The fourteenth day of my 30 days of traditional Scottish foods series: Aberdeen Angus beef.
A breed of hornless cattle bred in Aberdeenshire, Kincardine, Banff and Angus in Scotland, known as Aberdeen Angus. Also known in Scotland as humbles or doddies.
Hugh Watson founded the breed in the nineteenth century, by selecting the best black polled (hornless) cattle. Almost every Aberdeen Angus cow or bull can be traced back to “Old Granny”, the founder of the breed.
The north-east of Scotland is rich in farming pasture, the location between the North Sea and the Cairngorms creating a temperate, fertile land. Best summed up by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, in his classic Sunset Song:
“You hated the land and the coarse speak of the folk and learning was brave and fine one day; and the next you’d waken with the peewits crying across the hills, deep and deep, crying in the heart of you and the smell of the earth in your face, almost you’d cry for that, the beauty of it and the sweetness of the Scottish land and skies.”
A tender and juicy beef, arguably the world’s finest.
Obviously a steak is supreme, but the mark of good quality cattle for me is when even the less favoured cuts – shin, chuck and brisket – are delicious. Try in a stew like this.