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How to cook salt beef


1.5kg cured salt beef brisket (makes around 1.2kg cooked salt beef)
2 medium onions, peeled
2 fresh beetroot, peeled
4 cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
tablespoon of black peppercorns

cloves (to taste)


Rinse the beef under cold water then place the beef in the largest saucepan you have. Cover with cold water, add the beetroot and bring to the boil. As soon as the water is boiling reduce the heat to the lightest simmer. The water should be still, with tiny bubbles on the surface.

After 20 minutes use a strainer to remove any froth from the surface of the water then add the rest of the ingredients to the pan.

Continue to simmer gently for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Test the beef by sliding a fork into the middle of the joint. If there is little resistance, the beef is perfectly tender and ready to serve. At this point turn off the heat and, if ready to serve, place the beef on a serving board and allow to rest for ten minutes.

Be sure to carve across the grain for the tender, melt-in-the-mouth slices.

Serving suggestion

Traditional accompaniments to salt beef include dill pickles (gherkins), cornichons, sauerkraut, English mustard, boiled or mashed potatoes, cabbage and carrots. If served as a sandwich white rye and carroway bread (with no butter) or in a bagel.

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Thanks so much for supplying us with such delicious, nutritious food in 2017. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February this year and have had chemo, surgery and radiotherapy, which I finally finished this morning! During treatment I have had much less energy than usual and so have spent more time at home.

Carmel, EC1

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