Rich, Glazed Joint of Brisket Serves

Now that one tends to buy smaller and smaller Sunday joints because of the cost it is a nice change to have a good old-fashioned hunk of meat impressively filling the carving board. Brisket is still comparatively cheap and can be dull, but cooked in the following way has a wonderful flavour. You must prepare it the day before you cook it, but the next day all you have to do is put it in the oven. You can use either fresh or salt brisket. I think the salted meat is even more delicious and has a lovely pink colour when cooked. It should be soaked in cold water for 2–3 hours before being prepared and then I rub soft brown sugar over the meat and add a cooking apple cut in chunks to the other vegetables cooked with it. Instead of wine or stock you can use cider with the salt brisket which makes a specially good combination of flavours for the gravy. When you serve this generous piece of meat, shining and aromatic, it really will bring cheer to a bleak winter weekend.

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Ingredients

  • 6–8 lb brisket on the bone fresh or salted (2.7–3.6 kg); obviously choose the leanest you can, the end bit is supposed to be the best.
  • 1–2 teaspoons juniper berries
  • about 15–20 whole allspice berries
  • 8–12 cloves
  • 3 blades of mace – optional
  • 3 large carrots – unscraped but roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion – unpeeled but cut in chunks
  • Small bunch of any fresh herbs you can get
  • 2–3 cooking tomatoes – cut in half
  • about 1 pint or slightly more red wine and stock (570 ml)
  • salt, black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2–3 teaspoons cornflour
  • If using salted meat – soft brown sugar
  • 1 cooking apple
  • cider – 1 pint (570 ml)

Method

Trim any thick fat from the meat. Rub all over with salt and black pepper, and put the joint into either a very large casserole or a roasting pan. Roughly crush the juniper berries and allspice and put them in the casserole with the carrots, onion, tomatoes, cloves, mace and the meat. Pour over the wine mixture. Cover as hermetically as possible with foil or a lid and leave at normal room temperature overnight. The next day put the covered dish in a low oven Gas 2 (300°F/150°C) and cook for 5–5½ hours, basting occasionally. Then lift the joint out on to a carving board and strain off the juices from which you should pour off quite a lot of fat, which will make very good dripping. Put just a little juice in a saucepan and boil fiercely until it reduces to a thick glaze – brush the meat all over with this. Blend the cornflour with a little cold water, stir it into the remaining juices with the mustard and bring to the boil. Bubble for a minute or two and serve as a very delicious gravy. Carve the joint in fairly thick chunks.

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