Tips from Chef Stuart Ralston

Tips from Chef Stuart Ralston

Stuart Ralston is the head chef and renowned restaurateur in Edinburgh, and an expert in creating delicious dishes using the freshest ingredients. He’s given us some handy tips on how to ensure your meat stays tender and the best marinades to use, as well as providing us with a simple recipe for Scotch Beef PGI with a wonderful parsnip puree and cherry mustard sauce.

What are some easy things you can do to ensure meat stays tender when cooking?

I think one thing that really helps is using a lower temperature to cook your meats. For instance, going from 200°C to 165°C will drastically improve the tenderness. It will take slightly longer to cook but low and slow is such a great motto when trying to achieve the perfectly tender meat.

Do you have any tips on marinating Scotch Beef and Lamb? What would you recommend?

I think marinating has its place, and we would usually marinade lamb shoulder with salt, garlic, rosemary and olive oil overnight before braising or roasting. This gives a greater depth of flavour and when dealing with bigger cuts of meat, marinating is especially important to help layer up the flavour.

In your opinion, what’s the best way to cook a Scotch Beef steak?

In my humble opinion, I will always cook my Scotch Beef steak in foaming butter with loads of garlic and thyme, constantly basting it to keep it moist.

Scotch Beef with Parsnip Puree and Cherry Mustard Sauce

Serves 2


  • 2x 100g Flat iron Scotch Beef PGI steaks
  • 50g butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2tbsps vegetable oil
  1. Heat a pan until very hot before adding oil. Meanwhile, season your steaks with salt before adding them to the pan and searing them on one side for two minutes.
  2. Add butter, thyme, garlic to the pan and turn over the steak, searing for a further two minutes. Place the steaks in the oven at 160°C for three minutes, continuously basting them with the buttery juices from the pan. Leave it on a rack to rest for five minutes.

Parsnip Puree

  • 500g parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 125g cream
  • 125g whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Place the parsnips, cream, milk, and butter into a medium pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and cover with a lid, leaving it to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the parsnips are very soft.
  3. Uncover and cook for about five minutes until the liquid is reduced by half. Season with some salt, and then puree in a blender.

Cherry Mustard Sauce

  • 100g shallots, finely chopped
  • 50g fennel, finely chopped
  • 100g cabernet sauvignon vinegar
  • 80ml red wine
  • 200g sour cherries
  • 25g sugar
  • 50g grain mustard
  • 10g pickled mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch of allspice
  • 3 tblsps olive oil
  1. Sweat the shallots and fennel in olive oil until they turn translucent.
  2. Add them to the remaining ingredients in a pot and cook on a very low temperature for at least an hour until they reach a jam-like texture.

Top your steak with the puree and the sauce, and then garnish with watercress leaves.

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