In Ireland Happy Christmas is Nollaig Shona. Our Irish Inflight Manager Lyndsay’s family always has spiced beef on Christmas day with the turkey. Here’s a great recipe for you to try:
About 4¼ lb beef bottom round, rump roast, or silverside of beef
½ cup Demerara or light brown sugar
½ cup salt
¾ tsp pink salt (sodium nitrate also called Prague powder)
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
4 Tbsp whole allspice (pimento or Jamaican pepper)
4 Tbsp whole juniper berries
Serve with: Cucumber pickles, Tomato relish
1 Make the spice mixture by grinding all the ingredients (preferably in a spice grinder in a few batches) until fairly fine.
2 To prepare the beef, remove any bones and trim off any large pieces of fat (do keep some of the fat). Place the beef in a large gratin dish and rub the spice into every crevice of the beef. Put into an earthenware dish and leave in the fridge for 3 to 7 days, depending on the thickness of the meat. Turn it occasionally. (This is a dry spice, but after 1 to 2 days some liquid will come out of the meat.) The longer the meat is left in the spice, the longer it will last and the stronger the spiced flavor.
3 Just before cooking the meat, roll and tie the meat neatly with cotton string into a compact shape, place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and simmer for 2 to 3 hours (about 20 minutes per pound) or until soft and cooked. When cooked you should be able to insert a skewer into the center, and the skewer will come out easily.
If you’re serving the beef warm, remove from the liquid, then place on a carving board, cut away the string, and carve into slices to serve. If the beef is to be eaten cold, remove it from the liquid, place in a high-sided pan, such as a roasting pan or gratin dish, cover it with a chopping board, and weigh it down with four or five cans of tomatoes or beans (or something of a similar weight) and leave for 12 hours. After 12 hours, remove the board and weights. It will now keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks. Serve by cutting into very thin slices and serving with cucumber pickle and tomato relish.
Spiced beef is useful to have in the fridge; it lasts for up to 6 weeks and is delicious thinly sliced and served with a little pickle and chutney. This recipe makes enough spice for this amount of beef. But if you have a smaller piece of beef, then use half of the mixture and keep the rest in a jar for 3 months.