The recent revival of a ‘make do and mend’ movement, growing interest in food traceability and rising demand for the return of the brown paper bag (instead of hefty plastic packaging), have all got to be good things.
It’s five years since the horsemeat scandal and vegetarianism and veganism are on the increase. Those who remain meat eaters, as well as flexitarians, (a kind of vegetarian who also eats meat occasionally), are also much more interested in where their food comes from. Generally, people want to know that the vegetables or meat they buy have experienced natural growth, seen the light of day and not been marinated in chemicals.
It’s not just the quality of production that’s at the forefront of people’s minds; there is a real yearning for retro and good old-fashioned comforting dishes too.
Crock-pot cookery and traditional cuts of meat are making a comeback. As our French cousins have always known, slow cooking shin, brisket and other so-called ‘less refined’ cuts doesn’t just deliver on economy – the depths of flavour they bring to the plate are huge.
Whether you’re vegetarian, flexitarian or of another persuasion, this type of cooking saves a lot of time, money and suits busy people too (and those of us who just like mantling about whilst having delicious aromas waft around the house).
So, get your crock-pots and slow cookers out, because whatever the time of the year, flavoured feasts come from long and slow.
One of my favourites is beef shin (with the marrow left in), browned then married with ginger, orange, garlic and white wine (yes, I said white wine), left to slowly bubble for few hours – a soulful, gorgeous dish for any occasion and any season (see accompanying recipe).
Us Lincolnshire folk are spoiled for choice when it comes to lovely natural produce, and, like candlelight, some things are precious, ancient and never lose their appeal!
Prepare by chopping the onions, carrots and celery, and grate the garlic and ginger.
Brown the shin beef on both sides in a heavy based pan, season with salt and pepper. Once browned, remove the beef from the pan and set aside while you fry the carrots, onions and celery until softened. Now add the grated ginger and garlic, fry for a few minutes then add the tomato puree and the juice of the orange. Pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer, then add chicken stock. Bring to a low simmer then place the lid on the pan and cook on low for 3 hours (stirring occasionally).
For slow cooker – just brown the meat on both sides then add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours (check and stir occasionally).