This Is The Most Underrated Ingredient, According To Nigella Lawson

Cookbook author and television personality Nigella Lawson is known for her more casual, fuss-free approach to the kitchen, and she's not afraid to whip up some decadent dishes or rummage through her fridge for a late-night snack, as fans of her various cooking shows over the years will know. When The Guardian asked her to identify what she believed were some of the most underrated foods on the market, she had a clear answer in mind. Or, well, a clear category.

The British culinary queen is a huge fan of fats, in particular, expressing that they're an important part of cooking a tasty dish. The one she singled out, however, was beef dripping. You may also know it as tallow (via Butcher Magazine). The substance is simply rendered fat from beef, and it acts like oil when it's being heated or when it's swirling around your pan, solidifying as it cools. According to Lawson, the simple ingredient adds a "gloriously meaty flavor" to whatever you're making. In fact, she's so passionate about the ingredient that she even took to Twitter back in 2019, revealing to her fans that she keeps a cup of beef dripping in the fridge at all times, along with several other types of fat used for culinary purposes.

How to use beef dripping

Given that many health-conscious cooks are likely to skim off fat whenever possible to slim down their dishes, it may seem perplexing to figure out exactly how you would use the drippings from your sizzling beef. The options are limitless, though, and it can be used in virtually any savory dish where you would use other fats such as butter or olive oil.

To take your savory pastries to the next level, you can freeze and grate beef drippings to incorporate into your dough, creating a delectable exterior for a beef-filled pie (via Delicious) or even a crust for a quiche. Or, use it as the fat of choice for perfect roasted potatoes that are crisp and flavor-packed. You can also utilize beef drippings to incorporate a bit of hearty, meaty richness into lighter, vegetable-based dishes. Kitchn suggests tossing a spoonful or two into a dressing for a salad, rather than your standard oil, or even adding a bit into beans or lentils. You can even drizzle a bit on popcorn in place of butter for a unique treat.

If you want a taste of history, you could also whip up an incredibly simple dish that was a wartime favorite by spreading the flavorful fat on some toast (via Atlas Obscura). During the first and second world wars, the dish was created as food was rationed and individuals were trying to get the most out of every ingredient. Nowadays, it's a home cook and celebrity chef kitchen must-have, according to Lawson.