Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Brisket with attitude

As I took my last mouthful of delicious tender brisket on Saturday night, I looked across at my husband and said, "I forgot to take a photo!" My family has grown so used to having their food photographed before they get to eat it, that he knew exactly what I meant. But it was too late. Sorry about that.

This recipe is based on one I got from my local butcher years ago. He had these little recipe cards printed up and would hand them out to the customers when they purchased the relevant cut of meat. I must have bought a brisket from him, I guess.

Brisket is one of the cheaper cuts of beef. It is full of flavour, as so many of the cheaper cuts are. But it is also inclined to be tougher. So you should roast it at a lower temperature for longer to overcome that. Don't be tempted to aim for a roast that's still pink in the middle. Save that for the more expensive cuts.

Oven temperature

2kg deboned, rolled brisket
10 peppercorns
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
60ml brown vinegar
25g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
500ml boiling water
250ml chutney (Mrs Balls for preference, if you're able to get it)
125ml sweet chilli sauce

  • Crush the herbs and spices together (I use a coffee grinder) and mix together with the chopped onion, carrots, vinegar, chutney and sweet chilli sauce.
  • Place the meat in a large bowl and spoon the sauce over. Make sure the meat is evenly covered with marinade.
  • Leave to marinate for eight hours or overnight, turning once halfway through the process.
  • Remove the meat from the marinade and drain (but keep the marinade!).
  • Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan and brown the joint on all sides. Transfer into a casserole dish.
  • Add the boiling water to the pan to loosen up the bits and bobs from the browning, then add that to the marinade and pour over the meat.
  • Cover with a lid or foil and pop into the oven for about 3 hours.
  • Remove from the marinade and blot off any excess fat. Set aside and keep warm.
  • Thicken the sauce with a little cornflour mixed with cold water and bring back up to the boil. You could use the frying pan for this again. Serve this in place of gravy.

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