Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves at least


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Unless you happen to live permanently on an Indian reservation or are one of the charcoal burners from Swallows and Amazons, there is not a lot of point in cooking this dish outside because it takes several hours and I reckon that the Martinis would have run out long before it was ready, leaving your guests sprawled out in a stupor over your bijou terrace. So this is a hearth dish. A winter dish. You can sit around the glowing embers sipping mulled wine while a gentle vapour whispers through the ill-fitting lid of the ancient marmite that sits snug against the chimney breast and the odours of beef and wine and wood float deliciously around.


  • 2 lb (900 g) shin of beef cut into thick slices about 3 in (7.5 cm) square
  • 4 oz (110 g) chopped fat and lean bacon
  • 3 onions, each stuck with 1 clove
  • 2 small carrots, cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 1 calf’s foot
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tablespoon lard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig of celery head
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • 1 pint (570 ml) strong red wine


For the first stage you can use the hob in the kitchen. Melt the lard and oiive oil in a large pan. Add the bacon and let it fry for a while. Then add the meat, season with salt and pepper and let it brown a little.

Transfer the meat and bacon to your earthenware cooking pot and keep the fat in the frying pan. Add all the other ingredients, except the orange zest and wine, and fry gently for 5 minutes or till they are all well coated in oil and have just started to colour. Then tip the lot over the beef.

Add the orange zest and red wine and place the pot at the back and to the side of the log fire and go about your business. I suggest that you start cooking the dish in the early afternoon for eating at, say, 8 p.m.

NB Do try and take the trouble to order a calf’s foot from your butcher - it enriches the dish beyond compare.