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01 Mar 2022

Soused mackerel in cider and juniper

Soused mackerel in cider and juniper
The Irish Cookbook (Phaidon 2020) and accompanying Images by Anita Murphy (Ginger & Sage)

Sousing or pickling fish is a great way to extend the season. Salting fish will also ensure the fish has a longer shelf life. Feel free to use beer or wine instead of cider and to change the spices or add fresh herbs.

Serves 4
Takes 15 mins, plus 30 mins curing


  • 4 mackerel fillets, central bone removed
  • 2 tsp juniper berries
  • 200ml cider
  • 200ml apple cider vinegar
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • sea salt
  • 50g sheep’s yogurt 

For the rhubarb compote 

  • 750g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into even pieces
  • 100g caster sugar 
  • 100ml water
  • ½ tsp dried rose petals (optional)


  1. Lightly salt the mackerel fillets and cure for 30 mins in the fridge.
  2. Briefly toast the juniper berries in a dry pan to release their aroma.
  3. Make a pickling liquid by putting the cider, vinegar, sugar and juniper into a medium pan over a medium heat, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Cool slightly.
  4. For the rhubarb compote, combine the rhubarb and caster sugar with the water in a pan and stew over a medium heat for 25-30 mins, or until the compote has a nice glossy consistency.
  5. Place the mackerel, skin side up, in a suitable tray. Pour the pickling liquid over the mackerel, making sure to cover the fish. Cover and refrigerate, allowing to cool completely. 
  6. Serve with the rhubarb compote and sheep’s yogurt.

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