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Savor Explores The Edibles (And More) We Get From Yaks


Ask most people what their favorite food is, there's an excellent chance that no one will say "yak."

Firebird Farms near Ashland is working to change that, raising a herd of 180 yak on the hills above the valley. They produce meat, milk, and fiber and provide less environmental impact than standard American cattle.

Will Smith latched onto Firebird Farms as a subject for this month's edition of Savor, our food segment.

Will brings in Sophia Weiss, who leads the farm, to talk about the business and the food produced.

Yak Filet Sauté
1 yak filet (mine was 2 ¾ pounds) cut into 6 dinner medallions.
About 7oz a piece, you can stretch to 8 as an appetizer portion.
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs chopped Rosemary to flavor oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large 10-12” skillet heat the pan over medium heat, add oil, rosemary and fit the medallions into pan, sear over all sides and edges until a bit brown.
Remove medallions from sauté pan onto a half sheet pan.
Place in oven about 3-4 minutes on each side.
Remove from oven and place medallions on plate to rest 10-15 minutes.

Will's Notes:
Yes it’s a lot of finesse, but when you are dealing with a really lean meat you must adjust your technique. This is not beef. There is little fat and because of this you need to be attentive.
Season with salt and pepper.
This meat is very delicate, not gamey at all. Take your time and fully savor this beautiful meat.

I loved this filet and also tried the ground chuck for burgers. Again with the burger you do not want to overcook this meat is very, very lean, sear on both sides and finish in oven until medium rare about 5 minutes for a half pound burger. The flavor is sublime, delicate and unlike anything I have tasted.

This is a very healthful alternative to beef, high in omega 3’s, as lean or more than a chicken breast, high in iron, low in cholesterol.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Nash Bennett is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.