Boiled Beef with Lentils and Fennel

A delicious way of using pickled beef. The fennel’s aniseed flavour goes particularly well with the brisket and you can make the lentils as spicy as you wish.


  • 1.5kg/3lb brisket or silverside for preparation
  • 450g/1 lb brown lentils
  • 3 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2.5cm/1 in piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped or ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 chilli, finely chopped
  • 1.2 litres/2 pints water
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2–4 (450g/1 lb) fennel heads
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


Soak the lentils according to their instructions. Drain well. Melt the ghee in a saucepan and fry the onions and the ginger. Add the lentils, mix in the turmeric and chilli. Add the water, bring to the boil and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes (adding more water if necessary) until the lentils are tender. Drain off any excess liquid, add a squeeze of lemon and season to taste.

Trim the fennel and cut in half. Put in a sealed pan with the oil, salt and pepper, cover tightly and cook over a medium flame for 10-15 minutes until tender. Cut the fennel in half again and add to the lentils. Slice the beef and serve on a bed of vegetables.