Beef with Raisin Sauce

The original recipe given to me (by Allan’s mum, again) was with tongue, which is boiled up a few times in water and vinegar. I have used beef, but you can use any meat suitable for boiling. You will only need a couple of cupfuls of the cooking liquid here to make the raisin sauce, but you can save the rest of the broth and serve it with some small pasta as a starter.


  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) topside, blade or silverside beef
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
  • about 8 whole peppercorns


  • 10 g (¼ oz) butter
  • 20 g (1 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
  • 1 large pinch ground chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 90 g (3 oz) plump raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pouring (single) cream


Put the beef in a large heavy-based saucepan with the onion, celery, carrot and peppercorns. Add about 4 litres (16 cups) of water, season with salt and bring to the boil. Skim the surface of any scum, cover with a lid and simmer for about 2½ hours or until the meat is really soft. Check the water level occasionally and add a little more if it looks like it needs it. Remove from the heat.

To make the sauce, pat the butter in the flour and put in a small saucepan. Add 625 ml ( cups) of the beef broth, the lemon juice, sugar, chilli, cinnamon and cloves, whisk well and then add the raisins. Heat through until it thickens a bit and then add the cream. Heat until it starts to bubble.

Slice the meat fairly thickly and serve immediately with the hot raisin sauce spooned over.