Sweet & Sour Brisket with Horseradish Mousse


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Set a Table

Set a Table

By Karen Dudley

Published 2018

  • About

When I first cooked brisket (boned), it was because it was all I could afford for a pot roast. I knew already that the little triumvirate of onion, celery and carrot would make for great flavour, but uncovering the dish, I marvelled at the change wrought in the meat by slow cooking; how the connective tissues had dissolved into succulent gelatin! The dish was not pretty – it was ugly delicious! A wondrous rite of passage! The barbecue-y brisket that follows is easy to prepare, dependable and much prettier. For a party in our new Kitchen space, we blanch roasted some baby turnips and added Horseradish Mousse. This brisket would make an excellent lunch with a good slaw and be heavenly with mash and creamed leeks or whole-roasted celeriac in winter.


  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp black pepper
  • tsp onion powder
  • tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cup beef stock
  • cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Indonesian soya sauce
  • 4.5 kg beef brisket (with good amounts of fat)

For the Horseradish Mousse

  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated horseradish or 3 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin
  • ¼ tsp Tabasco
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of sugar (if needed)
  • tbsp heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramelised. Add the halved garlic cloves and sauté for 3 minutes more. Stir in the spices and seasoning and cook for 2 more minutes. Set the onion spice mixture aside.

In a large bowl or jug, stir together the beef stock, tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and soya sauce. Place the brisket into a deep baking dish or casserole, just big enough so that the sauce will almost cover the meat. Spread the onion mixture on top of the brisket and pour the sauce over the whole dish. Place a sheet of baking paper cut to the size of the dish over the brisket. Cover the entire dish again tightly with foil. Bake for 1½ hours at 180°C. Then turn the oven down to 160°C and bake for a further 2½ hours undisturbed. Take the brisket out of the oven and allow to cool, still tightly wrapped in its foil. Refrigerate overnight. This step significantly improves the texture and flavour of the meat and allows for sublimely easy serving the next day!

A few hours before you wish to serve, you can remove excess fat that has solidified around the meat overnight. (Don’t be too religious about this, a little fat does add value to the heated sauce.) Now, carefully remove the brisket to a cutting board. Purée the sauce remaining in the casserole with a hand blender. Slice the meat against the grain into 1 cm slices, keeping the shape of the brisket. With a large fish slice or spatula, carefully place the meat back into the sauce and replace the lid or the foil. 40 minutes before you are ready to serve, pop the dish into the oven to reheat at 180°C for 30 minutes until it is bubbling at the edges.

For the Horseradish Mousse, in a food processor, place ½ cup of crème fraîche together with the horseradish and blitz for a few seconds to combine. Then add the remaining crème fraîche until well blended. Put the tablespoon of water in a small bowl or measuring jug and sprinkle over the gelatin, allowing it to bloom for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the crème fraîche horseradish mixture to a metal mixing bowl. Add the Tabasco, lemon zest, vinegar, mustard and salt and mix well. Add sugar if needed.

Heat the heavy cream in your smallest saucepan over medium-low heat. As soon as it is hot, remove the pan from the heat and drop the bloomed gelatin into the hot cream. Using a rubber spatula, stir quickly to dissolve the gelatin so that no lumps remain.

Use the spatula to scrape the cream mixture into the bowl with the horseradish crème fraîche, being careful not to leave any of the cream gelatin mix behind. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the mousse into an attractive glass bowl or container, leaving a good 2 cm of headspace. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until set – about 3 hours or up to 4 days.

Before serving, whisk the mousse briefly to fluff it up (if you like). You can either serve it in a pretty glass container, as quenelles on the side of the brisket or in individual shallow glasses.