Ask the expert: What is beef dripping and why is it staging a culinary comeback?
Master Butcher Pat Whelan
"years ago, dripping would have been found in every kitchen up and down the land. Dripping, as the name suggests, is the fat that drips from meat as it cooks. If you cook a roast of beef, the joint juice left in the pan is dripping. We usually pour off all but a few teaspoons of this hot liquid fat and use it to make gravy. It's the dripping that gives the gravy a great meaty flavour and every serious cook should have dripping to hand.
"In our wisdom, my generation traded flavourful dripping for commercially produced oils and fats, but we're now seeing a reversal. It's good for browning beef as you are adding another layer of deep flavour to the already beefy taste.
"Last Christmas a dripping vs goose fat debate broke out around roast potatoes. Nigella Lawson was pro-goose fat while Heston Blumenthal was for beef dripping. The debate concluded that while goose fat was the secret to a perfectly crisp roast spud, beef dripping was where the taste was."
Beef dripping produced in Clonmel by butcher Pat Whelan has been named one of the Top 50 best foods in the UK and Ireland. €3.99 online at www.JamesWhelanButchers.com or from James Whelan Butchers, Clonmel, Avoca Food Market, Monkstown, or Avoca, Rathcoole