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Potting has been with us for centuries. Not as in pottery, but as in the best of all thrifty ways to turn leftovers, excesses and cheap cuts into delicious snacking food, and to extend their shelf life. Potted meats and fish are, obviously, the antecedents of the beef and fish pastes that might once have sweltered in sandwiches tucked into bicycle saddlebags or picnic hampers. This particular recipe for potted beef, made from scratch and lightly spiced was given to me by Anne Petch, the traditional meat producer at Heal Farm in Devon, many years ago. It redeems the meat paste sandwich: spread thickly in sturdy bread, with slices of tomato or cucumber, and mildly bitter crisp salad leaves to add freshness. Or serve it as a first course, with thick slices of hot griddled bread, a light salad and pickled walnuts.
The tasty, fatty, salty tang of potted beef chimes beautifully with the savoury, almost smoky taste of a Syrah.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in August 2006.