Beef Cakes

Inspired by a nineteenth century recipe, these Beef Cakes are an ingenious and delicious way to use up leftover beef.

Deja Food
From the book Deja Food
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This recipe is an adaptation of something I found in a nineteenth-century recipe book, and a great way for making cold beef into a tasty and appetising new dish. The recommmendation was for it to be served hot for breakfast, but this might be a little too out of the ordinary for modern tastes. I can see it being a great brunch dish or an easy Monday-night supper, especially if prepared beforehand from the Sunday joint. The quick frying of the assembled cakes is only intended to colour the tops and bottoms of the potato; the heat won't reach the meat patty. The cakes can then be chilled until needed and then only require a thorough warming in the oven before serving.

Serves 4


150g cold, preferably underdone beef
50g lean bacon
25g fresh suet
1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
1tbsp walnut ketchup (pickling liquid from a jar of pickled walnuts)
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tbsp beef stock or 1 tbsp Bovril mixed with 2 tbsp hot water, cooled
400g mashed potato
salt and pepper
butter, for frying


Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.

Mince or finely chop the beef and bacon. Add the suet, chopped onion, parsley, ketchup and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and divide into 4 portions. Shape into patties.

Season the mashed potato and divide into 8 portions. Spoon a layer of mashed potato on top of each meat patty and pat into shape.

Turn the patty over and add a second layer of potato. The cakes should now resemble a burger in a bun, but with potato in place of the bun.

Melt a little butter in a pan and fry the cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side over a high heat, until nicely browned and starting to crisp. Transfer to a baking tray and warm through in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

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