Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef prime cuts. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing/moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderise the connective tissue.
When it is cooked long and slow the results are amazing. The key to brisket is its layer of fat, which melts while cooking, so don’t trim it first.
This recipe will Serve 6
5 tablespoons of olive oil
1.5kg boned rolled brisket (ask your butcher to do this for you)
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 red chilli
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh parsley, plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley to garnish
125ml red wine
2 litres of fresh chicken stock (supermarkets sell this in tubs)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
125g Puy lentils
Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning
Preheat the oven to 170C (150C for fan)
Heat the olive oil in a large lidded casserole pot.
Season the brisket and sauté gently until golden brown, then lift out and keep to one side.
Lower the heat, add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add the chilli, tomato purée and sprigs of herbs and continue cooking for a further minute.
Add the red wine and boil until the liquid has reduced by half, then put in the brisket, stock and Worcestershire sauce, and a good amount of sea salt and black pepper.
Return to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, skim any fat from the surface, cover with a lid and transfer to the hot oven for three hours.
Remove from the oven, lift out the meat and wrap it in foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a pan and add the lentils.
Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until they are tender but still retain some bite, and the gravy has thickened to coat the back of a spoon.
Add the chopped parsley. Slice the brisket and serve with the lentil gravy spooned over the top.