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Serves 4


For the pearl barley:

200g pearl barley

500ml Skye black ale, room temperature

5g dried yeast

For the mushroom stock:

100g button mushrooms

1 carrot, finely sliced

1 leek, finely sliced

1 onion, finely sliced

1 stick of celery

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 sprig of thyme

3 bay leaves

12 whole coffee beans

Pinch of sea salt

For the pearl barley risotto:

100g unsalted butter

2 small onions, peeled and finely chopped

Sea salt

For the braised Highland beef:

1 kg beef shoulder or brisket on the bone

Vegetable oil

2 onions, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 stick of celery

2 cloves, lightly crushed

1 sprig of rosemary

2 bay leaves

500ml elderberry wine

2 litres beef stock

Sea salt


To serve:

100g wild mushrooms

25g unsalted butter

50ml mushroom stock

12 chervil sprigs, wood sorrel or wild watercress to garnish


For the pearl barley, to be prepared the day before:

Mix the beer and yeast together and pour over the grains.

Cover in cling film and leave overnight at room temperature.

The next morning, strain the liquid and barley and keep to one side.

On the day…

For the mushroom stock:

Add all of the ingredients to a pan and cover in water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes on a gentle simmer, then strain and set aside.

For the pearl barley risotto:

Cook the butter over a medium heat until it just turns brown.

Add the onions to the pan, lower the heat, and season with a pinch of salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the onions are soft, but not coloured.

Add the pearl barley and cook for two minutes, and slowly added the fermented beer. Cook until reduced, then add the mushroom stock a little at a time. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

For the braised Highland beef:

Preheat the oven to 140°C.

Heat a casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid over a high heat. Brush the meat with a little vegetable oil and season with salt. Add the meat to the pan and colour on both sides for about 2 minutes.

Add the vegetables and cook for 4-6 minutes until coloured. De-glaze the pan with the wine, rosemary and bay leaves. Reduce the liquid by half, then add the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid.

Braise in the pre-heated oven for 4-6 hours, until the meat is tender and falls off the bone. Remove from the oven and leave to rest with the lid on for one hour.

Remove the meat from the liquid, strain, and reduce the liquid in the pan until it thickens – the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove the bone and fat from the meat, and shred the meat down. Mix the meat with the braising liquid and season with salt and pepper.

To serve:

Add the mushrooms, butter and mushroom stock to a hot pan. Cook for 2 minutes and season to taste.

Heat the braised beef up and serve with the risotto and stock. Garnish with the chervil sprigs, wood sorrel or wild watercress.