Salt Beef

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Beigel Shop
155 Brick Lane

Another classic recipe from this award-winning bagel shop. Bagels are made to order with various fillings and salt beef is easily the favourite one, layered onto a fresh bagel with mustard and pickles, and especially loved by Londoners. This is manager Hayley’s recipe: while the saltpetre isn’t crucial, the salt beef won’t keep as long without it and it won’t have the deep pinky red colour of the beef you see in their window. I get my saltpetre online from Surfy’s Homecuring Supplies (www.homecuring.co.uk). For an authentic beigel experience, eat your salt beef on a real bagel/beigel from a Jewish bakery -supermarket substitutes just won’t do!

Ingredients

For the Brine

  • 300 g soft light brown sugar
  • 350 g coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 50 g Prague Powder Number One or saltpetre (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

For the Beef

  • 2.5 kg piece beef brisket
  • 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 leek, cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stick, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves handful parsley stalks

Method

In a deep casserole dish or large pan, add all the brine ingredients to three litres of water. Slowly bring to the boil and gently simmer for two or three minutes until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Take off the heat and let the brine cool completely.

Pierce the beef brisket all over with a skewer and put in a plastic tub or large heavy-duty ziplock bag. Cover the meat with the brine, making sure it is completely immersed in the liquid. Leave in a cool place or in the fridge for seven days - if you are using a ziplock bag, turn it every day to make sure the meat cures evenly.

After seven days, rinse the brisket thoroughly and place in a large pan with the carrot, leek, celery, onion, garlic and parsley. Add enough water to just cover the meat and bring to a very gentle simmer. Poach for about two and a half hours, or until tender.

Serve hot with potatoes or leave to cool completely in the broth, then remove and shred or slice thinly for sandwiches. The salt beef, well wrapped, will keep in the fridge for up to a week.