They had rolled Beef Brisket on offer at the shops the other day so I picked up a small one to cook at the weekend. We don't do read meat very often actually . . . and I really do like brisket. It's one of our favourites.
It's not a beef roast you can cook in the traditional way, by dry roasting however. Brisket is a cut which comes from the lower chest of the animal, where you would find the "pecs" of the steer, and since they don't have collar bones, they help to support at least 60% of the weight of the animal. The brisket needs specialized cooking.
Properly cooked however always results in one of the tastiest cuts of beef. It needs slow braising, either on top of the stove, in the slow cooker or in the oven. All of that connective tissue turns gelatinous during the long cooking time, resulting in a very succulent piece of meat.
In short . . . they make great pot roasts! This is one of my favourit ways to cook it . . . Boeuf Aux Carottes . . . or Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots. Browned on top of the stove and then oven braised with onions, bacon lardons, carrots, bay leaf and other aromatics . . . white wine . . .
The end result being a deliciously tender roast, with a fabulous au jus and wonderfully flavoured carrots that you could almost mash into the juices for an extra tasty gravy . . .
I like to serve it simply sliced, with some of the carrots along side and some other veg, and with some of the juices spooned over top. Simple but . . . most delicious.
*Boeuf aux Carottes*
(Braised Beef Brisket with Carrots)
This is a lovely meal that requires very little effort. You end up with meltingly tender beef with a rich broth, sweet and buttery in flavour from the carrots. I served it with a celeriac/potato mash and some lightly steamed haricots verts. (green beans)
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1.5 kg of rolled beef brisket (about 3 pounds)
1.5 kg of carrots, peeled and trimmed (about 3 pounds)
150g bacon lardoons (about 1/2 cup)
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 small leafy celery stalk
500ml dry white wine, or unsweetened apple juice (2 cups)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 TBS of the olive oil in a large roaster on top of the stove. (Use one with a fitted lid) Add the brisket and brown it slowly on all sides. Once browned, remove it to a plate, salt it generously and then set it aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the roaster and add the carrots, 1 tsp of salt and cook, stirring them occasionally, until they are browned. This will take from 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Put the lardoons and onions into the roaster and then cook them over high heat until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, celery, beef and carrots. Pour in the wine or juice, and add water almost to cover. Bring to the boil. Skim off any foam that may surface, then top with the lid and roast in a pre-heated oven at 150*C/300*F. Roast for 3 hours, turning the meat over at least once during the cooking time.
Remove from the oven and take the meat out of the liquid. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting in thin slices to serve, accompanied with the carrots and lovely juices spooned over top. Delicious!