corned beef

Corned / Salt Beef

Corned beef gets its unique flavour and texture by first soaking in a salt bath and then being gently poached. It’s terribly old fashioned, but this is a very good version.

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus soaking time
Cooking time: 3 hours
Serves 6

1.5–2 kg piece corned or salt beef (silverside)
2 onions, peeled and quartered
3 carrots, cut into 5 cm pieces
2 bay leaves
1 stick celery
handful of parsley stalks
6–8 whole black peppercorns
1/2 star anise (optional, but good)

To serve
12 small carrots
12 small potatoes, scrubbed
1 small cabbage, halved, core removed and cut into 4 cm wedges
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
mustard-flavoured mayonnaise (see note below)

Soak the corned beef in a very large saucepan of cold water for 3–4 hours (or up to 12 hours). Drain, return the beef to the saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh cold water.

Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves, celery, parsley stalks, peppercorns and star anise, if using. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer very gently for 2 1/2 hours. Check every now and then and skim the fat from the surface. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and discard. Leave the beef in the poaching liquid and chill until needed.

3 To serve, strain  the poaching liquid into a large saucepan or deep saute pan and bring to the boil. Add the carrots, potatoes and cabbage and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. Slice the beef into 1 cm thick pieces and add to the liquid. Simmer until heated through.

4 Transfer the beef to large pasta bowls and surround with the vegetables. Ladle on a little hot poaching liquid and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with a dollop of mustard-flavoured mayonnaise.

Really useful …
To make mustard mayonnaise, stir 1–2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon lemon juice into 250 ml homemade or good-quality bought mayonnaise. Taste and add extra mustard to suit your taste.

Corned beef is easily reheated. Save some poaching liquid and simmer the beef in the liquid until warmed through. Cook any fresh vegetables in a separate pan of boiling salted water.

pot roast chicken

Pot Roast Chicken

2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 rashers streaky unsmoked bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 leeks, washed and sliced into rounds
2kg chicken
300ml chicken stock
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaves
8 small carrots, scrubbed

Preheat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Heat the oil in a large, heatproof casserole dish over medium heat and cook the bacon, garlic and leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until the leeks has softened.

Add the chicken to the casserole, breast-side up, and pour in the stock to a depth of 2cm . Tuck in the thyme, bay leaf and  season the chicken with a little salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil or with a lid, and cook in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Remove the lid add the carrots and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken and vegetables to a warm dish. Skim any fat off the pan juices. Remove the thyme and bay leaves and transfer the sauce to a jug. Serve the chicken and vegetables with the sauce. Serves 4-6

beef goulash paprika

Beef Goulash

It is the special flavour of paprika that sets aside a proper goulash. Paprika is made by drying and grinding the sweet and hot peppers grown around Hungary. It’s much milder than cayenne pepper and has a characteristic sweetness. Its flavour varies from mild to pretty robust; its main purpose is to add flavour and colour, more than heat. Look for paprika that is labelled ‘noble sweet’.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 11/4 hours
Serves 4

3 tablespoons plain flour
1 kg rump or chuck steak or lean beef, cut into 2 cm cubes
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries, crushed
500 ml beef or chicken stock (or 500 ml water and 1 stock cube)
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Tabasco sauce
chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve
sour cream, to serve

Place the flour in a clean plastic bag. Shake a few pieces of meat in the bag until lightly dusted. Repeat until all the pieces of meat are coated.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the beef in batches until browned, adding a little extra oil if needed. Be careful not to overcrowd the frying pan, as the meat will then steam rather than sear. Transfer to a large casserole dish or lidded saucepan.

Add a little more oil to the frying pan if necessary and cook the onion over low heat until tender. Add the onion, paprika, bay leaf and allspice to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and simmer gently for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.

Mix the cornflour with 50 ml cold water and add to the casserole with the tomato paste and a dash or two of Tabasco sauce. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until it thickened slightly. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with sour cream.


Boiled egg noodles dressed with a little butter, chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper make a tasty accompaniment to goulash.

‘Pulled’ Lamb and ‘Pulled’ Pork

image Martin Poole

These delicious recipes work really well with the cheaper, awkward cuts like shoulder (or hand of pork). The slow cooking leaves you with meltingly tender meat that is then ‘pulled’ off the bone (or shredded) with forks.

‘Pulled’ Shoulder of Lamb (pictured)

2tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp Cumin seed
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
About 1.5-2kg lamb shoulder on the bone

To serve
1/2 cup chopped fresh Flat leaf parsley and fresh mint
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
4 Anchovy fillets chopped
2 tsp Capers
Finely grated zest 1 lemon

Combine the olive oil, spices, 1 tsp sea salt and rosemary.
Trim any excess fat from the lamb and rub the spice mixture into the
meat. Marinate for up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 140C. Place the lamb in a roasting tray. Put about
1cm boiling water in the bottom of the tray and cover with foil (or a lid).
Roast for about 5 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Check every
hour and top up the water when needed.

Rest the meat then shred or pull the meat off the bone.
Stir the chopped parsley, mint, garlic, anchovy, capers and lemon zest
through the shredded meat and serve immediately. Serves 6

Chinese-style ‘Pulled Pork’

1.5 – 2kg shoulder of pork
125ml (1/2 cup) hoisin sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing wine
2 tbsp runny honey
1/2 tsp ground five spice
1 tsp ground fresh ginger
3 spring onions. sliced

Combine the hoisin, soy sauce, shaoxing honey, five spice and ginger.
Brush the mixture over the shoulder. Marinate for up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 140C. Place the pork in a roasting tray.
Put about 1cm boiling water in the bottom of the tray and cover with
foil (or a lid). Roast for about 5 hours, or until the meat is very
tender. Check every hour and top up the water when needed.

Rest the meat then shred or pull the meat off the bone.
Stir through the spring onion and serve immediately. Serves 6