Spiced beef with fruity chutney
Traditional spiced beef makes the perfect contrast to turkey and it's great to have on standby for quick meals and substantial party snacks.
Spiced beef can be prepared at home, but good butchers offer their own house versions; this makes a good investment at such a busy time, and the cooking is then very simple.
YOU WILL NEED
2½-3kg/3-4lb joint spiced beef
Place the beef in a deep casserole dish as near to its size as possible. Add 250ml/½pt water and cover tightly. Cook the beef in a very low oven — 140°C /275°F — for five hours. Leave the joint to cool in its liquid for two to three hours, then remove and wrap it in tinfoil. Store in the fridge until you need it, and then slice thinly to serve with salads or make up into bite-size canapés using brown bread and a fruity chutney.
For the Fruity Chutney This apricot-and-almond chutney is equally good served with spiced beef or a wedge of farmhouse cheese. Presented prettily with a handwritten label, it makes a lovely small gift too. Makes 1 litre/1¾ pints.
YOU WILL NEED
450g/1lb dried apricots, chopped
(no-soak apricots are very convenient)
225g/8oz brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
500ml/18fl oz wine vinegar
1 cooking apple, chopped
2 tbsps fresh root ginger, grated
½ tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
75g/3oz almonds, blanched and roughly chopped
Dash of Tabasco and salt Mix all of the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved, and then simmer for about an hour (don't overcook). Spoon into warmed, sterilised jars and seal immediately. Stored in a cool dark place, the chutney will improve with keeping.