When I was in Exeter on Wednesday, I had some time to kill and went into Piper’s Farm shop on Magdalen Road. They sell beef, pork, lamb and poultry meat, all raised in “the time-honoured traditional ways of rearing animals, slowly, on natural diets, in natural conditions so that they reach natural maturity.” On the recommendation of the lady butcher, I bought two Devon Red Ruby grilling steaks. She sliced them from a hunk of beef and trimmed off just as much of the fat as I asked her to.
Devon Red Rubies are one of the oldest native British cattle breeds and have been around since pre-Roman Celtic Britain. I often see them dotted around the fields in Devon and they truly are beautiful with fur ranging from the colour of rust to the colour of cooked cherries. Their meat is succulent and marbled with fat.
Seared Devon Red Ruby Steak
Place the steaks in a shallow dish. Drizzle with olive oil; rub the oil all over the steaks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Heat your skillet over high heat. Cast iron is best. Fry over medium-high for about 4 minutes on each side for medium.
Place the steaks on a warm plate with cover with a tent of aluminum foil to keep them warm. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of beef stock or red wine. Boil over high heat until it reduces to a sypupy consistency. Stir in a knob of butter. Pour over each steak and serve.
This was one of the most delicious pieces of meat that I have ever eaten. Besides letting the cattle grow to maturity, the meat is hung for three weeks after it is butchered and it has the most amazing depth of flavour.
I might have liked to have served steamed haricot verts with this meal, but all green beans currently seem to be imported from Kenya. Not only are we committed to eating local, seasonal produce as much as possible, but I have read that the practice of raising fruit, vegetables and flowers for export to the UK is taking up to 25% of water normally available to small Kenyan farmers. Plus, there’s the issue of air miles. So I dug into the veg box and used up the last of the sprouts and cabbage.
Braised Brussel Sprouts, Red Cabbage and Apple in Red Wine
One onion, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
A couple dozen Brussel sprouts, timmed
Half a red cabbage, roughly chopped
Half an apple, cut into big chunks
Some fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup red wine
One tablespoon basalmic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Sweat the the onion and garlic in a knob of butter. Put into an ovenproof baking dish or a stovetop casserole. Stir in the Brussel sprouts, cabbage, apple and rosemary. Pour over the stock, wine and balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste. Either simmer on the stove top or braise at 425° fahrenheit/220° celsius for about an hour, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the vegetables and keep them warm. Reduce the pan juices by boiling them over high heat until they are the consistency of syrup. Pour the reduction over the vegetables.
Before and After
Oven Fried Potatoes
Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky fries
Preheat the oven to 425° fahrenheit/220° celsius. Put your roasting pan into the oven while it is heating up. When the desired temperature is reached, put a couple of spoonfuls of the goose fat into the pan.
My new Best Friend
When it is sizzling hot, whip the pan out of the oven, toss the potatoes and some salt with the melted fat and put the pan back into the oven. Roast for about 30-45 minutes. Hover and shake the pan from time to time. Serve with Hellman’s mayonnaise.