We used to always have spiced beef at Christmas when I was small. I always haaaated it. To me it was like a weird mix of Christmas pudding spices and Sunday roast. Why??! Such a weird combination. But this year I found myself drawn to it. I had to have spiced beef. O'Farrells Butchers in Midleton, Cork are brilliant and they always have gorgeous cuts of meat and can do anything with it for you. I was going into them last week for lamb shoulder and as I came in they were hanging up a sign saying 'All Ireland Spiced Beef Champions 2009' and it just hit me. Like in a film. I had to get spiced beef. But theirs wasn't ready yet as they were doing a big batch to send to this years Spiced Beef Championships so I had to go without.
Then on Saturday I went to O'Flynns Butchers on Marlboro Street in Cork and there she was. The last bit of spiced beef. They also gave handouts of how to cook your beef. And the butcher said ' Don't over cook it and then use it like Pastrami'. With his words ringing in my ears I cooked the beef and made a batch of massive sandwiches with cucumber, tomato & cold mayonnaise. Traditionally it'd be eaten with white sauce, boiled potatoes and cabbage etc. but the pastrami advice was the best ever.
The Directions on the leaflet:
Place the meat in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook gently for 20-25 mins per lb. Allow to cool. (I remember the spiced beef boiling away for hours when I was small but the piece I cooked only took 40 mins!)
Serve cold cut into thin slices.
Spiced beef can also be roasted for 20-25 mins per lb. This method gives the meat a spicier flavour.
Of course you can also spice your own beef but I think it's best left to the professionals and I'm happy to just support my local butcher with this one! (ie. I'll try and make it myself next year!)