Cookery: Perfect comfort meals from Irish foodie duo Gastro Gays

What's Cooking

Cookery: Perfect comfort meals from Irish foodie duo Gastro Gays

Slow cooker beef brisket ragu

Looking for the perfect comfort meal as the weather chills? We’ve teamed up with Gastro Gays to create a hearty meal, sure to have all the family going back for seconds!

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Ragu requires very little hands-on cooking and is so simple and versatile. Not only that, but it’s perfect for batch cooking.

Serve with any pasta of your choice, or gnocchi or a baked potato if you prefer.

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Ragu

Serves 4-6


• 800g - 1kg beef brisket, cut into 6-8 even pieces

• A little seasoned flour, to coat

• A little butter and oil, for frying

For the sauce

• 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

• A handful of mushrooms (around 100g), sliced

• 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 tsp salt

• 1 tsp

• 1 tbsp tomato purée concentrate

• 125ml red or white wine

• 400g passata

• 3 tbsp milk

• 1 tbsp Siúcra sugar


1. Coat the brisket pieces in the seasoned flour and brown in a medium frying pan - bubbling with butter and a little oil - until nicely golden on all sides. Remove and add the wine to deglaze, scraping pan to remove any ‘caught’ bits and follow with the tomato purée. Keeping the heat on medium, allow these both to cook down and concentrate until you’re left with about 3-4 tablespoonfuls.

2. In the slow cooker pot, add this sauce, followed by the browned beef and all of the sauce ingredients, except the milk. Stir everything to combine and clamp on the lid.

3. Cook on ‘low’ setting for 8-10 hours or ‘high’ for 4-5 hours but check for tenderness hourly about half-way through. Add the milk for the last 30 minutes (or 10 minutes on high).

4. Serve with your choice of pasta or carbohydrate –– or even between two slices of bread!

Sticky Lemon Chicken with Rice

With recreating your favourite restaurant dishes at home becoming more common, we’ve also created the perfect fake-away dish!

Think of this as a chicken stir-fry, with the volume turned up where flavour is concerned.

The Siúcra sweetness and the citric sharpness from lemon is combined together for the ideal flavour combo.

Serve with rice and even soak and stir through some cashews if you like or add some crunch at the last minute with slices of white onion.

Serves 2-4


For the marinade

• 2 tbsp shaoixing rice wine (or white wine)

• 2 tbsp light soy sauce

• 1 tbsp lemon juice

• 2 tsp cornflour

For the stock (Optional)

• Chicken bones and wings/wing tips

• 1 brown onion, skin-on and cut into eighths

• 1 bulb of garlic, skin-on and halved

• 1 carrot, cleaned and chopped

• 75ml wine or shaoixing rice wine, to deglaze

• Lemon peels (optional)

• Water, to top up

• 1 free-range chicken, jointed, or a packet of chicken breasts or thighs

• 50g Siúcra caster sugar

• A handful of sesame seeds

• 1-2 tsp each Nam Pla (fish sauce) and sesame oil

• 2 tsp cornflour

• 3 lemons, peeled and juiced plus extra for garnish

• Sesame seeds (black, white or a combination of both)

• Rice, to serve


1. If using a whole chicken, joint and skin the chicken, reserving the bones for stock (break them down into smaller pieces if possible). Season the bones in salt and brown in a large saucepan in a little oil until golden, followed by the onion, carrot and garlic. Deglaze the pot (scraping the bottom) with the wine before following with enough stock to cover the ingredients and bring it to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the lemon peels (optional) and allow to infuse its flavour into the broth for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make your marinade and add to your chicken –– whether using thigh meat, breast meat or a combination of both, cut into bite-size pieces. Cover and allow to sit for 30-45 minutes in the fridge.

3. When the stock has given both colour and flavour, check for seasoning and then drain, removing all the chicken bones and vegetables. Take 200ml of this broth and in a saucepan reduce by half, then leave to one side.

4. In a frying pan or pot on a medium heat, add 1 tsp or so of oil and add your chicken, taking care not to add any leftover or excess marinade to the pan. Allow the chicken to cook on all sides until no more pink flesh can be seen and add in your reduced stock, bringing to the boil and then reducing to a simmer.

5. Add the cornflour to the lemon juice, stirring to dissolve and add to the pan alongside the sugar. Allow everything to reduce to a sticky glaze coating, which may take a couple of minutes, removing whilst thick but still light in colour as it will continue to darken as it cooks down.

6. Serve immediately with rice of your choice, topping with thin slices or crescents of the leftover lemon and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

For more recipe inspiration, visit or follow us on Instagram:



More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.