Saturday, 14 January 2012

Pot Roast Brisket

So I'm sat in my house wearing five layers, I also have gloves on, and a scarf, I would put a hat on but people can see me from the street and I think I look odd enough. My boiler isn't working, just in time for the first frosts we've had all winter. I have a coffee and a relatively ineffective gas fire to huddle by. I also have some ox tail in the fridge which we are going to stew for supper with wild mushrooms, and perhaps we'll open a nice bottle of red and it won't seem quite so cold... A man called Ted is coming to fix it after the weekend, well at least I hope he's going to fix it or it's going to be a pretty cold winter here is my little leaky house...

I bought the ox tail and this piece of brisket from a new butchers in Jesmond called The Meat Merchant. I was impressed, they have a wide range of meat, it wasn't expensive, and they have everything from rabbit, to proper pancetta and metre long sirloin steaks if that's what you are after?

This isn't a very complicated recipe, just some chopped vegetables and herbs, red wine and three hours in the oven. The brisket is a cut from the front of the cow, just above their front legs, it takes all the weight of the animal most of the time, so is pretty fibrous and strong... and as a result it needs some long slow cooking to loosen it up, for those fibres to begin to fall apart and become all soft and tasty... It is also brilliant for leftovers, we had warmed through soft slices on chunky hunks of bread with loads of horseradish and watercress, and then had the leftover juices and vegetables as a stew slash soup with a bit of crusty bread.

Chop 2 leeks, 2 carrots and 2 onions and put them in the bottom of a big casserole dish, one that is about the same size as your piece of meat. These amounts would have fed four people easily. Add 2 whole heads of garlic, ten peppercorns and a bundle of herbs tied up, parsley, thyme, bay... Lay the piece of brisket over everything and pour over 1 litre of chicken stock and 2 glasses of red wine. You want the brisket to be still poking out of the top, not submerged entirely. Cover with tinfoil and put it in the oven for 3 hours on a medium heat. You want it to be soft and delicious, not falling apart totally, it still needs to be sliced, but only gently.

I served it with a little scoop of mash, lots of horseradish, some of the juices and vegetables spooned over the top, a pile of buttery cabbage, a glass of red wine and the heating on full... those were the days...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x