English Spiced Beef

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“This was one of the great Victorian Christmas season dishes; the perfect centre piece for a cold supper buffet. A neat round joint of silverside or topside is the best for this kind of dish.”
6 lb

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Saltpeter is a necessary preservative when curing meat and also adds a pleasing red color otherwise the beef will turn out a murky grey.
  2. Rub the meat all over with the sugar and put it in a pot with a lid for 2 days. Leave it in a cool place, turning and rubbing the meat occasionally with the sticky liquor that develops.
  3. Crush the peppercorns, juniper and allspice with a pestle and mortar and mix with the salt and saltpeter.
  4. Rub this mixture well into the meat and leave it in the pot for a further 9 days. Turn the meat and rub the pickling mixture into the flesh daily.
  5. When the pickling is complete, remove the beef and rub off any excess spices adhering to the surface. Do not rinse it.
  6. Wrap the meat in cooking foil [the Victorians used suet] and put into a large ovenproof pot. Add about 10 fl oz water, cover the pot with a double layer of foil and fit the lid on tightly.
  7. Preheat the oven to 275 deg F.
  8. Bake the meat slowly allowing 45 min per lb.
  9. When the meat is cooked, remove the pot and set aside until it is quite cold.
  10. Unwrap the meat, drain off any excess liquid and place on a board.
  11. Cover with foil, put a weight on it and leave for at least 24 hr.
  12. Carve the meat into thin slices and serve with anything from good mustard to pickled kumquats.

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