The trend for ‘nose to tail’ eating is fast gaining pace, largely due to financial necessity, but it’s surprising how many of us still only stick to ‘safe’ cuts of meat; the chicken breasts and sirloin steaks that, compared to other cuts, really are a small fortune.
Try introducing alternatives such as chicken thighs, braising steak, shin, skirt, brisket and neck of lamb into your repertoire, and not only will you be amazed at how much money you save, you’ll be amazed at the quality and flavour of the meals you create.
Here are some ideas…
Boneless beef brisket: a budget-friendly alternative for the Sunday roast; whack it in the slow cooker for a few hours in stout or red wine with a few herbs and an onion, and you don’t need to look at it again until you’re ready to carve – what could be easier?
Skirt: don’t use best stewing steak for casseroles or stews – skirt works just as well and at a fraction of the price. Fill the pot with cheap, seasonal veg such as onions, carrots and potatoes, a bottle of red wine or stout and leave it to do its business. Et voila, a one pot wonder!
Shin of beef: this is one of the cheapest cuts of meat but gives the most superb flavour if cooked long and slow. Great for casseroles and stews where it creates a thick, rich gravy. Try slow cooking it with root veg and a good quality ale for a tasty Sunday lunch alternative.
Chicken thighs: when it comes to curries and casseroles don’t waste money on over-priced chicken breast. Chicken thighs, especially those with the bone in, are ridiculously cheap in comparison, as well as being where all the flavour is. For juicy, tender meat that literally falls off the bone, slow cook in your chosen sauce, and if you like crispy skin, fry off the skin first.
Neck of lamb: with all its bone juices and marrow, this makes an awesome, thick and rich stew or ragout. Use it in a traditional Lancashire hot pot with plenty of onions and carrots and topped with potatoes, or use it in place of oxtail in a traditional osso bucco.
Breast of lamb: a much forgotten about cut, breast of lamb gives you a lot of meat for your money. It can be quite fatty so is best cooked long and slow so that the fat can be rendered out but you are rewarded with delicious moist and tender meat that melts in the mouth as a result. As well as slow roasting, it’s equally good stuffed and rolled, and will serve up to six people at a time.
Where to buy:
All of our meat stallholders will be happy to discuss your requirements and give advice on different cuts and recipes. Visit the following stalls for more information: