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Start this recipe a week in advance – it calls for a long marinade. Spiced beef is always a hit at Christmas, but try slow roasting it on a barbecue for something altogether different. It's good with a simple potato gratin and a lightly dressed salad, or with mash, cabbage and mustard. Or let it cool and slice it thin for sandwiches. For a more Italian approach, see our recipe for bresaola.


  • 1kg beef joint
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 50g each of cracked peppercorns (pink ones will be particularly good), allspice & juniper berries
  • 5g ground cinnamon
  • 80g salt


  1. Rub the dry ingredients into the beef. Place it in a plastic zip-lock bag and refrigerate in a bowl for 1 week, turning daily.
  2. Preheat oven to 140ºC/Gas 1. Rinse off any excess spices, pat dry and place in a casserole dish (with lid) and add a glass of water.
  3. Cover the pan with a double layer of foil, fitting it tightly over the pan to prevent any evaporation and put on the lid. Cook in the oven for 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool for 2 hours with the lid on.
  5. You can either eat it immediately (try with mash, cabbage, mustard and the broth), or wrap it in foil and film and press under a bag of sugar overnight.

Cooks notes

To serve the beef cold, unwrap the beef and carve it thinly. It is good with potato salads, mustard, gherkins, ‘Chrain’ style beetroot creations and horseradish sauce.
want to cook with fresh ingredients? try one of our award winning veg boxes