Are you someone who always buys the best cuts of meat as they are quick to cook, already tender and full of flavour? I have to say that I often am that man, but when I have the time I like to do the opposite and buy the cheapest cuts of meat and spend time making them as good and often better than their pricier cousins.
Cheap cuts of meat tend to be full of fibres which mean that any form of quick heating will leave them tough and near on inedible. High prices are driven by demand and in today’s fast paced life people don’t have time to work on a piece of meat to improve the flavour. In my mind that is what Sunday is made for.
Yesterday I was at Borough Market in Central London. It is my favourite market in the world. Throngs of people mill around food stalls bursting with wonderful fare. The place to buy meat is Aireys which is marketed as Cumbrian Speciality Meats. The only stall to have rare breed beef and lamb from the Lake District I always buy a selection as for some reason the flavour of the fat in their meats seems superior to anything I have bought before. It isn’t expensive either. I bought a mix of diced shoulder and leg from Hardwick lamb and some Galloway Beef Shin. I added a bit of topside for fun.
I’m going to throw all of it into tonight’s stew. I’ll cook it for 4 hours on a slow heat and all of those tough fibres will melt, the flavour of the fat will seep out into the sauce making it stickly and rich. The meat will fall apart with a flick of a fork and will dissolve in my mouth.
In life there are supposedly no real bargains. I disagree. There are cuts of meat like shin which are as good as the most expensive beef and at a fraction of the price. When you next have a free afternoon this winter give it a go…..and if you can get to Aireys in Borough Market you will not regret it and you will have enough money left for a pint in the Market Porter. Look them both up!