Poached Capon, Salt Beef and Ox Tongue

with Mustard and Parsley Sauce


We salt our own beef, but butchers also have good salted beef and salted ox tongue.


  • 1 small salted ox tongue
  • 1.5 kg/3 lb salted brisket
  • 12 onions, chopped
  • 14 large carrots
  • 14 celery sticks
  • 4 leeks
  • 2 faggots of herbs, e.g. bay leaves and sprigs of thyme and parsley, tied with string
  • 24 peppercorns
  • 1 capon or, if unavailable, 1 large chicken
  • smoked bacon trimmings
  • 6 fat garlic cloves (optional)
  • 125 g/4 oz French or runner beans, blanched, to serve

Mustard and Parsley Sauce

  • 15 g/½ oz butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 150 ml/¼ pint white wine vinegar
  • 300 ml/½ pint white wine
  • 300 ml/½ pint double cream
  • 400 ml/14 fl oz capon stock (see method)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • leaves from 1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley


Desalinate the ox tongue and salted brisket by soaking in a bowl of cold water overnight, changing the water at least once. Drain and place both meats in a large stockpot with 1 chopped onion, 2 carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 2 leeks, a faggot of herbs and 12 peppercorns, with water to cover. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and poach slowly for about 2½ hours, until done. The ox tongue is ready when it slips off a carving fork (don’t forget to peel it after it’s cooked) and the salt beef is ready when it’s tender to a carving fork.

Place the capon in a deep pan, cover with water, add the bacon trimmings with 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped sticks of celery, 2 chopped leeks, a faggot of herbs and 12 peppercorns. Bring to the boil, uncovered, simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Cover. When cool, remove the capon from the liquid and remove the legs and breast. Replace the bones in the liquid, simmer for about 45 minutes, then strain the stock into a rinsed pan and discard the solids. Poach the remaining vegetables in the stock until tender.

To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan, add the shallots and cook until softened but not coloured. Add the vinegar, bring gently to the boil and reduce until dry. Add the white wine and reduce to a quarter, then add the cream and 400 ml/14 fl oz of the capon stock. Bring to the boil, taste and adjust the seasoning, then whisk in the mustard to taste (not too strong). Add the parsley, place in a liquidizer or food processor and purée until smooth.

Reheat the meat, vegetables and French or runner beans in capon stock, reheat the sauce without boiling, and serve.