Georgina Campbell's Cookery Feature - New Image for Northern Irish Food

Born & Braised

Thanks to its inspiring leaders, brilliant calendar of events throughout the year and enthusiastic support from producers, chefs ad the general public, Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink 2016 was a huge success - and the legacy lives on.

A number of imaginative initiatives are keeping up the momentum and one - unveiled just before Christmas at Belfast’s St George’s Market - was the creation of a new signature dish for Northern Ireland, to showcase the great range and quality of local ingredients available, and demonstrate the way that chefs are using them in contemporary cooking that gives a respectful nod to tradition.

Rounding off the year in style, Tourism NI tasked four of the region’s most respected chefs to create ‘Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish’. Known as the ‘cooking collective’ (and all well known to followers of the Guide), the four who created the final three dishes are Niall McKenna of James Street South in Belfast; Ian Orr of Browns Restaurant and Ardtara House in Derry-Londonderry; Kelan McMichael of Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch; and Chris McGowan of Wine and Brine in County Armagh - no better men, and they had a lot of fun coming up with a shortlist of three dishes showcasing a diverse range of ingredients from across Northern Ireland.

The three shortlisted dishes - ‘Born and Braised’, ‘Jowled Eel’ and ‘Buttermilked Lamb’ - were put to a public vote, with the beef dish ‘Born and Braised’ eventually taking the title Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish. Look out for the winning dish (and probably the other two as well) on restaurant menus across Northern Ireland - or have a go at cooking them at home.


Ingredients used in the dishes have been sourced from Northern Ireland food and drink producers and suppliers. Wild garlic is usually available from late January onwards and must be washed before use; Comber Early Potatoes come into season in early summer.


Shin of Northern Irish beef served with beetroot and bone marrow gremolata (Serves 4-6)


The brine:

4 litres water
400g salt
150g sugar
400ml black treacle (supermarket)
3 bay leaves (farm shop)
4 cloves garlic (or use wild garlic; can be foraged in various locations and is a seasonal product available late winter early spring)
25g pickling spices (farm shops, delicatessens)
250g honey (any good farm shop)

The beef:

3-4kg Peter Hannan’s shin of beef (bone in) (Hannan Meats in Moira available at the Meat Merchant shop in Moira and local butchers. A local butcher could also order it in)
3 carrots (local farm shop)
1 onion (Milgro in Limavady)
2 celery sticks (farm shop)
1 leek (Roy Lyttle leeks)
2 bulbs garlic cut in half (or use wild garlic; can be foraged in various locations such as Cave Hill)
500ml Northern Irish artisan Dark Ale, such as Belfast Black (Whitewater Brewery in Kilkeel)
300ml Comber honey (Ballystockart Honey, Comber, any local farm shop)
250ml red wine vinegar (can be purchased in local delicatessens)
50g salt


8 beetroots (any good farm shop)
200ml red wine vinegar (Arcadia Delicatessen in Belfast)
40g sugar
20g salt
2 litres water
Bone marrow gremolata:
Zest of 2 lemons (local fruit and vegetable shops)
40g grated horseradish (delicatessens and farm shops)
20g table celery or fresh parsley chopped finely (local fruit and vegetable shops)
400g Peter Hannan’s bone marrow, cooked and diced (available at the Meat Merchant shop at Hannan Meats in Moira, or order from local butchers)
400g croutons
4 cloves garlic, chopped (or use wild garlic; can be foraged in various locations such as Cave Hill)
20ml Broighter Gold rapeseed oil (Harnett Oil)


For the brine:

Bring the water, salt, sugar, black treacle, bay leaves, garlic, pickling spices and honey to the boil and then leave to cool.

For the beef:

Add the shin of beef to the brine and leave for 24 hours.

Remove the beef from the brine and discard the brine.

Seal the beef all over on the hob and then place it in a deep roasting dish.

Slice the carrots, onion, celery, leek and sauté the vegetables along with the 2 bulbs of garlic until caramelised. Once caramelised, add to the roasting dish with the beef. Pour the ale, honey, red wine vinegar and salt over the beef. Cover the beef with water, place greaseproof paper on top and then cover with tin foil.

Cook in a preheated oven (140º C) for 4 hours.

After cooking, remove the beef. Pass the remaining stock from the roasting dish through a sieve into a pan. Heat this stock on the hob until syrupy. Season as required and pour over the beef shin.

For the beetroots:

Clean the beetroots under cold water, then place into a pot. Add the red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and water and boil for 15 minutes. Leave the beetroots to cool in the water. When cool, peel the beetroots and set aside.

For the bone marrow gremolata:

Mix the lemon zest, grated horseradish, table celery, cooked and diced bone marrow, croutons, diced garlic and rapeseed oil together.
To finish the dish, place the beef onto a serving dish. Add the beetroots and put into the oven (180º C) for 10 minutes to glaze. Add the bone marrow to the serving dish and serve.


Buttermilked Lamb

Buttermilked Lamb


2 kg leg of lamb (Glenarm Organic Beef and Lamb, Glenarm / Hannan Meats, Moira / O'Kane Meats Ltd, Claudy, and local butchers)
1/2 bunch rosemary (Local farm shop)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (Local farm shop)
1 pint buttermilk (Dale Farm in supermarket)
Wild garlic (you can forage for wild garlic in various locations across NI such as Downhill Demesne. This is a seasonal product usually available late winter/early spring and must be washed before use)


Chop the rosemary and place in a bowl with the garlic salt/pepper. Shred the wild garlic and add to the bowl. Pour over the buttermilk and rub the mixture into the lamb.

Place in a container and cover with cling film. Leave in the fridge for 24 hours. Bring the lamb out of the fridge 2 hours before cooking.

Preheat your oven to 180ºC. In a heavy based pan, caramelise the lamb on all sides for approximately 6 minutes and place in the oven on a preheated tray and cook for 14 minutes then remove and leave to rest for 15 minutes and serve.

This joint works well on the barbecue in the summer.



1 bunch wild garlic (you can forage for wild garlic in various locations across NI such as Downhill Demesne)
1tsp mustard. (local grocery stores or delicatessens)
1/2 bunch mint (Helen’s Bay Organic or any good farm shop)
150ml rapeseed oil (Broighter Gold, Limavady, or Harnett’s Oils)


Blanch the wild garlic in boiling salted water then refresh in iced water. Drain and squeeze out excess water and place in a blender with the mustard and mint then gradually add the oil. Season to taste then serve alongside the lamb.

Perfect with steamed Comber Early potatoes (available at various locations including Farmer’s Markets)
Seaweed Butter (Abernethy Butter stockists)


Jowled Eel Recipe & Buttermilk Bun

Jowled Eel Recipe & Buttermilk Bun


150g smoked eel (Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-operative in Toomebridge/Creightons)
300g pork cheek (The Meat Merchant, Moira, or order from good butchers)
1 litre chicken stock (Carol’s stock market or local deli)
200g chicken wings (local butchers and Moy Park)
1 large onion, sliced (Milgro in Limavady)
1 garlic cloves, chopped (or wild garlic; can be found in various locations such as Clare Glen, Co. Armagh. This is a season product available late winter and early spring)
1 leek, sliced Roy Lyttle leeks
2 sticks of celery, saving any celery leaf for garnish (local fruit and vegetable shops and supermarkets/ farm shop)
1tsp thyme, (farm shop)
50g seaweed, kelp/dulse, (St George’s market/farm shop)
1 bunch spring onions, (local independent stockists of Roy Lyttle Limited)
50g butter (Donnybrewer butter/Dromona)


In a roasting pan, caramelise the chicken wings in the oven at 180ºC until golden brown.

Then in a heavy based pan, season and caramelise the pork cheek and then remove and leave to one side. In the same pan caramelise the onion with the garlic, leek, celery, thyme, parsley, add the chicken wings and chicken stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat.

Cook it for 1 hr then pass through a sieve and pour over the cheeks. Braise for 1 hour then leave to cool in the stock.

To serve place 1 cheek in each warm serving bowl, dice the smoked eel into 2cm cubes and place in the bowls. Add the trimmings to the braising liquor, slice the spring onions and place on top.

Heat the braising liquid and pour over the eel and cheek and serve. You can use pork belly if you can't get cheek for this recipe.


BUTTERMILK BUN Makes approx 12 x 50g buns

350g strong flour (Andrews Flour)
15 g dried yeast
250ml buttermilk (Dale Farm)
20g sugar.
25g salt.
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp rapeseed oil (Broighter Gold or Harnetts Oil)


Combine all dry ingredients except the baking powder into a mixing bowl and gradually add the buttermilk to make a bread-like dough.

Cover with cling film and prove for 1 hour, or until it is double in size then knock back by hand.

Add the baking powder and knead for 2/3 minutes. Roll by hand roughly 50 gram balls and place on an oiled baking sheet cover and prove for 40mins.

Line a bamboo steamer with parchment paper and steam the buns for 7 minutes and serve straight away. Note: they freeze really well.

For more about Northern Ireland’s New Signature Dish log on to; see also Discover NI Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, hashtag #SignatureDishNI.

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