Ginger Pig Hungarian Pork Goulash

THERE’S a butcher shop on Moxon Street, in London, called The Ginger Pig.

It’s one of five branches opened in London since 2007.

They only sell meat from rare and traditional breeds, grass-fed, naturally reared, dry-aged and well-hung.

The meat costs more than the perfectly trimmed variety in the local supermarket, but customers of The Ginger Pig want to eat less, better meat and will pay for it.

They want the cheapest cuts and enjoy cooking them in the time-honoured way, some slowly but others, like bavette, fast.

This cut is the new ‘lamb shank’ and is on every cool menu in London — it’s sometimes called onglet.

It is marinated, then pan-grilled fast and cut across the grain while rare and juicy.

It has a fantastically beefy taste so often missing from the ‘choice’ cuts like fillet or tenderloin.

In New York, new butcher shops continue to open. On my last visit, I popped into Dickerson’s butcher shop in Chelsea Market, Meat Hook and Marlow and Daughters in Brooklyn.

They have the same ethos of humanely raised, pasture-fed, free-range meat.

The butchers also have the skills to make pâté, terrines, pies, rillettes, and salumi, so they can use every single scrap of the animal, which every butcher knows is the difference between profit and loss — the jam on the sandwich.

Beef dripping and lard are sold proudly, and, believe me, lard, and not just any old lard, is the next big thing but the pigs must be the traditional breeds, Red Duroc, Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Saddleback with a decent layer of good, nourishing fat.

Most of these butcher shops also offer butchery classes, all of which are oversubscribed.

They also sell free-range organic chickens, reared for at least 75 days and often more than 100 days, depending on the breed.

No dodgy chicken fillets, of no fixed abode, tossed in sweet-and-sour sauce or patent spices heightened with flavour enhancers.

In Ireland, we can produce outstanding meat, but we need to separate the wheat from the chaff, tell the story and have the courage to charge more.

On top of the counter of The Ginger Pig there were three ribs of beef; one dry-aged and hung for 35 to 40 days, a second for 30 days and the third for 27 to 28 days.

Each had a dark crust on the cut side that was typical of well-aged meat and The Ginger Pig’s customers understand this, and are happy to pay extra for it because of the flavour.

The beef comes from Tim’s own farm in Yorkshire, Longhorn, Shorthorn and Belted Galloway.

Tim Wilson, and others like him, are leading us ‘back to the future’ and it’s no bad thing.

Here are three recipes taken from The Ginger Pig Meat Book, by Tim Wilson and Fran Warde, published by Octopus Books UK.

Ginger Pig Spare Ribs

Ask your butcher to cut ribs from the belly of pork.

If you want larger ribs you can ask for those from the chine, but I prefer smaller ribs in one length for each person.

Serves 4/takes 2 hours, plus marinating

4 sheets of 6-rib belly of pork, each approximately 800g (1lb 12oz)

2 tbsp honey

Juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (for example Kikkoman)

3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

50g (2oz) muscavado sugar

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large pan of water, add the ribs and gently simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the water.

Mix together all the remaining ingredients until smooth and blended.

Remove the ribs from the water and pat them dry with kitchen paper, then rub them all over with the marinade and leave, covered, at room temperature for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator if possible.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Place the ribs in one layer on a roasting tray and roast for 40 minutes or until cooked through, basting them frequently with the marinade. Serve them whole to be cut at the table.

Ginger Pig Sausage Roll

A real, good British sausage roll is hard to find so we decided to make our own.

We sell an awful lot at lunchtime.

Makes 8; takes 2 hours, plus chilling

Place the minced pork and pork fat in a bowl and mix together, then add the breadcrumbs, 125ml (4fl oz) water, the herbs and seasoning.

Mix with your hands until evenly blended. Set aside.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Melt 50g (1¾oz) of the butter and mix with the salt, vinegar and 230ml (8fl oz) ice-cold water.

Add to the flour and mix to a smooth dough. Place in the refrigerator to chill for one hour.

Place the remaining butter between two sheets of clingfilm and roll out to the thickness of your finger.

Roll out the pastry to a rectangle just over twice the size of the butter.

Place the butter in the middle and wrap by making an envelope with the pastry, totally encasing it. Roll out again to a rectangle the same size as it was before the butter was added, then fold three times, like a letter. Roll out once more, turn 90 degrees and fold three times again.

Wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour. Repeat the rolling and folding four more times, adding a light dusting of flour each time, and chilling after each repetition. (In total, the process should be performed five times.) Leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Roll the pastry out to approximately 41x26cm (16x10in).

Work the sausage meat into an even, long roll and place along the length of the pastry. Brush the exposed pastry with egg, then roll over and crimp the join together with a fork.

Cut into four sausage rolls. Brush the outside with egg, place on a baking sheet and cook for 50 minutes.

Ginger Pig Rillettes of Pork

In the past a whole pig would be killed by a smallholding and all the meat butchered, cooked or cured.

Rillettes are a great way of using some of the belly.

Compressed into a jar, then covered and sealed with hard fat, they will keep for months.

Before refrigeration, this was a very popular method of preserving part of the pig.

Serves 4–6; takes 5 hours

50g (1¾oz) pork or goose fat

1kg (2lb 4oz) skinless pork belly, cut into cubes

300ml (½ pint) white wine

2 garlic cloves

2 sprigs of thyme

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 onion, chopped

Melt the fat in a heavy-based pan, add the pork and cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes; do not allow the meat to brown.

Drain off and reserve the excess fat.

Add the wine, garlic, thyme, seasoning and onion to the pan, cover and simmer very gently for four and a half hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed.

Cool a little, then mash with a fork, breaking up all the meat (if you prefer a smoother result, place in a food processor).

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Spoon and compress very tightly into an earthenware or glass pot, which has been scrupulously cleaned with boiling water.

Melt the reserved fat and pour it over the top, completely sealing the meat.

This is best left to improve for at least a week and can be kept for up to six months if it is well sealed with fat and contains no air pockets.

Enjoy with crusty bread, piquant cornichons and crunchy lettuce.

Ginger Pig Hungarian Pork Goulash

It’s important to add some belly of pork to this dish, as the fat is needed to add moisture and richness to the sauce.

Serves 6; takes 3 hours

1 tbsp olive oil

1.25kg (2lb 12oz) shoulder of pork, diced

300g (10½oz) belly of pork, skinned and diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp caraway seeds

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea salt

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

320g jar peeled, roast peppers

1 bunch of chives, snipped

4 tbsp soured cream

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan and fry the meat until brown on all sides, then add the onion and garlic and sauté for three minutes.

Add the paprika, cayenne, caraway and seasoning, mix well and cook for a further four minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and top up with just enough water to cover the meat.

Bring to a boil then place in the oven to cook for two hours.

Drain the jar of peppers, cut them into thin strips and add to the goulash, stir through and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Add the chives and serve the goulash topped with soured cream and bulgur wheat or rice.

Hot tips

The Art of Running A Restaurant is a new class at the Good Things Café & Cookery School, Durrus, Co Cork, offering six days of hands-on training in a restaurant environment.

Monday to Saturday June 11-16, 2012, €1,500 including accommodation, knives and personalised chef’s jackets. To book, contact Carmel Somers, 027-61426 or

On Thursday, May 17, meet three famous Riesling winemakers, Tim Adams, Clare Valley, Australia; Carl Ehrhard, Rheingau, Germany and Severine Schlumberger, Alsace, France, at Ballymaloe House. The session will be chaired by wine writer John Wilson. After the wine-tasting, enjoy a Slow Food Summer Plate from local food producers.

This is priced separately from the wine-tasting and all proceeds go to East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. Phone 021 4652531 to book.

I popped in to a cute little café called Brother Hubbard at 153 Capel Street, Dublin last week.

Garrett Fitzgerald and Jim Boland opened it in March.

They make everything themselves even their own homemade orange and lemon barley water and raspberry, apple and rose lemonades.

There are beautiful, quality cakes and biscuits, tempting lunch time salads and sandwiches in a short menu with carefully chosen produce.

Contact 01-4411112 or


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