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Farm To Fork: Verrill Farm's Local, Grass-Fed Beef Is Steak How Nature Made It04:42
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If you just drove past Verrill Farm in Concord, you'd be forgiven for not realizing the 200-acre farm raised grass-fed beef as well. But they do — the cows are grazed just up the road.

As long as it's cooked on the rarer side, Verrill Farm owner Steve Verrill told Radio Boston's Anthony Brooks that grass-fed tastes better than other types of beef. Tremont 647 chef and owner Andy Husbands — who joined Brooks at the farm for the latest installment of Farm to Fork — agreed.

"With grass-fed, it has a unique flavor. We've kind of grown up on corn-fed, so grass-fed is going to have a little more of an earthy flavor," Husbands said. "Also, because it's not getting all those hormones, antibiotics — all that other stuff they're unfortunately putting into it — this is actually more of a natural steak, the way it has been for hundreds of years."

Verrill said the cows are pastured up the road where they feed on grass until briefly before they're slaughtered, when the cattle get a brief change of diet to fatten them up.

"We use a little corn finishing them off to get a little marbling with it," Verrill said.

Husbands selected a porterhouse, which he prepared Florentine-style — with fresh lemon juice and olive oil — pan-seared on the bone.

"Anytime you cook with the bone — it's like cooking a chicken breast on the bone — it's juicer," he said. "And actually it maintains the integrity and flavor so much better than actually cutting it out."

Another key tip from Husbands: steak needs to rest (on the back of a fork for instance) for a five minutes before it's ready.

"What you need to think about when you're cooking meat — it's like a rubber band and you're twisting it and twisting it up," Husbands said. "So we want that muscle to relax. And once it starts to relax, then when we cut it, the juices will stay within it."

Along with the steak, Husbands picked up a fresh spring parsnip that he used as the base for a light, creamy sauce. In just a few minutes and in Verrill Farm's on-site kitchen, he whipped up a simple, wonderfully cooked meal — perfect for ushering in the warm weather.

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Recipe (PDF):

Andy Husbands’ Pan Seared Verrill Farm T-Bone Steak
With Parsnip Puree

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 medium Parsnip, wash and scrubbed, cut into ¼ inch thick rings, stem removed
1 small clove garlic, peeled
cold water for cooking
¼ to ½ cup milk
kosher salt

Directions:
Place the parsnip and garlic in a medium sauce pan covered in cold water over high heat and bring to boil. Let boil for 4-6 minutes until a butter knife easily slides into the parsnip. Strain the vegetable and discard the water.

Place the cooked vegetables into a blender and add ¼ cup milk and puree until the consistency of sour cream, you may need to add more milk depending on size of parsnip. Taste and season with kosher salt, serve hot.

I suggested while the parsnips are cooking start cooking your steak.

1 T-Bone (Porterhouse) Steak, about 1 pound, from Verrill Farms
Kosher salt
Black Pepper Mill
1 Tbs vegetable oil
3 thyme sprigs

Place the steak on your cutting board and liberally season both sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Lightly pressing the seasoning into the meat.

Place the oil in a heavy bottom sauté or cast iron pan (my favorite) over high heat. When pan is hot, it should be just about smoking, add the steak, turn down to medium high and continue to sear for 2-3 minutes, flip over and add the thyme sprigs to the pan, continue to sear.

While the steak is cooking slightly tilt the pan and with a soup spoon scoop up the juices in the pan and pour over steak, basting it. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until desired doneness. Remove from pan and let sit on rack on a sheet pan for 3 minutes.

Serve with parsnip puree. Yum.

This segment aired on April 20, 2011.

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