Beef Recipes

November 2021 – BELTIE BEEF, GUINESS AND ONION PIE (serves 6)

A chunky, succulent pie made from Beltie beef shin, with lashings of onions, a Guinness gravy and an optional surprise under the crust. Winter comfort food at its finest, another recipe in our collaboration with Linda Duffin of Mrs Portly’s Kitchen.


Approx 500g shin of beef, trimmed and cut into 3cm/1.5″ dice

2 or 3 tbsp oil (I used Hill Farm’s cold-pressed rapeseed)

500g red or yellow onions, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced thinly

2 sticks of celery, trimmed, de-stringed and diced small

2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp plain flour

300ml stout (I used Guinness)

700ml beef stock

2 bay leaves

2 sheets of ready-made puff pastry, preferably all-butter

About 140g of waxy potatoes, pre-cooked and cooled (optional)

1 egg, beaten with a splash of water, to glaze


Turn the oven to 180C/160 fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof casserole and brown the beef all over. Remove to a plate.

Add the onions, celery and garlic, sprinkle with salt and 1/2 tspn sugar, stir, put on a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes until wilted. Remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes until the onions are soft and caramelised. Stir occasionally and watch they don’t burn towards the end of the cooking time.

Put the meat back in the pan along with any juices on the plate. Stir in the flour and cook off for a minute or two. Add the stout followed by the beef stock, stirring until the sauce has thickened.

Put on a lid and cook in the oven for 2- 2 1/2 hours. Ovens vary, so check after an hour and a half to two hours and add more stock if it’s drying out. Continue to cook until the beef is tender, by which time the sauce should be very thick, dark and rich. If it isn’t, reduce it by simmering on the stove.

While the meat is in the oven, cook the potatoes, if using, until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

When the meat is done, check the seasoning, spoon into a bowl and cool. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight.

Next day (or once the filling is completely cold) remove the puff pastry and pie filling from the fridge. Give them 20 minutes to come to room temperature and heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Lay one sheet of puff pastry on a baking sheet and cover with the filling, leaving a 7.5cm/3″ margin. Slice the potatoes fairly thinly, if using, and lay them over the beef. Brush the margin with water and lay the second sheet of pastry on top. Crimp tightly to prevent any leakage.

Score a criss-cross pattern on top without cutting all the way through the pastry and cut a slit in the centre to let steam escape. Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden and the filling is piping hot. If the filling needs more time, cover the pie loosely with kitchen foil to prevent the pastry burning.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. I like it with a crisp green salad and/or coleslaw. Any leftovers are just as good, cold (but not fridge cold), with pickles and chutney on the side. 

November 2021 – BELTIE BORSCHT (serves 4 as a main, 6+ as a starter)

This is a chunky, nourishing, main course soup, a sort of East Anglian borscht with oxtail and pearl barley, another recipe in a new collaboration with Linda Duffin of Mrs Portly’s Kitchen.

It  is best begun the day before to allow the flavours to develop.

Although the quantity of stock seems large, you’ll need it as the pearl barley will soak up a considerable amount as it swells. Use a big pan!

Serve with crusty rye bread and a bowl of sour cream for diners to dollop into their soup.


750-800g oxtail, jointed

1 tbsp oil (I use cold-pressed rapeseed oil)

1 large onion, peeled and diced

2 sticks of celery, trimmed and diced

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp tomato paste

150ml red wine

1.5 litres of beef stock

Bouquet garni of bay leaves, thyme sprigs and parsley stalks

2 small to medium beetroot, peeled and chunkily diced

2 carrots, peeled and chunkily diced

50g-75g pearl barley (check it doesn’t need pre-soaking)

2 tbsp cider vinegar

Parsley leaves (or dill), roughly chopped

To garnish: sour cream


Add the oil to a large, heavy-based pan and brown the oxtail on all sides. You won’t need much oil as more fat will render as the meat browns. Remove the oxtail and set aside, then cook the onions and celery, sprinkled with a little salt, until soft and golden.

Scrape a space in the bottom of the pan and add the tomato paste, cooking it off for a minute. Now pour in the red wine and let it sizzle up. Put the beef back in the pan, add the stock and bouquet garni and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover the pan and cook for one and a half to two hours or until the meat is tender and easily comes off the bone.

Remove the oxtail and when it’s cool enough, take the meat off the bones. Place in a bowl, cover and cool. Discard the bones. Refrigerate the beef and soup separately.

Next day, skim off the fat that’s risen to the surface of the soup. Add the beef back into the pan with the pearl barley, carrots and beetroot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, or until the barley, beets and carrots are tender. Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the cider vinegar and parsley (or dill) and serve, with sour cream on the side so everyone can add a dollop to their bowls.

October 2021Carr Farm Beltie Stew with Blue Cheese Dumplings  (serves 4)

Beef, red wine and Stilton – the perfect autumn/winter combination and the first recipe in a new collaboration with Linda Duffin of Mrs Portly’s Kitchen.

The casserole is best made a day ahead but don’t make the dumplings until just before serving.

Ingredients for the stew:

  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon, diced
  • 1kg Carr Farm chuck steak or shin, cut into large bite-sized pieces
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, trimmed, de-stringed and chopped
  • 1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150ml red wine
  • 350-400ml beef stock (a stock cube is fine)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper

For the dumplings (makes 8)

  • 100g self-raising flour
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp suet (veggie or otherwise)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 40g crumbled Stilton
  • Enough milk to make a stiffish but malleable dough


If you’d like to cook the stew in the oven rather than on the stove top (less stirring), heat the oven to 180C/160fan/360F/Gas Mark 4.

Heat the oil in a deep pan and brown the beef in batches. Scoop out and set aside. Add more oil if necessary and add the onions and celery, sprinkled with a little salt. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

Put the beef back in the pan with any meat juices and stir in the flour. Cook gently for a few minutes before adding the red wine. Let it sizzle up, stirring to mix and thicken.

Add the stock and herbs, stir, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Put on a lid and simmer for  1 ½ to 2 hours (shin will take a bit longer than chuck) either on top of the stove, stirring occasionally, or in the pre-heated oven. Check the liquid levels halfway through and top up with stock or water if necessary.

While it’s cooking, fry the mushrooms in the butter and add to the stew when it’s done. Check the seasoning, cool and refrigerate the casserole overnight if you have time. It will improve the flavours. Remove from the fridge at least half an hour before you want to eat, then put it back on the stove and bring up to heat.

To make the dumplings, put the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk gently to mix. Add the suet and chopped parsley and gradually stir in just enough milk to form a stiff but malleable dough. Mix through the crumbled cheese and using floured hands, form into eight balls.

Drop the dumplings into the stew, put the lid back on and cook for around 20 minutes, either at a gentle simmer on the stove or in the oven at the same temperature as before.