Age-old habits of using cheaper cuts of meat and wasting nothing were falling out of fashion. But with the recession, old favourites such as brisket and pork hock have made a comeback. Cooked slowly, especially in a casserole, they make a very tasty meal.
Eight ways to spend less at the supermarket.
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 it's proof that prejudice can get in the way of enjoying less favoured cuts. (All prices updated at review date.)
Brisket, shin/flank, silverside, oxtail, skirt and chuck are cheap cuts. To cook a casserole using these, just 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 – £17.63 per kilo for ribeye against £8.23 per kilo for casserole steak at Tesco. Beef heart is around £3.50 per kilo at Tesco.
Find our beef recipes here.
Cheek, hock, trotters and liver are all pork cuts that are more budget friendly. A filling dish can be made using pork hock cooked with carrot, onion, parsnip, celery and potatoes – here's the recipe for oven roasted pork hocks. Your local butcher is the best bet for cheek, hock and trotters, while pork liver is just £1.89 per kilo at ASDA. Meanwhile pork belly can be roasted or used in oriental dishes, such as sticky pork belly – pork belly slices are £3.89 a kilo at ASDA.
Discover more pork recipes here.
A cheaper cut such as shoulder is heading towards half the price of a boneless leg joint – £8.50 as against £15 per kilo at Sainsbury's. Try shoulder of lamb, neck of lamb (for casseroles) and breast of lamb – a leek and lamb cobbler is warming on a winter's day. 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. Lamb hearts are £3.80 per kilo at Tesco – try stuffed braised lamb's heart.
For more lamb recipes, click here.
Thigh is cheaper than breast, but it can often work out cheaper to buy the whole chicken. If you do get a whole chicken, poultry and meat bones can be boiled down to make stock – and offal such as kidneys, liver, heart, etc, can be used in recipes. If you prefer free range chicken but find the prices high, then buying a pack of free range chicken legs, drumsticks or thighs (£4.98 per kilo, £5.79 per kilo and £6.98 per kilo respectively at Waitrose) is a good cheaper alternative.
Make our delicious chicken casserole.
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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