The unrelenting gloom and unseasonal temperatures made me feel like making a stew on Saturday when we were having friends round so I bought four big pieces of organic short ribs or 'pot au feu' as our local butcher calls them. It was a bit of a shock when they came to over £12 but by that time I'd got so carried away with how good they were going to taste I couldn't bring myself to buy something else. And it was great, and it did serve 6 which is only £2 a head (well, probably £2.50ish with the veg and the wine) far, far cheaper than anything you'd get in a restaurant. But it blew a big hole in our weekend food budget which led to us not buying the chicken we were thinking of having yesterday.
It is, it has to be said, one of the few disadvantages of buying from a butcher rather than a supermarket. In a supermarket you know exactly what you're getting and how much it's going to cost. In a butcher you've already entered into the transaction by picking your meat and asking them to weigh it and with several people standing behind you you have to be feeling unusually resolute (or desperate) to ask them to put it back.
It's not the first time I've found that so called 'cheap cuts' can add up a bit, particularly when they're on the bone. Lamb shanks are now a shocking price. Osso buco which I'm sure used to be a frugal Italian cut, equally so. Only scrag end of lamb still seems to be good value and that's almost certainly because of the unappealing name.
What's your experience of buying cheaper cuts?