We were lucky enough recently to try some delicious Galician Beef Fillet, cooked by our friend Glen in his trusty Green Egg. We bought it from Yorkshire based Spanish food importer Basco Fine Foods, where they recommended cutting the impressive 2.7 kg fillet into medallions and cooking on a charcoal barbecue. Glenn, who is a kiwi and experienced barbecuer and meat lover, decided to give it some of his home-made rub and cook it whole in the Green Egg - and it was amazing!
All of the guests were raving about it so we thought it would be interesting to share more details about this lesser known meat, particularly at this time of the year when we are looking for culinary inspiration when entertaining large groups of friends and families. And, it turns out that there is more to this beef from "old cows" than we realised - it also ticks the boxes for sustainable farming and highlights the focus on the quality vs quality of our meat constumption - which is also a bonus as we all become more aware of our own environmental footprint.
WHAT IS GALICIAN BEEF FILLET?
Galician Beef is produced from "old cows" that are reared and pastured in the Galicia region of Northwest Spain. Galician Beef comes from a special breed of native cattle called Rubia Gallega or Galician Blond or the closely related Minhota or Galega from Portugal. These cattle are raised in a free-range system, where they graze on the lush grasses of the Galician countryside. Not only do the animals graze on fresh grass but they also get to nibble the leaves of oak trees, which are the same trees that produce the acorns fed to Spain’s prized Iberico pigs.
Savouring a perfectly aged beef steak is like tasting a piece of culinary history and this is certainly true when it is a Galician steak! The meat has a superior flavour profile with a truly unique taste and texture which comes from these retired, grass-fed dairy cows which are aged between 8 and 12 years old. This is in unique contrast to the 30-36 months period after which other high quality beef slaughtered. The combination of factors including the breed of the cattle, the local climate and the traditional production methods result in these older cows having a higher percentage fat content which translates to more marbling in the meat, giving the fillet a distinct and unique flavour.
Galician Beef is considered a delicacy because of its exceptional quality and unique taste. It is often described as having a rich, buttery flavor with a tender and juicy texture. The meat is also high in healthy fats, which adds to its appeal. Due to the high demand and limited supply, Galician Beef is quite expensive and is often served in high-end restaurants as a premium dish.
If you want to try some Galician Beef, there are a number of suppliers here in the UK. Follow the links below if your interest has been sparked!
The Basco Beef Fillet is otherwise known as Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, and the Eye Fillet and is the most sought-after Galician beef cut, prized for its tender quality.
Steak Revolution | A documentary about finding the best steak in the world, with the best steak, La Rubia Gallega, coming from Jose Gordon from Bodega El Capricho in Leon, Spain
Eat Northern Spain - Bespoke Cultural Tours in Spain & Portugal