Delectable Dexter delights

by Gazette Reporter

Brioche in Ranelagh will celebrate the unique qualities of Dexter beef with a special tasting event designed to showcase every aspect of this native Irish breed on October 9.
Earlier this year chef patron of Brioche restaurant in Ranelagh, Gavin McDonagh, took a trip to north Donegal to see Cathy and Sam Dill’s herds of Dexter cattle in their native environment, and decided to put on a taster evening in Brioche.
The Dills have been farming Dexters since 2009 and now have one of the largest herds in the country. The cattle are 100% pasture reared, eating tough grasses and herbs that are found on fields exposed to the Atlantic winds.
Six weeks before the tasting evening, a Dexter will be slaughtered by the Dills and hung for 36 days before being delivered to Brioche for cooking.
Starting with a selection of canapes including beef fingers with hazelnut emulsion and beef tartare, guests will then enjoy courses that include carpaccio, oyster and horseradish and shin and oxtail raviolo, roast parsnip and cognac consomme, parsnip crisps and puree. Other courses include a beautiful braised shoulder of beef, sauerkraut, potato dumpling, shallot and wild mushroom. Even the dessert will incorporate Dexter beef.
Described as having a rich, nutty taste and ‘sweeter’ than other beef, living a stress-free life on grass, meadow plants and leaves, Dexter cattle produce a tasty, tender beef, rich in omega 3s and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and antioxidants and low in saturated fat.
The Dexter breed virtually disappeared in Ireland during the 1940s due to changes in farming practices but has been making a comeback, and is now seen more often on the grasslands and in the climate for which it was specifically bred.
Brioche’s modern tasting menus showcase the very best of Irish produce using classic French techniques in beautifully composed and carefully crafted dishes. Chef Gavin McDonagh selects only the very best in-season produce from hand-picked producers and suppliers to ensure flavour is always at a maximum.
The Celebration of Dexter Beef takes place on October 9 in Brioche restaurant in Ranelagh, and will cost €65 per person, with matching wines for €35. To book call (01) 497 9163.

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