It was unseasonally cold the day I cooked this brisket. We had good friends over for dinner and so made our way, early Saturday morning, down to the Vic. market – braving the throngs of camera happy tourists and sanctimonious activewearers bouncing between the aisles, all dewy-faced and joyful at 7am.
We plied our freezing tummies with hot coffee and set about our shopping while the rain clunked onto the tin roof of the market sheds and the pan-pipe band took cover beneath the awning of the doughnut van.
Back home, the wind still whipping up a frenzy, wrenching the red bottle-brush arms of the banksia trees from their trunks and bending them sideways, I made rhubarb and frangipane tarts before prepping the brisket for a long, slow braise in the oven. The house filled with rich tomato smells as the beef broke down into melting strands which we eventually heaped onto our plates and ate with big hunks of bread, making sure to soak up all the sauce.
This delicious braised brisket recipe has now become a firm favourite in our household. Perfect in summer and winter alike, it is equal parts melty, chewy, rich, and savoury and makes truly incredible leftover dishes!
Serves: 2 with leftovers or 4 as a main meal
Prep time: 4 hours
1kg beef brisket
3 cloves garlic
100ml red wine
500ml beef stock
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Trim any hard fat from around the outside of the beef and cut it into 4 large pieces before seasoning the brisket well with plenty of salt and black pepper.
In a heavy-based, ovenproof pan heat a decent glug of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Brown the beef on all sides before removing it and setting aside.
Next, add in the roughly chopped onion and sautee with the finely chopped garlic until softened. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add in the stock, water and passata and bring to a simmer before placing the browned beef back into the pan with any juices. Season the sauce before placing a tight lid on the pan and putting into the oven for 3-4 hours, or until the beef is melting and tender.
Turn the beef after about 1.5 hours of being in the oven to ensure even cooking.
Discard bay leaves before serving.
Any hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage.
To cut through the richness of the beef, serve with a salad of red oak lettuce, watercress, red grapes and gorgonzola with sherry vinegar and shallot dressing.
Crusty bread to soak up all the delicious gubbins.