment. Bake
approximately 15-18 minutes until meatballs are slightly
firm to the touch. Spoon the green sauce over each
meatball or on the side in a small condiment cup. Stick
a frilly toothpick in each meatball to serve as an appetizer.
3 jalapeño chili peppers, remove half
the seeds and ribs for a medium hot
sauce, adjust to your taste, roughly
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise, not
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tblsp. fresh lime juice, from one lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tblsps. extra virgin olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. With the motor running, open lid and slowly drizzle in olive oil. It will seem very runny at this point but, don't worry, it will thicken up as it sits. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
BAKED PERUVIAN MEATBALLS WITH QUESO SAUCE
Makes 18, 1.5” Meatballs
SLOW COOKER QUESO:
Makes 4 cups
2 Tbsps. olive oil + 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lbs. Original Velveeta cheese loaf or 1 lb. Original Velveeta
cheese loaf plus 1 lb. Original Velveeta cheese loaf with jalapeno (delete the Hatch dice green chilies below), cut into cubes
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 small can Hatch diced mild green chilies
1/2 of a 15-oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup beer of choice, optional
In a medium skillet, combine the olive oil and butter and cook on medium heat until butter has melted and mixture is hot. Add roughly chopped yellow onion, reduce heat to medium low and cook slowly, mixing occasionally, until onion is evenly caramelized and golden, approximately 35 minutes, do not overcook. Add hatch chilies, fire roasted tomatoes and dry mustard, stir together. Remove from heat. Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Put skillet mixture into a slow cooker with 2 lbs. of cheese. Cook for two hours on low heat until mixture is heated and cheese is melted. If queso seems too thick, thin with beer. Alternate Method: Spray a deep, round baking dish with cooking spray, add all ingredients, mix until well combined. Cook in the microwave, covered with parchment paper, on high for about 7 minutes. If mixture seems too thick and you cannot easily spoon over meatballs, thin with beer. Sauce can also be used with just tortilla chips. For spicier sauce, lightly brown a half pound of alpaca chorizo to stir into mixture before it goes into the microwave.
1 lb. ground grass-fed meat – alpaca or beef
3 tsps. Gourmet Garden™ Chunky Garlic Stir-In
2 Tbsps. Gourmet Garden™ Cilantro Stir-In Paste
1/2 small onion finely chopped
1/2 tsp. pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
2 tsps. cumin
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put ground meat in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic, cilantro, onion, cumin, pimenton, breadcrumbs, egg and salt. Mix thoroughly but gently with your hands to combine — do not overmix or meatballs will become tough. Using a medium ice cream scoop form into 1.5” balls of equal size. Lightly spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin with olive oil and place individual meatballs in each compartment. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until meatballs are browned and firm to the touch. Spoon queso sauce over each meatball to serve.
Cranberry, Pear and Black Cherry Sauce
2 12oz. clamshells fresh cranberries (Cape Blanco)
3 D’Anjou pears, ripened but not soft, cored and cut into ½” pieces
2 cups brown sugar
¼ cup white vinegar
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. ground allspice or cinnamon
¼ tsp. dry mustard
1 10oz. jar St. Dalfour 100% black cherry fruit spread
In a large stock pot, combine all the ingredients, except the Black cherry spread. Stir to combine. Slowly bring the
Mixture to a boil. Turn down and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened to the consistency of jam. Remove from
the heat and cool partially. Stir in the black cherry spread and cool completely. Spoon into a refrigerator container
or individual glass jars. Refrigerate overnight to thicken.
STUFFED ITALIAN SAUSAGE MUSHROOMS
Makes 12 mushrooms
12 extra-large white or cremini mushrooms, stems removed
3 Tbsps. olive oil
3 Tbsps. dry marsala wine
3 Tbsps. additional olive oil
1 lb. ground grass-fed Italian alpaca sausage
or ground Italian pork sausage
3 cloves, finely minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese blend
(preferably with Asiago & Romano cheese)
2 Tbsps. minced fresh parsley
4 ounces softened plain cream cheese or mascarpone
5 ounces shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place mushroom caps in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and marsala wine. Set aside. Heat another 3 tbsps. of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling with a spoon and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, but do not brown or overcook. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, cool slightly. Stir in breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and cream cheese or mascarpone. Place a mushroom cap in each of 12 muffin tin compartments, cap side down. Divide the remaining olive oil/marsala from pan and put about ¼ tsp. in each cap hole. Using a small to medium ice cream scoop depending on size of the mushroom caps, place enough filling on the cap to create a mound, pressing onto mushroom. Top mushrooms with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
1/3 to ½ bottle San-J Teriyaki Stir Fry and marinade sauce
4 Alpaca steaks
1 pkg. King’s Hawaiian buns
¼ pkg. finely shredded cabbage
1 wedge fresh pineapple, sliced about ¼” thick
Thinly slice the steaks and put in a large storage bag. Add teriyaki marinade, seal and turn bag to coat meat. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Prepare buns by separating tops from bottoms. On the bottoms, place a small amount of shredded cabbage, then lay a slice of pineapple on top (do not put pineapple down first or bun will be soggy).
Heat a stove top grill pan to medium high.
Remove the steak slices from the freezer bag, shaking off excess marinade. Lay meat on grill pan perpendicular to the raised grill to create
grill marks. Do not overcook, may only take a minute each side. Alpaca should be medium rare. Remove meat from pan and place on top of pineapple, then put the top bun on. Secure with a frilly toothpick or knife to hold together.