This is a North Country recipe from the early nineteenth century. The tradition in the household was that the dish had been prepared in the past by their parsimonious ancestors for the hay-making supper for tenants, because part of an old ox which had been kept to work all winter could be used, since the beer helped to tenderize the meat. The tenants liked the taste of the beer and considered the dish a grand one.
Pile the onions on top of the beef and marinate 12 hours or overnight in all the other ingredients except the ale. Spoon the liquid over the meat from time to time.
Then put the meat, onions and marinade in a very large saucepan and fill up with beer to cover. Simmer very gently for 3 hours, check seasoning and serve with boiled potatoes, red or baked cabbage, and a sweet chutney.
©1975 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton