Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Goo Goo for Niman Ranch

About a month ago, Wheatsville began carrying Niman Ranch products in the meat case. So far, we have the beef and the pork, and since we have a great source for local, natural lamb, we probably won't carry their lamb until after the expansion.

Niman Ranch is a high end meat that can be found on some of the most distinguished menus in the country. In Austin, establishments like Hudson's on the Bend, and Trio serve it up proudly.
So, for Joe the Gourmand to be able to go on down to his local Co-op and buy some for a reasonable price, it's pretty decadent.

Niman prides themselves on the treatment of their animals. The cows spend most of their lives on a grass diet, and are grain finished, like most other cattle. This is a widely disputed practice, but the proof is in the flavor for this product. Unlike most grain finished cattle, these spend less of their life on a grain diet and are relatively 'stress free'. So, we could debate the merits of these practices, but for now, I'll just gush over how great this meat is.

The Butcher, my good friend and confidant, let me know that the ribeyes that he has been sent were USDA Prime, and everything else is Choice (still looks like prime). He has been experimenting with some thicker restaurant style cuts, like the Strip Loin Filet. This bad boy is reasonably priced and amazing. See for your self.


Sunday after the ASL Championship, I went home and got to work on my late night steak dinner. I picked out some great veg from my produce department that day, choosing some beautiful little organic white potatoes, a small organic kabocha squash, some organic white beech mushrooms, and some adorable organic collards -- the small, tender, sweet jobs.

I blanched the potatoes and pan roasted them in a manner similar to homefries, sauted the collards and beech mushrooms in some Remember When Dairy butter, and deglazed the pan with some ponzu, and simmered the kabocha in some chicken stock, and mirin. Usually, for the kabocha you'd use dashi, but the dashi I had on hand I made when I broke my fast back in September, and it wasn't up to snuff.

Kabocha ya betch'ya.

I decided to forgo making a sauce for the steak, and instead, I spooned a generous amount of local Pure Luck Del Cielo goat brie on its perfect crust. Arteries be damned. In the end it was a delicious meal, washed down with an organic Sammy Smith ale.

I heart goat brie, and crusty steaks...

It's all pink in the middle.

The New York Times ran a great article on what Bill Niman, the founder of Niman Ranch, is up to these days. Check it out if you like. If you are a meat eater, or better yet, a meat lover, this is possibly some of the best quality product available in the city. Walk, run, bike, bus, or drive over to Wheatsville, and pick some up. Your cardiologist will thank you.


amenity said...

Holy christ. I'm going to stop looking at your blog. I don't know where to get the Niman Ranch de EspaƱa (the only grass-fed beef I've found was a little distressed looking) and I've thus been largely pescatarian the past month. Aside from paella-Sundays, of course - I am not about to start preaching to my flatmates about animal husbandry. This past weekend I got half the rabbit liver!

TexasDeb said...

Niman meat is the most amazing stuff.

We have been enjoying it once weekly since it first showed up at the Wheat.

I keep waiting for us to be suffering in some way for doing the right thing by shopping at W'ville but so far it has been just the opposite.

The quality of your food is an improvement, and hence our lives have been enhanced by buying and eating from the selections there.

W'ville is one of those "hidden in plain sight" food stash secrets. I can't imagine how the store isn't picked clean more often.

Flapjacks said...

Come to the produce dept. Sunday night. Blown out!

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