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Pot-roast topside of beef with juniper berries and wild mushrooms

Food blogger Ren Behan’s pot-roast topside of Irish beef recipe is one of the ultimate comfort food dishes for winter, with the cosy scent of juniper permeating the wonderful sauce. Serve with some creamy mash and a glass of red.


1.25kg beef topside, with a thin layer of fat

2 tbsp of vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

1 stick of celery, washed and peeled

4 carrots, peeled, cubed

1 garlic clove, crushed

250g of wild mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

6 juniper berries

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

700ml of beef stock

2 tsp cornflour, to thicken

1 tsp butter, chilled

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper



Take the beef joint out of the fridge at least an hour before you begin cooking


Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3


Heat a large frying pan and add the oil. Fry the onions for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes. Tip the vegetables into a large 24cm casserole pot, with a lid


Place the beef joint into the same frying pan, fat-side down, and cook for 5–6 minutes, until the fat begins to render. Move the beef around the pan and flip it over to colour it on all sides. This will take around 10 minutes in total. Once the beef has started to take on some colour, place it on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish


Add the wild mushrooms to the frying pan and fry for 5 minutes, so that they soak up any juices and fat from the beef. Tip the mushrooms into the casserole. Add the juniper berries, bay leaves and fresh thyme


Season well with sea salt and black pepper and pour over the beef stock. Ideally, the beef should be completely covered. If not, add a cupful of hot water


Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes


Remove the beef from the oven and place it on a plate to rest. Snip away any string and cover it with foil


Place the casserole dish with the vegetables in it onto the stove. Remove the juniper berries, bay leaves and thyme sprigs


Mix 2 tsp cornflour with a little water and stir in. Bring to the boil and allow the sauce to thicken. Whisk in 1 tsp butter


To serve the beef, carve into thick pieces, transfer to a large, deep serving platter and pour over the sauce. Serve with celeriac or potato mash and a good bottle of red wine

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