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Salt beef with carrots and dumplings

Made at The Ivy | Serves 4

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This dish can be made with other vegetables, such as leeks and turnips, according to what’s in season. Salt beef usually comes as brisket or silverside and is often pre-packed in supermarkets with cooking instructions. Don’t worry about buying too much; it makes a great sandwich with dill, pickles and mustard.

1kg salted silverside or brisket, soaked overnight in cold water
4 small onions, peeled
12 small carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
3 cloves
10 black peppercorns
2 blades of mace
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme

For the dumplings
125g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
60g suet
1tbsp chopped parsley
1tbsp freshly grated horseradish
Water to mix
Salt and pepper

Put the beef into a large saucepan with the rest of the ingredients, cover with water (about 5-6cm above the beef) and bring to the boil. Simmer gently with a lid on for about 3 hours.

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the beef; if it’s pre-packed it will normally state the cooking time. Remove the carrots after about 15 minutes of cooking, depending on their size and the onions after 1 hour, and put to one side.

To make the dumplings, sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add half a teaspoon of salt. Mix in the suet, a pinch of pepper, parsley and horseradish, and then add enough water to form sticky dough. Flour your hands and roll the dough into 12 little balls.

When the beef is cooked remove it from the pan and keep warm. Poach the dumplings in the cooking liquid for 15 minutes, then remove them and put to one side. Strain the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve and return it to the pan, then boil until it has reduced by about half or until it has a good strong flavour. It probably won’t need seasoning as a lot of salt will have come out in the cooking liquor.

To serve, reheat the onions, carrots and dumplings in the reduced cooking liquid, slice the beef and arrange it in a deep plate or bowl with the carrots, onions and dumplings, and spoon over the liquid.

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