Between the rugged shoreline and the rolling hills, our readers are fortunate to have some of the most delicious natural produce right on their doorstep.
And when it comes to beef, you’d expect to find a true authority on the subject nestled in Aberdeenshire, the heart of Scottish beef country.
Enter Donald Russell, butchers to the Queen, with a long-held Royal Warrant to prove it. For more than 40 years, they’ve expertly selected, dry-aged and hand cut some of the finest grass-fed beef in the UK. Over time, they’ve grown into the UK’s leading mail order and online butcher, and even supply top restaurants as far away as Hong Kong, all from their humble base in Inverurie.
Head butcher Mark Farquhar has over 30 years’ experience as a butcher, 26 of which have been served with Donald Russell.
“When you’re looking for a really top quality piece of beef, you have to go grass-fed. The finished beef has a superior level of marbling – the tiny flecks of fat through the meat which give it its rich, mellow flavour.
“We mature our beef like a fine wine or cheese – for up to five weeks – to really develop its full taste and tenderness. And we always cut by hand. That’s really important, to make sure you get the best steak, roast or even stew cut when it’s on your plate.”
For Mark, “nothing beats a steak – it’s the original fast food”, and we find it hard to disagree. It’s the ideal, quick and easy way to celebrate Great British Beef Week this week, and indulge your taste buds with the good stuff. If you’d like a little help cooking the perfect steak, Donald Russell has excellent advice and even chef’s videos on their guide,
As well as the succulent steaks for which they’re known, in recent years Donald Russell has made it their mission to champion forgotten, humble cuts too. From diced shin (or skink as it’s known in the northeast), exceptionally flavoursome mince made from steak offcuts, or even ox cheek, their butchers have prepared them all, ready for your pot. They’ve used the same old-fashioned cuts in their slow cooked mains and ready meals.
Call 01467 629666 or go to donaldrussell.com, and they’ll deliver your order, conveniently frozen, direct to your door.
Boneless Shin of Beef with Gremolata
- 2 packs shin of Beef
- salt and pepper
- 4-5 tsp flour
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 2 onions (chopped)
- 2 carrots (finely diced)
- 4 stalks celery (finely diced)
- 400g tomatoes (chopped fresh or tinned)
- 300ml beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lemon
- 2 sprigs parsley (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp butter (diced)
- Preheat oven to 160ºC/320ºF/Gas 2. Allow the meat to come to room temperature, pat dry with kitchen paper, coat lightly in the flour and tap off any excess.
- Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof casserole dish and sear meat on all sides, remove from the heat and set aside. Using the same pan add garlic, onions, carrot and celery, braise for four to five minutes on a medium heat then add tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and the seared meat. Bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for an hour and a half.
- Finely peel the yellow skin from the lemon (only the skin as the white pith tastes bitter) and chop very finely together with the parsley. Remove the casserole from the oven and reduce the sauce to a smooth consistency. To serve, dot with the diced butter and sprinkle with lemon and parsley. Serve with noodles and vegetable batons.
Braised Beef Brisket
- 950g beef brisket
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 125g carrots (finely diced)
- 125g celery (finely diced)
- 125g onions (finely diced)
- 125g leeks (finely diced)
- 280ml red wine
- 300g oxtail
- 600ml beef stock (approx)
- whole bulb garlic – cut in half
- 2 large bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3, rinse the brisket under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat the oil in a casserole pan and sear the brisket on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add all the vegetables to the pan and colour lightly over a medium heat. Add the wine and cook for one to two minutes then return the brisket to the pan, add the oxtail, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns.
Top up with the stock until it comes half way up the brisket, reserve any spare stock for later use. Cover with a well-fitting lid and cook for around three hours in the oven, check occasionally and add remaining stock if required to maintain the level of liquid.
To check if the brisket is ready use a meat fork and insert it into the thickest part of the meat, if the fork goes in and out easily, the brisket is ready. Remove the brisket and the oxtail from the cooking liquid and set aside to keep warm.
Reduce the sauce until thickened or alternatively dissolve 1tsp cornflour in two tsp water and add to the sauce and bring to the boil, season to taste with salt and pepper. Carve the meat and serve with the sauce. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes or roast potatoes.
Ribeye Roast with Yorkshire Puddings
- salt & pepper
- 225g plain flour
- half tsp salt
- 4 medium eggs
- 300ml milk
- 300ml cold water
- 1 tsp plain flour
- 600ml beef stock
- Preheat the oven to 240°C/465°F/Gas 9. Season the meat and place in a roasting tin and sear for 15 minutes until browned, lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and cook for the required time. For a 1kg/2lb 3oz Ribeye Roast, cook for 27 (rare), 33 (medium) or 44 minutes (well done).
- Half an hour before the beef is ready, make the pudding batter. Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and break in the eggs.
- Mix the milk and water in a jug and with an electric whisk, gradually beat half of the milk mixture into the eggs and flour. Add enough of the remaining milk mixture to create a batter with the consistency of double cream. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.
- Remove the beef from the oven and increase temperature to 220°C/428°F/Gas 7. Place the beef on a carving tray and cover loosely with foil, resting in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Put some fat from the roasting tin into a 12-hole muffin tin. Put in the oven for five minutes until smoking hot. Fill each indentation
- Whisk in the flour and a little stock, scraping the bottom to release the beef juices. Add the rest of the stock and simmer until reduced to gravy. Strain into a saucepan, season and keep warm until required.
- Uncover the beef and add juices from the carving tray to the gravy. Carve the beef as thinly as possible. Serve with the Yorkshire puddings, gravy, horseradish sauce and English mustard.