Tough meat

Serves me right of course, I don’t usually buy meat from the supermarket but since the only remaining butcher reduced opening hours to mornings, I occasionally get caught out. This happened the other day and I noticed a pack of 4 fairly thick cuts of porc poitrine on special offer. Now we have enjoyed this in the past so I thought it would make a change and, as only one of them feeds both of us for one meal, seemd like a good idea.

I cooked one in the oven for half an hour or so and it seemed well cooked and enticing, but it was really tough and took a lot of pressure with both knife and fork to cut to eat, and then required much chewing. Tasted ok but a lot of work.

So what do you advise for the other 3? Not chucking away, that is not an option, but another way of cooking - longer, shorter, slow cooker? My thoughts are wandering towards the latter, for about 8 hours, just like the bourgignon. :thinking:

Slow cook boil-to-death. Or try roasting with lots of basting, e.g. in cider ?
My immediate vision of poitrine (presumably smoked ?) would be in a “pot au feu” or chopped up and cooked with lentils and a saucisse.

One of my main reasons for not eating meat, other than the alleged health benefits (saving the planet doesn’t get much of a look in, to be honest), is that the supermarket meat I have had occasion to buy over the years tends to be such poor quality, that I’ve given up on buying it, because I always end up being disappointed, irrespective of how its cooked.

My mind would turn to cassoulet type approach….slow cook, in liquid/veg and add something like can of beans or lentils towards tht end.

1 Like

Thank you both, and before coming back here again I had more or less made up my mind that you are both right, so the Crockpot it is, although too late for tonight’s dinner. But I will do them that way, only difference is that I have got out of the habit of cooking veg in the Crock with the meat preferring to make a rich sauce to accompany it and steam the veg seperately for half an hour before serving. This preserves the freshness and crunchiness of the veg. I always have half a dozen different vegs in the mix, and I have several of each, which means that my plate is piled high with them and one day I will take the plunge and make it without the animals. In fact I am convinced that the only purpose of the meat is to vary the taste. :roll_eyes:

@JaneJones The can of lentilles is a good idea shortly before serving.
@RicePudding When I first looked back in the thread I saw your name and thought, really ? Hmm, maybe not a bad idea. :rofl:

1 Like

Have you considered marinating a batch of the ribs?

My favourite head to tail local butcher is excellent for everything except pork (which unlike his other meats, I think may be industrially farmed). Fortunately,there’s a couple of stalls on Figeac market selling porc noir that’s been raised outdoors and has a much deeper flavour than the other stuff. I buy in bulk and freeze it.

It’s a couple of years since I was in the UK, but I remember greater promotion and labelling of outdoor reared and rare breeds pork than I see in SW France. Whereas local beef usually has a Cantal or Aubrac tag and veal is labelled ‘8 mois sous la mère’.

No I haven’t Mark, but I am a reluctant cook, I derive no pleasure from it, if I didn’t do it everything we ate would be raw. I do the very minimum required and I assume, of course I could be wrong, that marinating requires buying certain ingredients in advance for the purpose, arranging them with the meat in a certain way and then leaving them in a suitable place for a period of time before cooking them to eat. Sounds like work to me. But I thank you for the thought. :smiley:

In a way I do go through the above motions on average once a week with the preparations for the sauce to accompany either beef or chicken in the Crockpot. The results of that last for 3 meals for the 2 of us and some left over for the dog.

I buy a pack of 4 large chicken legs and cook them all at once that way. One of them feeds the dog, with croquettes, for 3 days, the other 3 lasts us both for 3 days also. At around a fiver I call that economical. The veg and all the spices etc that go with them are very cheap of course.


How about a pressure cooker?


Oh, that takes me back. I loved my pressure cooker back in the UK…

Me too, but that was before my marriage to Fran, 38 years ago and she is frightened of them so would never have one in the house. I always inisisted they’re safe but some time ago read of a near fatal accident with one. Don’t know the details but it might have been mis-used.

Anyway, they are in the Crockpot at the moment, due out around 8.30. :smiley:

1 Like

I bought lumps of beef that were like that. I don’t usually ‘do’ beef. Either it’s too expensive [good steak] or like this stuff, needs cooking but I don’t know how.

It was ‘yellow sticker’ [-50%] for a sizeable amount so I divvied it up and it’s in the freezer. I tried one lot, gave it 2 hrs but still came out too chewy by miles.

What would you recommend? I do not have a pr/cooker.



8 hours in a slow cooker. Tender and tasty. Just tested a chunk of this, after 7 hours 45 minutes, almost ready. The veg is steaming, we’ll eat in 15 minutes.

1 Like

I’d pop it in a pot on low heat with a quartered large onion, couple of big carrots sliced, half a cup of red wine and a splash of soy sauce. Leave it all day (8am to 6pm) at about 75 to 85 degrees.

If you feel inclined, add a little butter to the pot first and fry the beef enough to caramelise the butter and outside of the meat before adding the other ingredients. You can also add salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, capsicums, tomato puree to taste.

Use the juices for gravy, thickening with cornflower.

1 Like

Of course, it all depends on the cut of meat you are buying…
In the past, I would talk with the butcher and ask advice on how to make it delicious… :crossed_fingers: :+1:

Just keep stewing it - only just the tiniest bubble - on the lowest heat you have if stovetop, and keep topping up the water (with boiling water).

It will go through a stage of being hard if it"s some types of beef. Just keep it going, 4-5 hours not unknown, I’ve.done longer. After a very long while I often chuck in carrots, large-cut or whole medium spuds root veg. Some toss in wine. Some cook in stock (real or bought or those fake cubes). If adding stock or salt (stock cubes are often mostly salt) I add 3/4 of the way through if I think the meat is potentially tough. If I’ve got time marinating it in oil, onion etc for 1hr-overnight before cooking seems to help the softening.

Slow cookers available from time to time very.cheaply at Aldi or Lidl with 3 year guarantee just leave it all day. Get whatever size, usually 3.5 or 6 litre, that you will half-fill with the quantity you’re cooking including stock/water. If you’re feeling rich Lidl’s much-lauded Thermomix-type thingy is 200 euros if you have their app, for next few weeks and that does a lot including slowcook, pressure cook and a lot else.

1 Like

Ancient-Mariner yours is the posh version of mine! :slight_smile:

1 Like

PS you can do the same in the oven especially if you’ve got a cast iron casserole with a lid. Lowest gas heat or say 140-150C up to 8 hours, a few more hours if very low heat won’t kill it.

When we used to travel to competitions I would put it into a cold oven around 2pm on lowest gas heat, practically just a pilot light, when we returned 2am or 3am there was the perfect casserole. In that case I’d keep the root veg huge when leaving it all as with very long cooking even low, even root veg may disintegrate. If I’m around I tend to add root veg for last 1 and a half hours or so. Using cast iron makes it really cheap as practically no.fuel/flame needed, can also put on woodburner - that has enough heat


Mne would go ito a warm Rayburn before leaving for work, and come out around 6-6.30pm

1 Like

It was lovely and still enough left for 2 more meals each. Around €6 for 6 meals can’t be bad. Tomorrow it is Pukka steak and kidney pies from the chippy van. It only comes once a fortnight now so I buy 2 hot and 2 frozen each week to tide us over. I’ll do some veg with it, or maybe chips, then back to the stew again on Tuesday. The rest? Either frozen for another day or warmed up from the fridge later in the week. :joy:

1 Like

I curry and reheat, reheating it with curry is strangely much much better than currying it the first time it’s cooked.

Vero look away : I have cracked the secret of why French supermarket curry powder is so insipid. It needs a dollop of ginger adding.

The other thing you can do if you reheat is whack a pastry topping over it - Vero look away again : just use the prerolled supermarket stuff. A thicker version if available - “Marie” brand has one, or a cheapie. Prick it all over then bake on top of the next round of your saved-back stew. Also better if it’s a re-heat.

You can also shred it up or chop smaller, whack in some form of tomato if you didn’t already and mix with pappardelle - hard to get in France so you might have to make do with tagliatelle or spaghetti. Whack in a bit of oregano if you didn’t already or make up some English mustard to go alongside if you have any - Dijon doesn’t work for this.

You can add extra veg (like other leftovers or my fave frozen peas) on any reheating operation.