Making the most of cheaper cuts of meat

Andrew Stucken

Pre-recesssion complacency saw thrift out of fashion as we threw away mountains of food



Age-old habits of using cheaper cuts of meat and wasting nothing have been forgotten.

But come the recession and old favourites such as brisket and pork hock are making a comeback. Cooked slowly in a casserole, they should produce a very tasty meal.

Andrew Stucken outlines some cheaper cuts to nourish you while being kind to your purse:

I once tucked into a tasty pork dish in a Bavarian restaurant. Only afterwards did my dining companion tell me I had just devoured pigs' trotters. "If you'd known, you wouldn't have eaten those, would you?" Correct! But proof that prejudice can get in the way of enjoying less favoured cuts.

Beef: Brisket, shin/flank, silverside, oxtail, skirt, chuck are cheap cuts. To cook a casserole using these: Add onion, brown the meat, add stock, vegetables and seasoning and leave to cook for a couple of hours. The difference in price is very marked e.g. £18.90 per kilo for sirloin against just £5.90 for brisket at Sainsbury's.

Pork: Cheek, hock, trotters and liver are all pieces of pig that will be easy on your budget. A filling dish can be made using pork hock with carrot, onion, leek and celery, served with potato and dumplings – see http://www.iqio.org/how-to-cook-pork-hocks for details. It is very flavoursome and makes a great stock too. Pork belly can meanwhile be roasted or used in oriental dishes.

Lamb: A cheaper cut such as shoulder is around a third cheaper than the more tender leg of lamb - £6.40 as against £9.40 per kilo at Sainsbury's. Try shoulder of lamb, neck of lamb (for casseroles) and breast of lamb. Again, cook slowly. Lancashire hot pot is a classic dish you can make from cheaper cuts. Add onion and layer the lamb with potatoes. For a variation on the traditional dish, vegetables can be added – or served as a side dish.

Chicken: Thigh is cheaper than breast, but it can often work out cheaper to buy the whole chicken.

Meat and poultry bones can be boiled down to make stock – and offal such as kidneys, liver, heart etc can be used in recipes.

And why not consider old-fashioned country food? Rabbit and pigeon are inexpensive and often locally sourced. Try a traditional butcher for these meats.


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