Roast beef on a Sunday.
Apart from the rib of beef that I roasted for Christmas dinner, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a piece of beef on an “ordinary” Sunday.
However, since I discovered my local butcher, beef has appeared on our menu-planning list as a regular event – but until this last weekend, not as a roasting joint.
It all began when I stopped roasting chickens and started pot roasting (or poaching) them instead. I had such marvellous results that I’ve sworn never to roast a chicken again.
Since then, I’ve also done a pot roast with a gammon joint, again with a great deal of success.
I was reading through some of the food blogs that I follow, when up popped an entry regarding a pot roasted brisket. Mmmmn, that sounded good. However, I didn’t take it any further (other than mentally marking it, if ever a piece of brisket came my way) and life continued. Right up until I saw, in the butcher’s window, a notice saying “Special Offer : 1kg rolled brisket : £3-something”. Well, it didn’t exactly say “£3-something”, it’s just that I can’t exactly remember how much it was, other than the £3 bit.
Two things struck me about this. Firstly, that the price was only around 50p more expensive than my usual target for the meat for a Sunday meal. Secondly, that 1kg of brisket is one heck of a lot of meat, even allowing for shrinkage in the cooking.
It’s amazing how I find that I can remember a recipe, but I can’t remember the name of my next door neighbour (who shall be forever known as “Flossy next door”). Immediately, I remembered the pot roasted brisket recipe, which sounded not only a great way to cook the beef, but about the only way of ensuring as little shrinkage as possible.
When Sunday dawned, I will admit to being a little bit nervous about cooking this gorgeous great hunk of beef, as it was just too good to ruin.
I started off by searing the outside of the beef on all sides – quite apart from the gorgeous smell it gives off, I do think that it adds flavour and colour which just pot roasting (which is little more than poaching) would provide alone.
Then, I added water and a stock cube and the following : two carrots, an onion and two sticks of celery – all quartered. Plus two cloves of garlic, a big handful of fresh parsley and a bay leaf.
I then brought the liquid up to the boil, and put the whole lot in the oven for 2 hours, after which I turned the beef and put it back in the oven for another hour.
Not only was the beef the kind of texture that you could cut with a spoon, but also it tasted utterly divine. I served it with roasted potatoes, parsnips and cauliflower with green beans – but the unexpected advantage is the stock. If you try this recipe out, please please make your gravy from the stock. You’ll probably never have had gravy like it before. I’ve two pots of it in the freezer, just waiting for the next piece of brisket.