James Whelan Butchers: Rib on the Bone: the Roast of Roasts

Posted on Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Beef Recipes | No Comments »

Rib of beef on the boneThere are few reactions as satisfying for the cook as the one you get when you bring a majestic rib roast of beef to the table. The smells emanating from the kitchen are beyond seductive, and the appearance of the meat does not disappoint. We’d always suggest buying a piece bigger than you think you need, because the leftovers will make for a few happy lunches the next day and will disappear before you know it. Other cuts that are good to roast on the bone are sirloin from the hindquarter and wing rib.

Rib on the bone: the roast of roasts – Printer Friendly Download


  • 4–6 kg rib of beef
  • extra virgin olive oil, Irish rapeseed oil or soft dripping
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 10

To Cook

Preheat the oven to 230° C/fan 210° C/gas mark 8. Rub the joint all over with the oil or soft dripping and season with salt and pepper. Place the meat in a heavy-duty roasting tin and cook for 30 minutes, until browned and sizzling. Turn the heat down to 160° C/fan 140° C/gas mark 3 and open the oven door for a minute to accelerate the drop in temperature. Give the joint a further 9–10 minutes per 500 g for very rare meat, 12–15 for medium or 18–20 if you prefer it well done. As all ovens vary, a meat thermometer is invaluable, as it will give you the confidence to know the exact moment when the beef is cooked to your liking. Remove the meat from the oven and place on a warm platter in a warm place, covered loosely with foil. Leave it to rest for at least half an hour before carving — this allows the meat to relax and improves its flavour and juiciness.


Pour the juices and fat that have accumulated in the roasting tin into a Pyrex jug. The fat (dripping) will rise to the top and you can spoon most of this off and reserve it. Return the residue to the roasting tin and place on top of a low heat. If you want a thicker gravy, add a teaspoon or two of flour now, scattered across the tin. Gradually add half a bottle of red wine and 500 ml of beef stock, stirring as you do so to ensure that the flour is absorbed. Simmer for fifteen minutes or so, scraping the tin to ensure that no flavour is lost, until the gravy has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning, sieve and serve.

James Whelan Butchers: Tagliata

Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Beef Recipes | No Comments »

Tagliata from The Irish Beef BookThis is Domini Kemp’s version and very good it is too. You can make this with fillet, sirloin, striploin or rib-eye.

Tagliata – Printer Friendly Download


  • 600–800 g fillet of beef (or sirloin, striploin or rib-eye)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 good handfuls rocket
  • 8 Portobello mushrooms, peeled and cut into thick slices
  • Parmesan shavings

For the marinade:

  • 100 ml balsamic vinegar
  • good few sprigs rosemary
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 200 ml olive oil

To Cook

Start by making the marinade. First remove all the leaves from the rosemary—you want a good tablespoon of rosemary leaves, even two. In a blender, whizz all the ingredients together. Season the marinade, which should be dark and thick. Pour it on top of the beef and leave for a while to marinate — a few hours would be great, or even overnight. When you are ready to cook, put the rocket on each plate, along with some Parmesan shavings. Heat up a frying pan or griddle pan until it is really hot. And if your pan is a regular size, you may need to do this in two batches.
Let the excess marinade run off the beef and then sear and brown it at a very high temperature. Turn the steaks over when they release themselves; and when you have great colour on them, set them aside to rest. Finish cooking any remaining steaks if necessary, otherwise fry the chunky mushrooms and pour any remaining marinade on top. They don’t need much cooking. They will absorb the marinade and heat up thoroughly till they get slightly charred and burnt at the edges and are piping hot. At this stage, you can slice the beef and arrange beef slices and mushrooms on top of the rocket and serve straight away.

James Whelan Butchers: Oven Chips with Rosemary Salt

Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Side Dishes | No Comments »

Oven chips with rosemary salt from the Irish Beef BookThis recipe is taken from my book “The Irish Beef Book and is a delicious accompaniment to steak. The rosemary empart huge flavour to the chips.


  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 85 g sea salt
  • 900 g Maris Piper potatoes, unpeeled, cut into large chips 1cm thick
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
  • freshly ground black pepper

Serves 4

To Cook

Preheat the oven to 230° C/fan 210° C/gas mark 8. Place a baking tray in the oven. To make the rosemary salt, remove the leaves from the rosemary, chop them and put in a mortar and pestle with the lemon zest and salt. Work to make a paste, adding more salt if the mixture is too wet. Spread out on a plate in a warm place to dry out a little. Parboil the chips for about 10 minutes in boiling salted water. Heat the oil in a frying pan, smash the garlic cloves under the flat side of a knife blade and add to the pan, followed by the chips. Toss in the oil until well coated, then season with pepper. Bake on the preheated oven tray for 15–20 minutes until crisp and golden. Sprinkle the rosemary salt on the chips before serving

Great Career Opportunities @ James Whelan Butchers

Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles | No Comments »

A Butchers Life for Me

I’ve posted this piece before but I think it eloquently captures the point I am making and so I’ve posted it again. We have some great opportunities at the moment in James Whelan Butchers, so if you know anyone or perhaps you’d like a career change, this is your chance!

There’s a tremendous beauty in the English language. We, unlike some of our European neighbours, have been blessed with an abundant tongue based on rich, ancient foundations. We have an instrument of expression that when used correctly can work incredible magic. Words can make us fall in love, do things we don’t want to do, create mental pictures or even stir up emotions we didn’t even know existed. There is power in words and yet we are often lazy, assuming that some subjects don’t deserve a richer word currency. Sad to say, recent recruitment advertising that I have seen for butchers is a perfect example. It looks like there are openings for apprentice butchers in many parts of Ireland which is great news, including my own business, exposing the fact that there is not a lack of jobs in the industry, but a lack of skills. However looking at the distinctly dull and lifeless call to arms, I can see many approaching just because there’s a paying job at the end of it. I caution that a paying job is never a good driving factor for a life in this world.

While the word ‘passion’ is often bandied about and overused these days it should be fully applied to butchers. I want people with an ardent interest in the area to come forward to fill any positions I may have or take up any training programmes we create. I want those bordering on the obsessive because then and only then will we have a chance at creating a healthy legacy. On that note, I am often asked if “I minded taking over the family business”! It always amazes me that anyone would think I was obligated or forced in some way to follow in my father’s footsteps. I genuinely loved every part of the business. I had butchery in my blood and for me it was a natural step. I was simply fulfilling my purpose and calling and while I’m thankful that I have such a strong ancestral link to raising stock for food and this noble craft, I firmly believe that it would have been my perfect job had I been the very first in my line to become a butcher.

Many people miss the fundamental reasons someone might want to take up this trade. I often find myself standing at a fence in the dew drenched, quiet early mornings, marvelling at the wonder of the animals I rear and the link they provide between us and the land. While I take great care in raising them and enjoy their inherent, melancholic majesty, I am also starkly aware of their ultimate upcoming sacrifice. These gracious, primal mammals provide us with food that keeps us healthy and makes us strong. I fully acknowledge the responsibility of ensuring that we make the most of such selfless surrender. As a butcher it is up to me to find out everything I can about the animal and the nourishment it can provide. I am responsible for making sure that every part of the animal that is a source of nourishment can be used as such. It is up to me to know how to cook any cut of meat, nose to tail including the bones, and to have personal experience of that so I can pass it on – that is a calling, a purpose and so much more than just a job. It is in this kind of thinking that one finds the joy.

Besides the cerebral there is also the physical. Part of the work of a butcher is not pretty. It is bloody, heavy and serious work. That neatly tied, attractive little package or the dark red fillet of steak that makes eyes at you from behind the gleaming glass of a butcher’s counter was once part of a large and wieldy carcass that required a deft combination of skill and art to bring it to such an aesthetic end. I can recall many days in the slaughterhouse where I emerged after ridiculously long hours of carrying, carving and cutting spent and exhausted. I often imagined a crowd outside that steel door just waiting to celebrate and applaud my wondrous achievements of turning the gory and slightly macabre into things of beauty that people enjoyed bringing to their kitchens. Of course the brass band and the cheering crowds only existed in my head as few people picking up a Sunday roast truly appreciate where it has come from. It is worth remarking that we are particularly unaware of this in Ireland. In France you will notice that a skilled butcher or baker is something to be celebrated and indeed treasured by the community. In Ireland sometimes the job of butcher or baker don’t have the craft recognition they deserve. Hence the dull recruitment ads that include uninspiring sentences such as “Trimming excess fat off meat and finishing to customer specifications will be required”. Where is the art and the craft, the nourishment, the acknowledgement of the ability to butcher an animal and provide real nutritious food that promotes life? Where is the fun? Where is the joy?

We must also remember that many of our human rituals are based around and linked to food. The food providers in our lives are vital. Being a butcher is more than just a job. There has to be an appreciation of the intrinsic nature of the work and what you are really doing rather than the soul less single minded goal of a pay packet. This is the only way to happiness and a fulfilling career in any walk of life.

At James Whelan Butchers we do provide an 18 month programme with an accredited FETAC qualification on completion. We only create the very best butchers that will carry our signature of excellence into the industry. We want the passionate and enthusiastic so if you or someone you know is interested they can contact us via the website or info@jwb.ie

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

New James Whelan Butchers @ Avoca, Kilmacanogue

Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles | No Comments »

New James Whelan Butcher shop in Avoca Kilmacanogue

New James Whelan Butcher shop in Avoca Kilmacanogue – Images courtesy of Avoca Kilmacanogue

Following the successful launch of our butcher shops in Dublin, at Avoca Monkstown and Rathcoole, we are delighted to announce that we are bringing our craft butchery excellence and expertise to the new Avoca Food Market in Kilmacanogue.

The entire food market will include James Whelan Butchers and a number of new additions to Avoca.We will have a 550 square foot specialist craft butcher shop in the new Avoca food market in Kilmacanogue, where customers can come and see at first hand how we approach our craft. As well as the opportunity to buy and taste our top quality meat products, customers will be able to see our skilled professional butchers in action in what will be an exciting food experience for the Irish consumer in an amazing setting.

The new Kilmacanogue food hall promises to be very exciting offering a range of great food under the one roof with 100 per cent focus on delicious, seasonal, Irish food.

The Avoca Kilmacanogue store is on the N11 or Wexford Road very close to Bray on the Southern side of Dublin. Set in the grounds of the old Jameson (of whiskey fame) estate, surrounded by ancient trees and rolling gardens, the Avoca store at Kilmacanogue is simply Ireland’s best retail & food experience. (It’s pronounced Kill-ma-cano-guh by the way, tho’ we often just shorten it to Kilmac.) There’s a treasure trove shop which assails the senses. Two award-winning cafes with terraces. A gourmet foodhall & deli. Not to mention a wonderful garden and the acclaimed Avoca Nursery.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their support in making James Whelan Butchers so special.

We look forward to seeing you there in late October!

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers


James Whelan Butchers: Brined Beef Brisket on the Bone with BBQ Sauce

Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in BBQ Recipes, Beef Recipes | No Comments »

Brined beef brisket on the bone with BBQ sauceThis recipe is a labour of love that takes time but is well worth it. Do make it with a fine big piece of brisket so that you get the most out of your efforts. Brining the meat makes it very moist and juicy, but the recipe for slow-cooked pulled chipotle brisket (page 188) is very good too, and takes less preparation time.

Brined Beef Brisket on the Bone with BBQ sauce – Printer Friendly Download


  • 4 kg piece of brisket on the bone
  • yellow mustard

For the brine:

  • 1 litre apple juice
  • 750 ml water
  • 600 g sugar
  • 200 g sea salt
  • 200 ml Worcestershire sauce

For the dry rub:

  • 4 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme

For the barbecue sauce:

  • 250 ml cider vinegar
  • 250 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 500 ml water s 150 g tomato puree
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 thick slice of lemon
  • 50 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 tablespoons honey
  • 8 tablespoons treacle
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 400 g brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt

Serves 10

To Cook

First make the brine. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a high heat and stir while bringing to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Leave to cool. Place the brisket in the brine for a couple of hours, choosing a container that allows you to submerge the meat completely. Make the dry rub by combining all the ingredients. Remove the brisket from the brine and pat dry with kitchen paper. Smear the surface of the brisket with yellow mustard. Then sprinkle all over with the dry rub. If you have a stove-top smoker, put in the brisket for about an hour over medium heat, checking it every so often to make sure that the meat does no burn. This step is optional —there’s no need to rush out and buy a smoker — it just adds an extra dimension. Make the barbecue sauce by putting all the ingredients into a large pot over high heat. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the consistency is sauce-like. Remove the bay leaves and lemon and blend with a hand blender. Preheat the oven to 130 C/fan 110C/gas mark 1. Place the brisket in a roasting tray and cover with a layer of clingfilm and two layers of tinfoil. Cook in the preheated oven for approximately five hours, or until very tender. To char the outside, either finish the brisket on the barbecue or in the oven with the foil off until it is nicely browned and the fat is crisp. When the brisket is cool enough to handle, extract the meat, the crisp fat and the outer bark from the surface, discarding any excess visible fat. Combine with the barbecue sauce, warm gently, and serve with red slaw and sweet potato wedges

James Whelan Butchers: Pork Spare Ribs

Posted on Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Pork Recipes, Recipes | No Comments »

pork spare ribsThere is only one way to eat ribs and that’s with your fingers. It’s a messy business, so napkins and finger bowls are essential! The combination of sweet and spicy with fruity overtones turns a strip of ribs into a feast. The ribs should be marinated overnight for the best result.

Download Pork Spare Ribs Printer Friendly Recipe



  •  1 cup soy sauce
  • 3⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1⁄4 cup tomato paste
  • 1⁄4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin powder

Serves 4 ( Allow 4 ribs per person)


To Cook

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Combine all the ingredients except the pork and mix well. Heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly until it boils. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Lay the ribs in a flat dish, cover with the marinade and refrigerate for several hours minimum. Reserve any extra sauce. Pour any remaining marinade over the ribs and bake for 45 minutes. Serve when cooled to room temperature.



James Whelan Butchers Beef Dripping wins 3 star Great Taste Award!

Posted on Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

James Whelan Butchers Beef Dripping wins 3 star Great Taste Award! Selected as a 2014 Top 50 Food

Beef Dripping, produced in Clonmel, Tipperary by Pat Whelan, a fifth generation butcher, has just been announced as one of the Top 50 best foods in the UK and Ireland. Of 10,000 entries to the Great Taste Awards, just 153 were awarded a Great Taste 3 Star, and James Whelan Butchers Beef Dripping has now been further selected as a 2014 Top 50 Food and shortlisted for a Great Taste Golden Fork Award.Great Taste Top 50 2014

Great Taste Awards 2014 3 Stars - Selected as a 2014 Top 50 FoodPraised by the Great Taste judges as “an absolute showstopper” with “tremendous, deep beefy flavours” which “blew us all way”, the Beef Dripping is made from the suet of grass fed Angus and Hereford beef. Rendered down and clarifed into a pure fat, James Whelan Butchers Beef Dripping is simply packaged in white wax paper and stays fresh for up to six months, when stored in a cool dark place.

Seeing the upsurge of interest in heritage foods and traditional ingredients, Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers was inspired to create his own Beef Dripping. With the very best of beef available to him, he soon perfected a product that he was proud to share with is customers.James Whelan Butchers Award Winning Beef Dripping

“It’s the taste of my childhood” said Pat Whelan. “Our Beef Dripping is nutrient rich, high in omega-3 acids, clean, pure and carries great flavour, whether for frying a steak, roasting potatoes, or simply slathered onto good bread.”

The Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the benchmark for speciality food and drink. Judged by over 400 of the most demanding palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, members of the Women’s Institute, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation.

Great Taste Awards 2014 Beef DrippingThe Beef Dripping, priced €3.99, is available now online at www.JamesWhelanButchers.com or from James Whelan Butchers at Clonmel, Tipperary, Avoca Food Market, Monkstown or Avoca, Rathcoole.

The Golden Fork Award winners will be announced in London on September 8th. See #Top50Foods @GuildofFineFood

James Whelan Butchers: Tongue and Roast Beetroot Salad with a Balsamic Dressing

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Beef Recipes, Recipes | No Comments »

tongue and roast beetroot saladLots of people these days seem to be nostalgic for the ox tongue of their childhood, but few attempt to cook it. A whole ox tongue does look rather terrifying, admittedly, but we think it’s worth the effort. Brining the tongue before you cook it gives the meat great flavour, but does turn it into almost a week-long project. You have been warned. Tongue and Roast Beetroot Salad with a Balsamic Dress – Printer Friendly Download


  • 1 ox tongue

For the brine:

  • 100 g sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon curing salt (this is for colour rather than flavour and can be omitted)

To cook the tongue:

  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • handful of parsley stalks
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • flaky sea salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 250 g panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 litre vegetable oil
  • for the salad:
  • 8 medium beetroots roasted (see page 115)
  • 300 g mixed leaves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • aged balsamic vinegar

To Cook:

In a large saucepan, combine the salt, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaves in a litre of water. Bring to the boil and stir until the salt has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add 2 litres of cold water. Leave to cool. Place the tongue in a large bowl and cover with the brine. Place in the fridge, covered, for five days, turning once. Remove the tongue from the brine, rinse well, put in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and discard the water. Cover with fresh water and bring to the boil again, and add the carrot, onion, celery and parsley stalks, peppercorns and a large pinch of flaky sea salt. Simmer gently until tender but not falling apart, about 4 to 5 hours. Remove the tongue from the cooking liquid but retain the liquid. When the tongue is cool enough to handle, strip it of its skin and any unsavoury-looking bits. Return the tongue to the cooking liquid to cool. When it has reached room temperature, place it in a bowl in the fridge, with a weight on top of it to press it down, for 24 hours. Prepare the roasted beetroots. Whisk the eggs and place in a shallow bowl. Prepare separate bowls for the flour and breadcrumbs. Slice the tongue into slices about 1/2 cm thick. Heat the vegetable oil to 190 C in a deep fat fryer. Dip the slices of tongue first into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown and hot through. Drain on kitchen paper. Dress the leaves and roasted beetroots with olive oil and a little flaky sea salt and divide between six plates. Place the slices of fried tongue on each plate and top with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

James Whelan Butchers: Barbacoa Beef Cheeks

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Beef Recipes, Recipes | No Comments »

Barbacoa Beef CheeksBeef cheeks are one of our favourite cuts. The meat is intense, full of robust flavour and has a richness that is not at all cloying. Don’t be put off by what might seem like a bizarre combination of ingredients; this recipe is a cinch, and it takes very little time to prepare. The recipe serves four, but our recommendation is that you make a larger batch and invite over your friends to watch a match, have a few drinks and shoot the breeze. An Irish artisan cider such as Stonewell would go nicely. Barbacoa Beef Cheeks – Printer Friendly Download


  • 1 kg beef cheeks, trimmed
  • 1 ancho chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons Highbank apple syrup or maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml chicken stock
  • 4 limes

to serve:

  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced (or guacamole)
  • 4 wraps or tortillas
  • roasted tomato salsa
  • fresh coriander
  • sour cream
  • grated cheese — a strongly flavoured Cheddar-type such as Hegarty’s from Whitechurch, Co. Cork

To Cook:

Remove the stem and seeds from the ancho chilli, chop it roughly and put it in a little warm water for a few minutes to rehydrate. Blend the chilli (and its water), garlic, peanut butter, espresso powder, 2 tablespoons of the oil, syrup, cumin, paprika, coriander and salt into a paste. Marinate the beef cheeks in the paste for a few hours, preferably overnight, in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 140Åã C/fan 120Åã C/gas mark 11/2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a flameproof casserole dish and brown the cheeks on both sides. Don’t move the cheeks around too much when you’re browning them — the less they move, the more colour and flavour they’ll pick up. Pour the rest of the marinade into the pan with the stock, then squeeze in the juice of 3 limes.

Put the lid on and place in the oven for about 31/2 hours, turning the cheeks once or twice while they cook. If the liquid dries up, add a little more stock. By now the cheeks should be very tender. Pull them apart with two forks and mix with the juices in the pan. Add a squeeze of lime to taste, and a touch more syrup if you like. Serve the barbacoa in a wrap or corn tortilla with guacamole or slices of avocado, roasted tomato salsa, sour cream, a sprinkling of fresh coriander and grated cheese.

James Whelan Butchers: Pomegranate-Marinated Hanger Steak with a Warm Farro Salad

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Beef Recipes, Recipes | No Comments »

Pomegranate Marinated Hanger Steak with a Warm Farro SaladAsk your butcher to prepare the hanger steak for grilling; it will probably be in a few pieces once the sinew has been removed. This recipe will work equally well with sirloin or skirt steak, but check the cooking guide and adjust the timing accordingly. Farro is a nutty-tasting whole grain from Italy; you could use brown basmati rice or a barley couscous instead. Pomegranate-Marinated Hanger Steak with a Warm Farro Salad – Printer Friendly Download


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or Irish rapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 500 g hanger steak
  • 200 g farro
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds only
  • 100 g walnuts, toasted
  • sea salt

For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or Irish
  • rapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • pinch of ground coriander
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt

Serves 4

To Cook

Mix the rapeseed oil, pomegranate molasses and sherry vinegar in a bowl. Put the steak in a flat dish and cover with the marinade. Leave for an hour or two, turning a couple of times. Meanwhile, simmer the farro in a litre of water for about 35 minutes or until tender. Make the dressing: blend or mix the ingredients together and check the seasoning. When the farro has been simmering for about 15 minutes, heat a griddle pan until smoking, season the steak with sea salt and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until nicely charred. This will bring the steak to medium- rare/medium — cook it any longer and it will be tough. Cover with foil and leave to rest. When the farro is tender, drain it and dress it while still warm. Add the pomegranate seeds, parsley and walnuts. Slice the steak in strips against the grain. Divide the farro salad between four plates and serve with the slices of steak on top.

James Whelan Butchers: Blackberry Time

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

The kids and I did some blackberry picking at the weekend.  It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again.  And where there are blackberries there are new school bags, packed to gills with new books and virgin stationery waiting to fulfil their very purpose.  In nature the schoolbag would be seen as one great big bag of potential seed.  If the student uses the contents wisely and on purpose the results can be explosive or perhaps the contents will be wasted, rushed through, thrown aside at every opportunity – the potential within never fully realised.   There’s something about blackberry time that, for me anyway, always heralds positive new beginnings.  It’s like the start of a new year all over again, which it is in a way.  It’s a chance to lay down new rules and have another fresh start.

There’s a different feel to the start of the new school year than there is to the start of the real New Year in January.  On the first of January we are all about resolutions, rousing ourselves from the winter lethargy and shaking off the excess of Christmas.  The beginning of the new school year however feels a little more supportive of change.  Like the start of the year when we are surrounded by new stuff from Christmas, the start of the school year is also about new stuff – but the ‘new stuff’ is much more utilitarian.  New lunchboxes, new schoolbags, new pencil cases and new uniforms speak silent motivating messages of work, routine, productiveness and learning.

Apple and blackberry crumble

With all of us on the cusp of this change it might be a good time to take stock of our eating patterns which also need to fall in line with our new routines.  The kids’ systems need to adjust also.  During the summer they have free access to the fridge all day.  At any time during play they can stop and announce “I’m hungry” and food of some sort will be provided.  School isn’t as relaxed and those little bodies will need enough fuel in them to take them from breakfast, through to lunch and on through the day.

While the kids face the routine of school we must also be a little more disciplined in our food preparation.  Once again we are working with both the clock and the body clock, both equally demanding.   My first bit of advice is to keep it simple and the second is to plan.

As students work out their timetables for school work and all the various extracurricular activity that seems to be the norm these days, it’s no harm for us to take a leaf out of their homework diaries and work out our own schedules.  How about stocking the larder first and then the freezer with quick meal basics?  What about sorting out a month’s worth of recipes and seeing where batch cooking, bulk buying and the clever use of leftovers for consecutive day cooking might just save you time and real money, not to mention stress.

While we are all well aware of the ills of long life foods, you should have a good supply of tinned tomatoes, beans, pasta, cous cous, quinoa, stock cubes, spices and the like to hand at all times.  With a well stocked home larder and a few fresh items a delicious meal can be whipped up in minutes.

I also think that the internet is your friend.  The inspiration and food education at your fingertips is immeasurable.  Check out the James Whelan Butchers website for some great recipes, ‘how to’ videos and you can even order your meat there and have it delivered to your door.  After a certain point in the order the delivery is free.  By all means pop in store too where you will see our range of ready prepped meals that are family winners in quality and value every time.

Beef & Vegetable CasseroleA good kitchen clear out before the kids go back to school is another good idea.  The work in the kitchen changes come school time.  Lunches have to be prepared once more and so the supplies for that should be handy and plentiful.  Setting up a proper lunch making station (a cupboard or even a shelf in a cupboard – just to mind the lunch stuff is really handy and stress relieving.)

I mentioned it briefly earlier but getting ahead is really the best way to save time and more importantly, money.  You don’t even have to cook full meals, just prep the main ingredients and pop them in the freezer.  You can also make all the freezer friendly winter favourites like stews, pies and homemade burgers for example.  And it just seems so much easier making them at your leisure during time off rather than at the end of a busy day.

Finally where we prepare our food and eat is just as important as what we eat.  Study after study has proven the cliché that families who eat together just do better!  The why is unimportant, but in these crazy, madcap days of the technology centric 21st Century, human contact is more important than ever.  At least a few times a week, if not once a day, sitting together to break bread and create some great food memories can be very nourishing.  Talking through the day, sharing the good moments and the bad, is important for our mental health as much as food is for our physical well being.  Sitting in a lovely space to eat with family together with natural and healthy home cooked food and it’s a great foundation for a very happy new school year.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers