“Each year, once I smell those aromatic spices in late November – that to me is the first tell tale sign, its almost Christmas” – Hugh Maguire.
In the first two weeks of November, the silverside or topside of beef is cured by Hugh or William in Ashbourne. They cure the beef for almost 48 hours. Then they dry marinate the cured beef in our signature spiced beef recipe. The recipe is a beautiful blend of spices , that has been passed down through generations.
The cured beef is brought to the boil and simmered slowly and is a perfect addition to the Christmas dinner plate OR what Hugh prefers to do – is prepare and serve it up on Christmas eve with some wholegrain mustard on home made brown bread. The smell itself will leave your mouth watering.
Where did spiced beef come from?
This unique Irish tradition stemmed from the passing of goods around the Irish docklands.
Throughout Ireland, but especially in Cork, cargo ships coming from the UK stopping off in Cork would stop off for provisions in Cove before setting off for the USA. On stopping off they would trade spices and preservative methods such as the curing of beef.The cut of beef was preserved in salt and spices for the long journeys ahead. Cured with salt and seasoned with pimento , cloves and other signature spices.
Exact recipes are closely guarded secrets!
There are various recipes to be found in Ireland throughout Irish butchers. The final recipe depends on the butchers own taste, as to what spices he/she prefers!Ours is slightly sweet tasting with perfect amount of salt from the cure to balance it out. We love taste of cloves and pimento in ours and so too do our customers!