Spiced Beef Sandwiches

March 12, 2021

Spiced beef is more of a Christmas/New Years tradition in Ireland, but I thought it would be fun to include here. I mean, I don’t think there are any Spiced Beef Police who would take you into custody if they saw you serving it on St. Patrick’s Day. It is always served cold, cut in thin slices, and often accompanied by brown bread & mustard or chutney. Here I’m serving it as little two bite, quartered sandwiches on that Honey-Oat Pain de Mie I just told you about, slathered with spicy mustard.

So what, you may ask, is spiced beef? Spiced Beef, or Mairteoil Spíosraithe in Irish, is sort of the cousin of Corned Beef or Pastrami I suppose. Basically it is beef which has been marinated for a week, or perhaps longer, in spices such as juniper berry, allspice, brown sugar and pepper and cured with some kosher salt and Sel Rose or curing salt. Many older recipes call for salt petre to do the curing, but that may be difficult to obtain due to its use in explosives. The Sel Rose or Prague Powder as it is sometimes called is what gives the finished beef such a rosy pink color. This spice marinated beef is then cooked in Guinness or a similar stout. In Ireland, come the Holiday season, you will see Spiced Beef in many butcher shop windows. Now a days it is not often cured at home, but purchased ready to cook. Each butcher’s recipe for the spice mixture/curing time is slightly different, which results in a lively debate about exactly whose is the best.

There is also a bit of a debate about where this dish originated. The author of the cookbook I cite below claims it is a Dublin tradition, (I believe he is from Dublin) whereas I was always told it was a Cork tradition (I went to university in Cork), so I’m not sure. But Chef Armstrong does mention that he remembers eating these spiced beef sandwiches on white bread with spicy English mustard after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I had just baked a gorgeous loaf of Honey-Oat Pain de Mie, which I told you about a couple of days ago and it worked out perfectly.

I think these sandwiches would do nicely along with a pint or two…And just think, maybe next year we can actually go out for some St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivities. You could whip these up ahead of time and have them waiting for when you stumble back home. Or perhaps you can serve them at Christmas. You’ll have plenty of time to gather your ingredients. Keep these tasty nibbles in mind for whichever Holiday strikes your fancy.

Spiced Beef Sandwiches

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy - but remember to allow yourself enough time for the beef to marinate
  • Print

recipe from: My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland & Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn

Ingredients:

  • 2 packed Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dublin Spice (see below)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pink curing salt, such as Sel Rose or Insta Cure #1
  • 3 lb. eye of round roast
  • 1 bottle Guinness
  • Pain de Mie or Sandwich Bread of your choice
  • English Mustard for serving

Directions:

Season the beef:

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, spices, kosher salt and curing salt. With your hands, rub the spice mix all over the meat, creating a thick coating. Place the meat in a 2 gallon zip-top bag. Refrigerate for 1 week, rolling the meat around in the accumulated juices once per day.

Cook the beef:

Transfer the meat to a pot. Do not rinse the spices off. Pour the bottle of Guinness over it and add enough water that the meat is covered. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours, or until fork tender, but not completely falling apart. Remove the beef fro the heat and let it cool completely in its cooking liquid. Drain the meat and place in a clean storage container. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Tightly wrapped beef can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serve the dish: Spread the bread slices with mustard and make sandwiches with the thinly sliced beef.

Enjoy!

***Dublin Spice: In a spice grinder, grind 2 Tablespoons of juniper berries into a fine powder. Transfer to a small bowl and combine with 3 Tablespoons ground black pepper, 2 Tablespoons ground allspice and 2 Tablespoons ground cloves. This will make about 1/2 cup – more than you need for this recipe. It can be stored in an airtight container for us to 3 months.

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Spiced Beef Sandwiches:

Pure Prague Powder #1

Coleman’s Original English Mustard

Cuisinart Spice & Nut Grinder

My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve


Irish Onion Soup with Irish Cheddar Soda Bread Croutons

March 6, 2014

IMG_6329

I don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but around here there is really no sign of Spring. That groundhog varmint was right and we have been firmly in the grip of an arctic vortex with temperatures lower than they have any right to go here in the supposed southern state of Virginia. The latest go round of snow and frigid temps really had me craving a big bowl of French Onion soup. But since St. Patrick’s Day is nigh, I decided to Irish it up a bit. Just how do you do that you might ask. Well, how about adding in a splash or two of Irish Whiskey (you know my brand by now right – Jameson’s) and a glug or so of Irish Stout.

IMG_6289

This is where I’m going to get a little tricky on you though. I know a veritable river of Guinness has been flowing out of my kitchen lately. It is the Irish stout that is most widely known and I’m a fan. However, I went to college in Cork, Ireland and in that part of the country, Guinness is not King. Murphy’s Irish Stout– aka The Rebel Stout holds court there. You see Murphy’s Stout is similar to Guinness but a bit less heavy and with fewer bitter notes. It has been brewed in Cork since 1856. Why is it called “The Rebel Stout”? That has to do with its County Cork origins. Historically, Cork has been known as the Rebel County, a name it acquired due to the prominent role it played in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) as well as the fact that it was an anti-treaty stronghold during the Irish Civil War (1922-23). Murphy’s Irish Stout is widely distributed outside of Ireland and you could likely easily find it at your local grocery, especially this close to St. Patrick’s Day. Next time you see it, grab some and give it a taste. You could even do a stout tasting with Guinness, Murphy’s and a few of your local brews. Sounds like fun huh? But I guess I should get back to this soup. Having spent all that time in Cork, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t give Murphy’s a shout out.

IMG_7012

I used it for this Irish Onion soup and I couldn’t have been more pleased! The malty notes from the Murphy’s Irish Stout gave this soup quite a rich and deep flavour. Yet, it still wasn’t quite Irish-y enough for me. So instead of topping my onion soup with the usual toasted french baguette slice, I baked up some mini Irish soda bread loaves which I split in half and used in lieu of the french standard.

IMG_6112

IMG_6231

Topped with grated Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese, you have a crouton worthy of this hearty Irish Onion Soup. guaranteed to warm you on the most polar vortex-y of days.

IMG_6296

Irish Onion Soup

recipe adapted from: The Fox & She

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium yellow onions, sliced in rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup Irish Whiskey (Jameson!)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • Pinch kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 cup Stout Beer, Murphys or Guinness
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 12 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Thick slices Irish Soda Bread (recipe to follow)
  • grated Irish Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter, cook onions over medium to medium-low heat for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Add whiskey, flour and pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add Murphy’s (or Guinness) and simmer until reduced by 1/3, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, thyme, pepper and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove thyme sprigs.

Ladle into oven safe bowl and top with 1/2 of mini soda bread loaf and grated irish cheddar. Place under the broiler until cheese is bubbly and toast is browned. Be Careful! Some broiler are nuclear hot and will burn everything to a cinder if you turn your back for a second! (If you can’t do the broiler thing, just toast the soda bread, melt cheese over the top and then add to irish soup.)

Mini Irish Soda Breads

recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour

yield: 6 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour (9 3/4 ounces) *
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups (10 5/8 ounces) buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • flaked sea salt
  • melted salted butter to brush top of loaves

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, a pastry fork or blender, or your fingers, cut in the butter until it is evenly distributed and no large chunks remain.

In a separate bowl (or in a measuring cup) whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. The dough will be stiff; if it’s too crumbly to squeeze together, add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk.

Knead the dough a couple of times to make sure it’s holding together. If you are making individual mini loaves, divide into 6 equal sized pieces. ( 5 ounces each).  Shape each it into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross, extending all the way to the edges, atop each loaf.

Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Enjoy!

* If you don’t have time to order your King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour and you aren’t in Ireland with immediate access to Irish Wholemeal Flour, you can substitute in 10 ounces of King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour

**Recipe will also make 1 large loaf of Irish Soda Bread if you would rather not be bothered with the mini loaves 🙂


%d bloggers like this: