Bringing Home the Beef

I spent last Saturday afternoon in Naardermeer, an unspoilt rural area about 35 kilometres south east of Amsterdam. If you have read previous blogs, you will know my husband is a nature lover and champion of all eco- friendly initiatives. Thus we went to pick up some ‘wild’ meat from an area of grassland owned by Natuurmonumenten and grazed by Galloway cattle.

Natuurmonumenten owns and maintains 355 nature reserves in the Netherlands. It promotes natural maintenance of grassland through grazing. In 1989 they imported 12 Galloway cattle from Scotland and since then the herd has expanded to 165, currently owned by Free Nature. Free Nature is a foundation that aims to restore European ecosystems. Every autumn there is a cull and slaughter of some of the animals grazing in Nardermeer and the meat is sold locally, or on the premises. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go out into the field armed with spear and knives but the meat could be ordered and vacuum-packaged in advance.

While we were there we enjoyed some slow food in restaurant, Stadzigt. There’s also a shop selling organic products. It was a drizzly day otherwise we would have ventured a walk into the surrounding wooded area. In the summer it’s possible to hire a boat and go out onto the meer (lake), so a return visit is definitely on our to-do list.

Our mixed package included; sausages, hamburgers, mince and stewing meat and will probably last us till Christmas as we only eat modest quantities per meal and my other half is a dab hand at making huge pans of spaghetti sauce and a Dutch favourite of mine: draadjesvlees. I’ve no idea how to translate it, but it’s stewing meat cooked extremely slowly (or in a pressure cooker) until it falls into draadjes (threads) when you bite into it. Mmm, I’m starting to salivate already! If you would like to sample some of the ‘wild’ meat, the next collection day is 15 Dec. Visit this link to put in your order.

Here are a few photos of the afternoon and some lucky cattle that got away…

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About susancarey

Writer and teacher living in Amsterdam. Trying to be mindful and occasionally succeeding!
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6 Responses to Bringing Home the Beef

  1. nessafrance says:

    Sounds like a great initiative and I’m sure the meat tastes better as a result. The Dutch stewed meat dish sounds a bit like boeuf à la cuillère (lit. spoon beef), which is so tender that you can eat it with a spoon. It’s past lunchtime and I’m feeling hungry reading your post!

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  2. Sally Robinson says:

    Thanks for the tip Angela. Sounds a nice place too. I have nostalgic memories of my mum-in-law’s draadjes vlees, with ……. cauliflower! Yummm!

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  3. susancarey says:

    I’ll ask Frank for the recipe and then perhaps post it at a later date. Red cabbage is also a nice accompanying vegetable!

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  4. pfornari says:

    Looks so much more ‘acceptable’ than rivers of blood we had on Dhaka streets recently after public slaughtering of cows for the Eid festival. I won’t be eating beef for a long time! Could you teach me to do the fancy slide show thing you do with your lovely photos?

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    • susancarey says:

      You’re right, Paola, having it so in your face is off-putting. Here a lot of animal suffering is hidden away which I find hypocritical, I guess there’s no ideal country when it comes to issues around animal welfare.

      The slide show thing is easy. I’ll send you some tips in an email.

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