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 Traditional Dry Spiced Beef

Bord Bia

 This is the traditional dry spiced beef, usually reserved for Christmas but also excellent for summer salads.  Unfortunately it has become very difficult to get saltpetre.  Check with your pharmacist – they may be able to source it for you. 

Traditional Dry Spiced Beef 

Serves 10 


  • 2½-3 kgs eye of the round, topside or silverside of beef
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 25g black peppercorns
  • 12g allspice berries
  • 25g juniper berries
  • 12g ground cloves
  • 12g salt
  • 12g saltpetre (See note above)

Apricot and Almond Chutney 

This is wonderful with Spiced Beef or with a wedge of farmhouse cheese and brown bread. Makes 1 litre

  • 450g dried apricots, chopped (no soak are very convenient)
  • 225g brown sugar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500ml wine vinegar
  • 1 cooking apple, chopped
  • 2 tablesp. fresh root ginger, grated
  • ½ tablesp. coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 75g almonds, blanched and roughly chopped
  • Dash of Tabasco and salt

To Cook

To Prepare

Trim the beef. Next rub the beef all over with the sugar and leave it for two days in a bowl in the fridge.

Crush the peppercorns, allspice and juniper berries together in a mortar and pestle. Mix with the cloves, salt and saltpetre. Rub the beef thoroughly with the spices. Cover and store in the fridge for 6-7 days. Turn the beef daily in the mixture.

To Cook

Place the beef in a deep casserole dish as near to its size as possible. Add 250ml water and cover tightly.

Cook in a very low oven, Gas Mark 1, 140°C (275°F) for five hours. Leave it to cool in the liquid for 2-3 hours and then remove and wrap it in tin foil. Store in the fridge. Serve in thin slices with brown bread and Apricot and Almond Chutney.

Preparing Apricot and Almond Chutney

Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for about an hour (don't overcook). Spoon into warmed, sterilised jars. Seal immediately. The chutney will improve with keeping.