Friday, February 19, 2016
Boiled beef is a traditional English dish which used to be eaten by working-class people in London; however, its popularity has decreased in recent years. Traditionally, cheaper cuts of meat were used, because boiling makes the meat more tender than roasting. It was usually cooked with onions and served with carrots and boiled potatoes. It was not uncommon for the beef to be salted in a brine for a few days, then soaked overnight to remove excess salt before it was boiled. In other parts of England cabbage replaced carrots.
This dish gave rise to the old cockney song Boiled Beef and Carrots which is still sung in some East London pubs when they have a pianist and singsong night.
Boiled beef is also a traditional Jewish dish served in many homes and Jewish delis alike. It is usually flank steak boiled and served with vegetables, broth, and sometimes matzo balls.
Put the meat in a pot big enough for the vegetables too. Cover with cold water. The meat must be fully submerged. Bring to the boil, skim the froth and add the parsley, the celery, one carrot, one onion, the bay leaves, the peppercorns and a big pinch of salt. Then reduce to a very gentle simmer for about four hours. After three hours, add the rest of the carrots.
After about 3½ hours, prod the meat with a knife to see how it is doing: it should be very tender. Check the vegetables too: they should be soft, but not too soft – if they are, remove them until the meat is done.