This is an ideal dish to assemble in the morning and put in the oven before setting off on a lovely long walk. I can’t imagine eating this without a big helping of creamy mash and green vegetables – a perfectly warming dinner to come home to.
- 1.4kg brisket
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- salt anf freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 500ml beef stock
- 250ml red wine
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 1 tbsp cornflour
Preheat the oven to 120°C fan. With a small sharp knife, pierce deep slits all over the joint of beef. Poke the garlic slices well into the slits, ensuring they are completely hidden within the meat so they won’t fall out and burn when you are browning the beef. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Add half the oil to a deep, flame-proof casserole (a heavy cast iron one is ideal) and set over a high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, carefully add the beef and brown well all over. The deep caramelisation adds much in terms of flavour, so take your time to get a bit of colour into it.
Remove the beef to a plate, reduce the heat to low and add a little more oil to the casserole, followed by the onion, carrot and celery, stirring to soften a little for a couple of minutes. Return the beef to the pan, along with any juices on the plate and pour in the beef stock and red wine and tuck in the thyme. Bring up to a simmer then cover with a tight fitting lid and slide into the oven. Allow to cook very slowly for around eight hours. When the beef is ready, it is really very tender – test by trying to tease the meat apart a little with a fork. It should give easily. If not, cook for a little longer.
Turn off the oven. Lift the meat from the casserole, set it on a heatproof plate and put in the oven to keep warm. Remove two tablespoons of cooking sauce and place in a heatproof glass to cool. Set the casserole on the hob over a medium heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce the sauce a little. Stir the cornflour into the cooled reserved juices to form a smooth paste. Pour into the casserole, stirring until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat, taste to check seasoning. Cut the beef into thick rustic slices and serve with gravy poured over.
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