Scotch beef is renowned for it’s quality the world over and here at home we’re fortunate to have such fantastic farmers producing top quality beef, lamb and pork. Provenance is everything, with consumers demanding to know more about how and where the meat on their plate is produced. Key in all of this is knowing your butcher and he’ll be more than happy to discuss where his meat is farmed. But, there’s also another increasingly popular way to source good quality Scotch beef. What about knowing your farmer.
With the increase and popularity of line shopping, there are now some exceptionally good Scottish farmers selling their meat direct to the customer. Damn Delicious , a family owned farm in Biggar, Lananrkshire has been selling direct since 2007 and recently, they sent me some of their outstanding Aberdeen Angus Scotch beef and pork.
Damn Delicious take great pride in using unique and natural farming methods to ensure their meat is of the finest quality. All year round, the Aberdeen Angus beef herd live and roam outside on the farm. Grazing on fresh grass and clover in Summer, then when Winter arrives they feed on fresh kale with silage or hay. Farmer Michael Shannon believes that it’s this, along with maturing the beef on the bone for one month, that creates the most incredible flavoured meat, and ensures maximum taste and tenderness.
Beef is something I really enjoy cooking and I have to say that over the years there’s been a number of occasions that I’ve been disappointed with meat that lacked flavour and tenderness. Happily the comments from the carniverous Gillon family’s taste test of Damn Delicious meat were fantastic and it’s a butcher I’ll be more than happy to buy from in the future.
I stuck with a couple of family favourites for the casserole steak and the mince but decided to cook the steak using a recipe from a Quality Meat Scotland recipe booklet that arrived along with the meat. When cooked, the beef was incredibly tender and the flavour was outstanding, much stronger and flavoursome than other beef I’ve used. Here’s the recipes for the dishes I cooked. All serve 4.
Scotch Beef Steak with fennel and rosemary. Ingredients: 4 Scotch beef steaks (sirloin, rib-eye, rump or fillet) I used 2 rib-eye and 2 sirloin. 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, 2 tsp crushed fennel seeds, 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary.
Method: Rub the steaks with pepper, fennel, rosemary and olive oil and leave to marinate overnight if possible, but 15 minutes will do. When ready to cook, the steaks can either be cooked on the BBQ or grill/griddle. Cook to your liking, (see suggestions) allow to rest and cut into thick slices to serve. Suggested timings from the QMS recipe booklet are :- Rare 2 1/2 minutes each side, Medium 4 minutes each side, Well done 6 minutes each side. These timings are approximate and based on a 1″ thick sirloin steak pan fried.
Italian Beef Casserole. Ingredients . 1 -2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil, 450g diced casserole steak, 1 small pack of pancetta cubes, 1 onion finely chopped, 2 cloves garlic crushed, 2tbsp tomato puree, 400g can chopped tomatoes, approximately 250ml red wine, 2 tbsp mixed chopped fresh herbs, rosemary, and thyme work well. 1 bay leaf, half tsp dried basil, ‘a wee pinch of sugar’, salt and freshly ground black pepper, I red pepper chopped,1 chopped courgette (optional) .
To finish: Rind of half a lemon grated, 2 garlic cloves crushed, 1 red chilli chopped and 3 anchovies. Finely chop to a paste like consistency.
To serve: 400g Tagliatelle and freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Method: Pre heat the oven to 150C/Fan 130C, Gas 2. Use a flameproof casseole, heat the oil over a medium heat, add the beef and brown on all sides. Don’t overcrowd the pan otherwise the meat will steam. As the meat browns, remove and set aside. Add the pancetta, brown for 1-2 minutes, add the onion and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, return the beef to the pan and mix well. Add the tomato puree, stirring to coat the meat and cook for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, red wine, herbs and a ‘ wee pinch of sugar‘. Slowly bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, put the lid on and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and add the chopped red pepper and courgette if using and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Stir the anchovy mix through and mix well. Serve on a bed of tagliatelle and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
The final recipe with steak mince is one of my favourites, Spaghetti Bolognese. I’ve been making this dish for more than 30 years and over that time, the recipe has undergone many changes. Suggestions from an Italian relative and friends has meant new ingredients were added, or some were taken out, but after all those years the recipe is now in ‘tablets of stone’. Washed down with a nice glass of red wine, it’s just the perfect comfort food dinner at any time of the year.
Spaghetti Bolognese: Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil, 1 onion chopped, 2-3 garlic cloves crushed, 1 small packet of pancetta cubes, 450g Aberdeen Angus steak mince, 1 tbsp plain flour (optional) large heaped tbsp tomato puree, 400 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 large carrot finely diced, 1 celery finely chopped, 1 tsp dried Italian herbs, approx 250ml red wine, a ‘wee pinch of sugar’, salt and freshly ground black pepper. To Serve: 400g spaghetti and freshly ground Parmesan cheese.
Method: Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the pancetta, cook for 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat, add the steak mince and continue cooking until well browned. Reduce the heat, sprinkle the flour ( if using ) over the meat and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato puree,through the meat and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the tinned tomatoes, carrot, celery, herbs, red wine, sugar, seasoning , stir and bring gently to the boil. Simmer for at least 1 hour, adding more wine or if preferred water, until the mince is tender. Serve with spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Next week I’ll be posting the recipe for the Damn Delicious Pork chops. Meantime, if you are interested in finding out more about Damn Delicious meat and their farming methods check out their website. Their new farm shop opens this week and will also be well stocked with top quality Scotch beef, lamb and pork.
Further recipes for quality Scotch beef, pork and lamb can be found at QMS .