Slow far, so good: Take it easy with Mark Hix's guide to slow cooking

Take your time – meat cooked for hours in the oven will reward you with the strongest flavours and the most succulent textures

The idea of slow cooking for hours often steers people away from buying the good-value, third-division cuts of meat – but it is a great way to get strong flavours out of such cuts.

I often hear that people don't like leaving things cooking overnight, or while they are out, which is fair enough – but there isn't much that can go wrong with a long, slow cook unless you get waylaid in the pub or go to work and forget you have something in the oven. I bought a pressure cooker a few years back which works a treat for slow cooking, as it takes half the time and you just use the base as a large saucepan.

Breast of lamb with chickpeas

Serves 4

Breast of lamb is a cut rarely used. Its fattiness puts people off, but slowly cooked, it makes for a tasty, economical meal. You could even stuff it with some minced lamb and offal, if you were feeling adventurous.

1 small onion, peeled, halved and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2tbsp thyme leaves
1tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

1tbsp vegetable or corn oil
1 onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 stick of celery, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A small piece of root ginger (30g) peeled and finely grated
½tsp ground cinamon
1tsp cumin seeds
1 can of chopped tomatoes
½ltr chicken stock
150g soaked and cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed
2tbsp chopped coriander

Lay the lamb on a work surface and scatter the onion, garlic, thyme and cumin down the centre, then roll up tightly and tie with string every 2-3cm.

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Heat a roasting pan in the oven for 10 minutes, season the lamb; roast for 25-30 minutes, turning every so often. Meanwhile, gently cook the onion, garlic, ginger, celery, cinnamon and cumin seeds in the vegetable oil for a couple of minutes, until they soften. Add the tomatoes and stock, and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 160C/gas mark 3, and continue cooking for another hour. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat, then pour the chickpea sauce over, cover with foil and continue cooking for another hour. Test a piece of lamb by slicing a piece off the end to check if it's tender.

To serve, remove the lamb, allow to cool a little and remove the string. Cut the lamb into 1-2cm-thick slices, arrange on serving plates and pour the sauce over.

Pork Osso bucco

Serves 4

This is an unusual cut for pork but there's no reason a good butcher shouldn't do it for you.

4 x 350g centre-cut pieces of shin of pork, or 8 smaller pieces
Flour for dusting
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

For the sauce

50g butter
1 onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 medium carrot, trimmed, peeled and cut into ½cm dice
200g celeriac, peeled and cut into ½cm dice
A good pinch of saffron
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
1tbsp flour
60g tomato purée
100ml white wine
1½ltrs beef stock

Serve Pork Osso bucco with creamed polenta or mashed potato (Jason Lowe) Serve Pork Osso bucco with creamed polenta or mashed potato (Jason Lowe)
Lightly flour and season the pieces of pork. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the pieces of pork until nicely coloured on both sides, then remove from the pan and put to one side.

In a large, heavy-based pan gently cook the onion, garlic, carrot and celeriac in the butter until soft. Add the saffron, thyme and tomato purée and cook for a minute or so, then stir in the flour. Gradually whisk in the wine and the stock and bring to the boil.

Add the pieces of pork and cook slowly on top of the stove with a lid on, or in a medium-heat oven, for about 1-1½ hours, or until the meat is tender. The sauce should be quite thick by now; if not, remove the pieces of pork and simmer the sauce until it thickens, then return the pork.

Serve with creamed polenta or mashed potato.

Cadwell's spiced, slow-cooked beef brisket

Serves 6-8

Last summer, an old school chum of mine, Nick Cadwell, invited a few friends over to celebrate the completion of his newly-built, wood-fired brick oven. I must say, it's the best looking oven I've seen, excluding Mr Lowe's in Italy, of course. It looks more like a temple than your normal brick oven.

Nick has all sorts of cooking gadgets, including a Bradley Smoker – for smoking foods – that I use for my De Beauvoir smoked salmon.

Cadwell's spiced, slow-cooked beef brisket (Jason Lowe) Cadwell's spiced, slow-cooked beef brisket (Jason Lowe)
I used the smoker to make this recipe; it doesn't exactly cold-smoke the meat, but is great for slow cooking and smoking at the same time.

I've also just had a Kamado Jo grill delivered, which is a fantastic looking outdoor barbecue/smoker and works great here, too.

Of course, you may not have either of the above gadgets and so a slow cook in the oven will do the trick perfectly, all the same.

A piece of beef brisket weighing about 1-1½kg
2tbsp cayenne pepper
3tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
2tbsp sea salt
2tbsp onion powder
1tbsp garlic powder
½tbsp curry powder
1tbsp dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Mix all of the spices together, place the beef brisket in a roasting tray and rub the spices in.

Cook in the oven for about 4 hours in total, covering the brisket in foil after 2 hours. The meat should be very tender by now – if not, cook it for a little longer until it's sliceable, but not just falling apart.

Serve with a seasonal salad or coleslaw.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

    Sports coaching volunteer jobs

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Kaya Responsible Travel offer a variety of sp...

    Turtle Nesting and Coral Reef Conservation in Borneo

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Volunteer with Kaya in Borneo and work on a p...

    Elephant research project in Namibia

    Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: If you have a passion for elephants and want ...

    Day In a Page

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit