At this year’s Great Taste Awards, James Whelan Butchers’ Beef Dripping not only picked up the Golden Fork Award for Ireland (which is given to the best product in the country) – but was then also awarded the Supreme Champion Trophy. Boom!
Seeing the upsurge of interest in heritage foods and traditional ingredients, Pat Whelan (a fifth generation butcher) from James Whelan Butchers was inspired to create his own dripping from the purest suet made from grass fed Irish Angus and Hereford beef.
From over 10,000 entries, the Great Taste judges awarded the top honour to the butchers in Tipperary because it was “a pure distillation of bovine goodness”. The dripping has been included in the top 50 products in the competition both this year and last year, and produced utter nostalgia among the judges, who enjoyed its meaty flavour and the balance of sweet and savouriness.
MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, described the product as an ‘old friend’ and James Golding, chef director of The Pig hotel group, was ‘taken back to his childhood’.
With Christmas just weeks away, I got my mitts on some yesterday and tried it on some roast potatoes. As you can see above, the dripping itself comes simply wrapped in white waxed paper and stays fresh for up to six months when stored in a cool dark place. I’d say the fridge is best.
Because it’s nutrient rich and high in omega-3 acids, the fat is clean, pure and carries great flavour, whether frying a steak, roasting potatoes or vegetables. There are a whole load of recipes on the James Whelan site here.
James Whelan’s recipe for roast potatoes favours the traditional method of par-boiling a floury potato like a Maris Piper in salted water for roughly 10 minutes. Drain and return them to the saucepan, put the lid on and give it a good shake to roughen the edges.
Put a few tablespoons of dripping into a roasting tin and place in the oven for about 10 minutes. As you can see above, the dripping looks like a whiter, more pure lard, so it needs to be melted before you can add anything to it. One thing I’d say is that it’s a strong flavour that goes far, so you probably need a little less than you’d imagine.
To complete these roastie bad boys, simply add the potatoes to the tin, turning to make sure that they’re basted in the fat. Sprinkle with fine sea salt and cook for about an hour or until crisp and golden.
I also tested out the Flavours of Christmas seasoning sachet from Saison! that came in this month’s Flavourly box. The Golden Roasted Vegetables one is perfect for carrots and parsnips; simply sprinkle over your root vegetables with a drizzle of oil to coat them in a paste, and roast as normal.
Both turned out to be excellent; but the beef dripping was truly wonderful. I couldn’t agree more that it’s the absolute epitome of a beef roast, which a hearty taste and makes totally perfect, crispy roast potatoes. I am a FAN.
Buy from Harrods instore, or online for €5.99 (plus shipping) from James Whelan here