Thrifty recipes


At this time of year, we are mostly trying to tighten our purse strings and our belts following the Christmas splurge. At the same time, the gloomy weather and dark evenings call for something warming and delicious to look forward to. We're here to help. If you're trying to cut the calories, you don't have to eat meat every day, but when you do, buy top quality and make it a treat. 



It's important to add some pork belly to this dish, as the fat is needed to add moisture and richness to the sauce. For those who want a lighter option, just leave it out.

Serves 6
Takes 3 hours

1tbsp olive oil
1.25kg shoulder of pork, diced
280g pork belly, diced
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cans chopped tomatoes
320g jar of peeled, roast peppers (or 3 chargrilled and peeled peppers)
2 tbsp soured cream
1 bunch of chives, snipped

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan over a medium heat and fry the meat until brown on all sides, then add the onion and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, caraway and season with salt and pepper, mix well and cook for a further 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and top up with just enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and place in the oven to cook for 2 hours.

2. Drain the jar of peppers (or prepare them if using fresh), cut the peppers into thin strips and add them to the goulash. Stir through and cook for a further 30 minutes. Serve topped with soured cream and chives, on bulgur wheat or rice.


Roman Lamb Fillet

Lamb neck fillet is a small cut with great flavour and texture and is also reasonably priced.

Serves 4
Takes 40 minutes

500g lamb neck fillet
4 sprigs of rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon
175g pitted black olives, roughly chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
125ml red wine
Leaves from 1 bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

1. Cut the lamb into 4 even lengths. Spear a sharp, thin knife through the centre of each piece along its length and insert a sprig of rosemary into the resulting slits. Heat the oil in a pan, over a medium-high heat add the lamb and brown it on all sides for about 15 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and reduce the heat to low, then cook for a further 4 minutes. Remove the lamb and let it rest in a warm place. Add the lemon juice, olives, seasoning and wine to the pan, and simmer to reduce by half.

3. Slice the lamb. Add the parsley to the sauce, bring back to a simmer, then spoon over the lamb. This is excellent served with creamed polenta, mashed potatoes or tagliatelle.


Beef & Dumplings

Clod of beef is a tender, melting cut of meat when cooked slowly. With dumplings to mop up all the delicious juices, this stew makes a great one-pot meal.

Serves 6
Takes 3 hours, plus overnight chilling

For the stew
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg clod of beef, diced into large pieces
2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped oregano leaves
4 bay leaves
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
200ml red wine
1.2 L beef stock
1 tbsp plain flour
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 celery sticks, sliced
4 parsnips, peeled and sliced

For the dumplings
200g self-raising flour
115g suet
Leaves from 1 small bunch of parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 150C. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat, add the meat and brown well all over. Remove the meat from the pan and add the onions. Saute gently until soft but not coloured. Return the beef to the pan and add the herbs, salt and pepper, wine and stock. Gently bring to a boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Remove, cool and refrigerate over night.

2. The next day, bring the casserole to room temperature and preheat the oven to 150C. Put the stew in the oven and gently warm through. When the stock has just melted into liquid again, remove from the oven, sift the flour and stir. Mix in the carrots, celery and parsnips, cover and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, adding just enough water to bind the dough without it becoming sticky. Divide into 12 and roll each piece into a ball. Remove the casserole from the oven and arrange the dumplings in a single layer on top. Cover and cook in the oven for a further 30 minutes or until the dumplings and the stew are piping hot.

From The Ginger Pig Meat Book.