What’s cooking today: Beef short rib with lavender & orange

What’s cooking today: Beef short rib with lavender & orange
Tony Jackman’s beef short rib with lavender and orange, served in a Mervyn Gers Ceramics bowl. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Fragrant and perfumed in a way reminiscent of old Persian cuisine, this recipe reminds us that lavender is not only there for show or for garnishing posh hotel bed linen. It’s good for the pot too.

Catching a whiff of lavender at my front gate the other morning, I glanced towards my right at the navel oranges ripe for the picking. In my hand was a shopping bag with beef short rib in it. That’s how recipes are born.

I’ve often cooked beef with orange over the years. It’s a marriage that works, along with garlic and the kind of herb that holds its own with citrus, such as oregano or rosemary. But that lavender was calling to me, so it became the herb to balance with the orange juice, peel and even leaves.

Short rib is one of my favourite cuts of beef. It carries loads of flavour, enhanced by that fatty cap. But, like brisket, it needs very slow cooking to become perfectly tender. It’s worth the wait.


1 kg beef short rib, in thick chunks

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, diced

2 leeks, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 lavender sprigs

4 orange leaves

Peel of half an orange and grated zest of the other half (but no pith)

Juice of the whole orange, after you’ve peeled and zested it

1 litre beef stock

Black pepper to taste

Coarse salt to taste

1 Tbsp cornflour dissolved in 2 Tbsp water


In a heavy pot, brown the meat in olive oil and remove to a bowl.

Add more oil and sauté the onions, carrots and leeks together, with the garlic, until softened.

Add the meat back to the pot, pour in the beef stock, and add the lavender sprigs and the orange leaves, peel, zest and juice.

Season with black pepper and salt.

Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the meat is tender.

Stir in the dissolved cornflour and let it simmer until the stock has thickened into a sauce.

Serve with couscous. Garnish, of course, with lavender and orange leaves. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

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