It’s pretty miserable outside today. Cold, blustery and very, very rainy. Boy, is summer over! But I don’t mind because I’ve decided to slow-cook a lovely piece of brisket for supper as my entry for the Central England Co-operative’s ‘Community Cooks’ competition. The kitchen is full of the aroma of autumn comfort food cooking! Brisket is one of the cheaper cuts of beef although, cooked nice and slowly, I think it really outguns the flavour of more expensive joints like silverside or topside. This recipe takes very little time to prepare and, as it cooks all by itself in the oven for about three hours, you can get on with something else.
This will easily serve six people or four very greedy ones! The meat is really gorgeous cold as well so leftovers won’t go to waste. The red wine gravy is fabulous – best served with a lovely pile of fluffy mash.
- 2Kg piece of brisket
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 large carrots – peeled and cut into large chunks on the slant
- 3 medium onions, peeled and sliced
- 3 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 sticks of celery plus their leaves, chopped and with the strings peeled away
- 350ml of robust red wine
- 50oml of water
- A bunch of fresh thyme stalks
- A fresh bay leaf
- Sea salt and black pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 150°C.
- Season the meat all over with sea salt and ground black pepper.
- Heat the oil in an ovenproof cast-iron casserole dish (I use my large oval Le Creuset). When hot, add the meat and seal well all over. Remove it from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the chopped onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf and garlic. Sweat it gently for about 5 minutes.
- Add the red wine, cook it out for a minute or two and then top up with water.
- Bring it to a gentle simmer and then put the lid on.
- Put it in the oven for 3 hours and no peeking!
- After three hours, the vegetables will have given up their juices to mix with the beef and wine. The meat should be meltingly tender – check it with a skewer. Once you’re satisfied the meat is done, lift it out of the casserole onto a warm plate and spoon 90% of the carrots out onto the plate as well with a slotted spoon. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- To make the best ever gravy, pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan and liquidise with a stick blender until silky smooth. Add a little hot water if it’s too thick, test the seasoning – it shouldn’t really need any though.
- Carve the brisket into thick slices on a serving dish along with the carrots and serve the gravy in a warmed jug. Mashed potato and a green vegetable of your choice make a perfect combo.
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