I’ve made a lot of changes with my diet these past few years and one of them is eating less beef. But, sometimes… I crave a rich, juicy steak. So, now, when I eat beef, I want it to be good, really good. I want it to be good for me and I want it to be good for the planet. Granted, I can’t do it all the time, but for the most part, I try really hard to buy and eat grass fed beef.
Grass fed beef is beef that is raised solely on grass, not raised on grass then finished on corn. One family who knows all about grass fed beef is my friends, the Harris family of Bluffton, Georgia. Will Harris III is a fourth-generation cattleman.
Will’s ancestor founded White Oak Pastures in the late 1800s, after returning home from the Civil War. Will is a cowboy straight out of central casting. He’s tall and rugged with a rich, deep voice—and a legendary drawl that makes the ladies swoon. He is a Deep South cattleman from the top of his Stetson hat to the tip of his well-worn leather boots.
Until the years following World War II, the Harris family raised cattle as they always had, as free-range beef. After the war, “improvements” were made in production, pastures were fertilized for year-round green grass, herd size was increased, and antibiotics and hormones were developed to keep the animals healthy. It was science; it was progress.
Dispensing antibiotics to healthy animals has become routine on the large, concentrated farms that now dominate American agriculture. Grain-fed cattle spend most of their lives eating grass in pastures, and then move on to a feedlot where they eat an inexpensive, high-calorie grain diet for three to six months. Will raised his cattle in pastures his family had been farming for decades, but then had to send them to the Midwest for corn finishing. He grew to loathe sending his cattle off in double-decker trucks on a journey that would take them across the country, without food and water for several days, the cattle on the upper level soiling the animals below.
Will says it just wasn’t right. He made a choice to buck the system and return to the methods his forbears used: traditional, sustainable, and humane. Check out your local markets and see if you can find grass fed natural beef.
Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Boneless Rib eye with Porcini Rosemary Rub that’s certain to satisfy any steak craving you may have. Porcini mushrooms are extremely flavorful with an earthy, assertive flavor. Due to their incredible flavor and somewhat limited supply, porcini have an intoxicating allure similar to sought after black truffles or caviar. Most frequently they are sold dried and are a one-two punch of savory umami flavor paired with the rich beef.
Boneless Rib eye with Porcini Rosemary Rub – Serves 4
Grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, and omega 3 fatty acids than traditionally raised beef. The diet of grass-fed cattle creates a naturally alkaline rumen, the first of one of a four-compartment stomach, minimizing the possibility of E. coli contamination.
- 4 boneless rib eye steaks, 1 1/2 inches thick
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the porcini mushrooms and rosemary in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Puree until very finely ground. Transfer to a shallow plate. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place one side in the porcini mixture and press to coat.
Heat the oil a large cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the steaks porcini-side down and sear on all sides until a rich brown crust forms, about 4 minutes per side, plus the edges. (You can use a raw potato to lean the steaks up against so they won’t topple in the skillet.) Remove to a warm plate to rest and let the juices redistribute.
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