‘Olives’ of meat appear all over the British Isles but this preparation from Catharine Brown is unusual in three respects. It adds sausage; pork other than bacon and other cures is rarely encountered in the Scots kitchen; and skirlie is rarely encountered outside Scotland. Enough good fastish food for four.
- 1 lb beef skirt cut into thin strips about 2½ inches wide
- ½ lb uncased sausage
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil or beef dripping if you have it.
- a diced onion
- beef stock to a level ¾ of the way up your olives
- Salt and pepper
- Roll some sausage up inside each slice of meat and secure each olive with a toothpick.
- Brown the olives in the oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet big enough to hold them in a single layer, remove them and brown the onion dice in turn.
- Lay the olives on them and pour over the stock.
- Add the stock, bring it to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer that barely burps a few times a minute and cook the olives until tender, usually in 20 minutes or less.
- Take the olives from the pot and keep them warm while you violently boil the stock down to the consistency nearly of a glaze, then season it: Go light on the salt due to the assertive presence of the sausage.
- Paint the olives with the sauce and serve them with skirlie and whatever else you choose, but do choose the skirlie.
-The elusive recipe for skirlie, a Scottish staple of marquee stature, appears elsewhere in the practical.
-Brown’s original recipe specifies rump, or round, steak. We find skirt more forgiving but either will do.
-Worcestershire? Hot sauce? Up to you, but do not fuss up the meaty cast of the dish with anything otherwise useful like mushrooms, unless you just cannot resist.