Waitrose recently introduced their new range of ‘forgotten cuts‘, a selection of lesser-known beef, lamb and pork cuts, with the tag-line ‘economical and tasty’. Although many of these may have gradually gone out of fashion in favour of rump, sirloin or loin, they are all too familiar to most mothers and grandmothers across the country. I find it strange that these are billed so ‘unusual’, with many people turning their noses up at ox tail, calves liver or brisket- some for the taste, others because they don’t know what to do with it. Maybe it’s down to our fast-pace living? Who has the four hours needed to make Waitrose’s suggested beef shin stew?
Growing up, my mum was not afraid of any cut, and she relishes the fact that she is “the only person in the village who buys skirt from the butcher”. I have early memories of loving steak and kidney pie, even making up a song about it as a toddler, and as I’ve grown older calves liver is the one dish I always request when I go home to my parents’.
I have become engrossed in researching recipes for these delicious, yet obscure cuts and have been disappointed at the lack of a local butcher in my London borough. Thus, many a weekend has been spent bribing my housemate to drive me around west London to find my necessary ingredients. So you can image my delight at the introduction of them at Waitrose!
One of my favourite recipes is Fegato alla Venezia, where calves liver is cut into ‘postage stamp’ sized slices and is pan-fried with slow-cooked sweet, buttery onions. Team it with a dollop of mashed potato, to soak up all of the delicious juices. For those who can’t face the blood, Polpo, Russell Norman’s Venetian style bacaro in Soho, has a lovely version.
I hope the introduction of this new Waitrose range will put some of these more obscure cuts back on the menu, even though they never really went away. They’re economical, flavoursome and, above all, might make us a little more adventurous in the kitchen.