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Tom Simmons' Braised Jacobs Ladder

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 2 hours Serves: 4 people

This dish, developed by MasterChef:The Professionals contestant, Tom Simmons is a real showstopper! Delight your guests with this wonderful main that’s filled to the brim with delicious, uniquely Welsh ingredients.


  • For the short rib:
  • 4x Hugh Phillips short ribs (cut into individual ribs approx 8 inches long)
  • 1 litre beef stock
  • 250ml red wine
  • For the brine (brining the meat is not essential but if you have the time it creates a far better outcome)
  • 2 litres water
  • 200g table salt
  • 4x whole star anise
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 4x garlic cloves
  • 5x bay leaves
  • For the Halen Môn smoked pommes puree:
  • 500g maris piper potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 200g Welsh salted butter
  • 100ml full fat milk
  • 100ml double cream
  • 4 tbsp Halen Môn smoked water
  • For the Snowdonia shiitake mushrooms:
  • 250g Snowdonia shiitake mushrooms – halved
  • 1 small handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • For the asparagus:
  • 12 x Wye Valley green asparagus, woody end removed
  • splash of good quality olive oil


For the Jacobs Ladder: Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Add short rib to a large bowl and pour over brine. Place in fridge overnight – 12 hours).

Once brined, wash the short ribs under running water briefly. Pat dry and colour off in a frying pan until golden brown on all sides. Place in a sauce pan and cover with beef stock and red wine. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat as low as it will go. Cook for approx. 2 hours, or until beef feels very soft and tender. Once cooked, allow to cool slightly in stock before removing and setting aside until needed. Reduce the beef stock down by half or until it coats the back of a spoon, Use this to glaze the beef at the end.

For the Halen Môn smoked pommes puree: Place potatoes in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and immediately turn down to a simmer. Once potatoes are relatively soft, strain and allow all steam to escape the potatoes. Whilst still hot (but not steaming), push through a drum sieve (if you have one), if not, a masher will do! Once smooth, add potatoes to a saucepan and place on a low heat, mix the diced butter and Halen Môn smoked water through. Season to taste. Combine the milk and cream in the pan with the potatoes and stir vigorously to incorporate all the dairy.  Place in a piping bag and keep warm until needed.

For the Snowdonia shiitake mushroomsOnce ready to plate, heat 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil in a frying pan and add mushrooms. Fry on a medium heat until slightly coloured and finish with a small nob of butter and fresh chopped parsley. Season to taste and drain on a kitchen towel.

For the asparagus: The asparagus should be the last thing you cook, simply place asparagus in a pan of slightly salted boiling water for 45 seconds, once cooked, take out of water with tongs, place on a tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with Halen Môn smoked salt.

To plate: Place the short ribs back into the beef glaze and turn up to a simmer.  Allow to heat up for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the beef glaze and remove meat from the rib by cutting closely between the bone and the meat. Arrange four plates on a work surface, place a good amount of the Halen Môn smoked pommes puree just off the centre of the plates. Arrange asparagus neatly on the plate and finish by adding the shiitake mushrooms and a generous spoon of the beef glaze.

Tip: To add some texture to the plate, fry some panko breadcrumbs in foaming butter until butter turns brown. Carefully strain golden brown breadcrumbs and tip out onto a kitchen towel. Finish the beef with a generous helping of these brown butter breadcrumbs!