Ask any cattle rancher about producing great beef and they will tell you that it starts with the grass. As summer comes to a close we should take the time to celebrate California beef at its best, whether 100% grass-fed or grain finished the most pleasurable eating experience is going to come from cattle that got fat from grazing on lush pasture.
We are lucky enough to work with a number of top notch beef producers, but today we’re shining a spotlight on Richards Grass-fed Beef and Five Dot Ranch whose programs both exclusively feature California born and raised cattle.
A fourth generation cattle ranch located along the Yuba River about 70 miles North East of Sacramento. By only harvesting 10 head of cattle every two weeks, the Richards are committed to focusing on quality over quantity resulting in extremely limited availability of their amazing 100% grass-fed beef, all born and raised entirely on the ranch! The genetics of the cattle are mix of the well-known Black Angus and the Australian Murray Grey. The Richards have found that the addition of the Murray Grey genetics resulted in animals that excel at converting lush pasture to tender, great tasting beef.
The Swickard Family has been raising livestock for over seven generations. In 2006 the family started Five Dot Ranch in Susanville, CA and today, the ranch is the largest public lands grazing permittee in California. They raise Angus herds that are on pasture from the Napa Valley to the High Sierras grazing in wide-open spaces. Their cattle are 95% grass-fed and then finished on a short grain ration to achieve a consistently delicious product. They practice holistic land management, believe in low stress handling and exceptional quality care, which all result in excellent tasting premium quality beef. Bi-Rite was one of Five Dot Ranch’s very first customers and it has been since into a relationship we’re incredibly proud to have had ever since.
So come visit us in the markets, meet our butchers and take advantage of the opportunity to taste beef at its peak, or have it delivered to you via Instacart.
How to enjoy all this best of season California beef? Sicilian Meatballs with Fresh Basil Marinara from Eat Good Food.
These baseball-size meatballs are the mainstay of the market’s deli case. They’re flavorful and tender and stay good for several days after they’re made. If you have leftovers, they make an incredible meatball sandwich; just slice them up, reheat in the sauce, and put them in the middle of a good crusty roll. Then top with mozzarella or provolone if you have it!
Makes 6 large meatballs
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, more for sprinkling
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- Sugar, as needed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375F. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment or a nonstick liner and set aside.
Put the breadcrumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl, stir to blend, and set aside for 5 minutes. With your hands, squeeze and mash the breadcrumbs so that they make a smooth paste. Add the egg and whisk, then add the Parmigiano, ketchup and parsley, oregano, thyme, half the onion, half the garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to blend.
With your hands, break the beef into small chunks and add to the bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly; overmixing with make the meatballs tough and dry. When all the ingredients are evenly combined, shape the mixture into 6 balls and arrange on the baking sheet.
Bake until an instant-read thermometer reads 165F at the center of a meatball, 40-45 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining half onion and 1 teaspoon salt and increase the heat to medium-high. Stirring frequently, cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining half garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook until reduced to a thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add a pinch or two of sugar if it seems too tangy, and season with more salt if necessary. Stir in the basil and keep warm until the meatballs come out of the oven.
Spoon the sauce generously over the meatballs and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Garnish with a sprinkling of Parmigiano. #EatGoodFood!