Wagyu - The Caviar of Beef
One of those reasons being nostalgia... The presentation in brown grease-proof paper was so simple - just as I remember my grandfather doing in his own butchery in Pietermaritzburg, many years ago. Old-world charm always gets my vote. Since then I have been in contact with owners Brian and Maria Angus and their daughter Megan for brief but meaningful chats now and again.
Imagine my surprise when Brian and Maria popped by a few weeks back, especially as they are Free-State based. They were in town and happened to take the wrong turn. This ‘mishap’ took them past Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine and, on seeing the signboard they put the pieces together, remembered that this had to be who they thought it was - and paid me a visit. I have, subsequently, had the good fortune to enjoy a few more of their meat products.
We must always remember that we have exceptionally-good meat suppliers locally. For professional service Merrivale Butchery always impresses me. There you will find top-quality meat at remarkable value for your rand. Come to my next Weber Grill Academy class (always on the first Friday of every month) where you’ll have the opportunity to sample that butchery’s quality meat. For the most impressive grass-fed beef you have to go to Greenfields Butchery based in Mooi River – it’s worth the drive. I cooked Greenfield’s Cŏte de boeuf/cowboy steak for a birthday cooking class, last weekend and I must express my gratitude for the variety and quality available to us here in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
But what makes Woodview beef unique?
Wagyu is a Japanese breed of cow renowned all over the world because wagyu cattle are synonymous with ‘Kobe beef’, which has been carefully raised for more than a century. ‘Kobe beef’ is simply the meat from wagyu cattle that come from the Kobe region in Japan. It is a high marbling breed that yields quality cuts of meat, believed to surpass all other meat in tenderness and intramuscular formation. Marbling refers to the little specks of fat dispersed in lean tissue. The higher the marbling the juicier and better flavoured the end product. This, understandably, comes with a high price tag but it is worth paying the price for those special occasions. Although marbling does not guarantee tenderness, well-marbled beef can be cooked to a higher degree of doneness than other beefs and still maintain its moisture - very important when cooking roasts. The Woodview pamphlet labels the product ‘the caviar of beef’. I like that!
So let us get cooking...
Roasted-butternut risotto with creamy Gorgonzola and Wagyu Biltong
First up is roasted-butternut risotto with creamy Gorgonzola, sliced Woodview wagyu beef biltong and deep-fried sage. This unusual serving of biltong adds a tantalising depth and meatiness to the risotto - one of my favourite dishes.
Wagyu Chuck Steaks
From a piece of chuck, I cut my own steaks which are called skirt or flat-iron steaks. These are relatively cheaper than, let us say, fillet - and come with a lot more marbling and flavour. Most people don’t know about this steak yet it has become extremely popular overseas. You have to be confident of your butcher because the meat needs to be sliced correctly. I also suggest wet maturing the steaks because dry maturing can be time consuming at home. It can take up to a week.
Wagyu Sirloin Steak with Yorkshire Puddings
The next recipe, highlighting sirloin steak with Yorkshire pudding and caramelised onions, always gives my taste buds a jolt.
Wagyu Beef Osso Bucco with Gremolata
I have only made Osso Buco with veal so I was excited to try out this recipe. The end result was a rich-and-creamy dish that I served with hand-picked herbs, mash and gremolata. It delivered a fresh-and-savoury combination worth noting – and it went well with a glass of fine wine!
Wagyu Ribeye Steaks
with Green Peppercorn Sauce
Mount Grace Hotel and Spa in Magaliesburg was where I started my career and there I often had the pleasure of cooking rib-eye steak which was on the fine-dining menu.
We used to serve it with a green-peppercorn sauce. It brings back favourable memories of happy times and I know you’ll agree that this dish is on another level.
Wagyu Beef Burgers by Megan Angus
The last recipe is from Megan Angus who made her Wagyu beef burgers at Taste of Durban, Suncoast Casino last weekend.
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Food styling and recipe development: Elaine Boshoff