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Food columnist: Why beef needs to stop getting a beating in the press

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Food and drink columnist Wendy tells us about the health benefits of beef, and provides a recipe to allow us to take advantage of them.

Beef gets a beating in some of the press: dieticians critical of a hint of fat, so-called environmentalists questioning methane emissions and scientists bent on fabricating it in a 3D printer!

Well, here I am clearly nailing my colours to the mast: for a healthy diet, restored planet and biodiversity of species, we need ruminants as part of every farming and food production system.

Pasture-fed ruminants, whether grazing grass or hefted on moors, bring many benefits and the marbling present is a healthy nourishing fat giving marvellous flavours to the meat.

Such animals could not be more different from grain fed beasts on densely populated feedlots. Industrialised farming methods are linked with lower welfare standards, felling of rain forests for grain production and GM soy feed. Scottish pasture-fed cattle could not be more different.

With this in mind, today’s recipe is beef brochettes: delicious to eat, easy to prepare and pretty on the plate.

Simply place morsels of beef (round steak is ideal) in a bowl with a generous glug of Summer Harvest rapeseed oil and season with Scottish sea salt and pepper – add a little chopped chilli if you wish a kick. There are super homegrown ones from Sheena at Galloway Chillies.

Take another dash of oil to heat in a pan along with a knob of butter and slow roast some sliced onions over a medium heat to caramelise. Next, thread your seasoned beef onto skewers and place in a hot pan to chargrill for 6-8 minutes, turning regularly to cook evenly. Remove from pan and allow to rest in a warm place.

I like to use wooden skewers as the ends are cool for handling and they go in the log stove afterwards!

When the onions are almost ready, transfer to the beef pan to absorb the residual juices and add a dash of beer, such as the fabulous Ovenstone 109 here in Fife, for a lovely glaze.

Bring to boil and pour, along with the onions, over the brochettes on heated plates. Great with baked or boiled potatoes to mop up the juices and serve with a tangy chutney alongside if you wish.

Wendy is the Scottish Thistle Award Regional Ambassador (2018/19) for Central, Tayside & Fife and founder and director of the award-winning Scottish Food Guide

More in this series:

Wendy’s ‘rib sticker’ mutton broth will warm up winter

Food columnist: Go green with a recipe for healthy soup of chard and chives

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