We really enjoy our meat, and often with cosy nights in, an anniversary or special occasion, an excellent cut of steak and a bottle of wine is our go-to. The same goes when we visit a farm shop or walk past the butchers. Steak is one of our guilty pleasures. And especially as it’s an occasional enjoyment, it’s all the tastier when we do have it!
Over the years too, the value of supporting local and independent has become more important to me, and also being more considerate around where food comes from. It’s a good shift.
So what place really is more perfect to when it comes to natural beauty, fresh commodities and the rest? Yorkshire. Let’s face it. We pretty much have it all right? Abundant with breathtaking land, beautiful villages, friendly people, amazing breweries, epic produce, locally sourced.
So why am I rambling on about fresh quality produce, steak and Yorkshire? Coz I wanna really really really wanna zig-a-zig-ah. Well, actually it’s about Swaledale Butchers…
We recently had our first experience with Swaledale, and it was pretty epic. In a nutshell, they’re specialist butchers with a nose-to-tail philosophy, working with native breeds, slow grown and grass-fed on small farms on the Yorkshire Dales. From what I read there’s about 30ish farms that they work me. For me, I love this. And I truly hate waste, so this approach I find so pleasing and is just correct.
From start to finish, the shopping experience was so straightforward, and as we browsed through their store, our tongues wagging, we opted for steak galore, intrigued by cuts we’ve never heard of before.
Click, click, click, and within several days, on our chosen delivery date, our fresh delivery arrived. We indulged in steak, and were extremely happy!
In our exciting package, we got a brilliant mix of cuts to truly go all out and try something new. We did also go with two classics, the sirloin steak as it is firm favourite, and flat iron, but the rest were all new to us.
The Swaledale Artisan Steak Meat Box (£25) piqued our interest as it included 5 cuts of meat, some of which are lesser known: onglet steak, bavette steak, bone-in sirloin steak, Denver steak, and flat iron steak.
Alongside the box, we ordered an additional 600g of their sirloin steak for £22 and set of spider steaks for £6.50. With the spider steaks, the price is what caught my eye, very affordable, and the description was intriguing. Reviews were through the roof for them and being referred to as the ‘secondary’ steaks with a more open texture and superior marbling, it seemed to make sense to try them out.
So with all the meat we had, we had a play with three different types of dishes.
One of my favourite German dishes, bratkartoffeln. Basically fried potato slices, traditionally served with speck, egg, onion and garlic. As we didn’t have any lardons, we cut in cubes of chorizo and served alongside the trio of onglet, Denver and flat iron steak.
The steaks were cooked for seven minutes in total, and a dollop of butter to glaze at the very end. The onglet steak was interesting in flavour, the meatiest of them all, it felt rich in taste with a real depth to it. The flat iron was soft and tender, whilst the Denver was the chunkiest of them all, and had a good bite to it. The avocado was just a little extra as I enjoy the smooth and creaminess of it with salted meat.
We wanted a quick meal that was fulfilling and decided to make stir-fried noodles. Before working on the noodles, we prepped and fried the steaks. For this dish, we again when with a trio of steaks, just to see how each worked with the ingredients. So into the pan went the bavette, spider and sirloin (on bone) steak. For the noodles we added in plenty of fresh vegetables, spring onions, and garnished with black sea salt and hoisin sauce.
The sirloin, as a well known cut, was exactly as expected, very enjoyable. The bavette, upon reading, is great for searing quickly and resting well, making it perfect to cook first and leave to the side before focusing on the noodles. The star of the show for me though, was the spider steak. The texture and flavour was just one of a kind, with the fat being a surprisingly soft and tasty extra.
With two sirloin on-bone steaks left, we actually took the steaks with us on our adventure to Herefordshire. Here, we stayed in a Shepherds hut and decided on one of the nights to have a BBQ. We had picked some fresh potatoes that day, grilled a kielbasa sausage and flame grill the sirloin steaks.
Being careful to not charcoal the meat, into the flame it went for a brief moment to give it the colouring, and then placed out of the fire to continue cooking. Whilst there’s not much control with a BBQ, the steak was a fabulous serve, medium rare and that rustic grill taste to it.
For me, there’s no need to buy supermarket bought steaks when you can support independent for a very reasonable price, be guaranteed fresh quality produce with a philosophy that is very conscious of waste and considerate to the art of butchery. Whilst we have bought artisan steaks previously, although elsewhere, Swaledale has definitely become a trusted and firm favourite.