In Yorkshire this dish was often preferred to a harm on occasions when a cold collation was required. If there is cause to prepare a large cold buffet today the three great traditional English cold meats given here, Spiced Beef, Boiled Tongue, and Fillets of Pork in Jelly, miake an excellent combination and are much less usual than chicken or turkey, a ham and a cold roast. They do, of course, require three very large saucepans or kettles and a fairly large cooker-top to themselves for two or three hours.
Get the butcher to bone and trim the beef but not to roll it. Two or three days before the finished dish is required, lay the beef out flat, skin downwards. Rub in most of the salt and sprinkle a snow of remaining salt all over it. Leave overnight and next day drain off all liquid and wipe well, removing all the salt which has not penetrated. Mix together all the herbs and spices and rub into the beef, particularly into the slashes where the bones were removed. Roll up very tightly and tie like a long parcel, the string going round in three or four places. Put in boiling water and boil very gently for 3½ hours, together with the carrots, onions, leeks and celery, and the bones and trimmings.
When cooked, remove and drain well, and lay it under a pastry board with one or two weights on top. Leave to get cold. Put the stock to boil briskly so that it reduces to a strong glaze; from the original 3–4 pints of stock only about 1 pint should remain. When the beef is quite cold, pour the glaze over it, decorating the top with a row of slices of gherkins if liked. It will keep perfectly in the refrigerator for a week, or will deep-freeze perfectly and keep for months.
©1975 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton