Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. The beef brisket is one of the nine beef primal cuts, though the definition of the cut differs internationally. The brisket muscles include the superficial and deep pectorals. As cattle do not have collar bones, these muscles support about 60% of the body weight of standing or moving cattle. This requires a significant amount of connective tissue, so the resulting meat must be cooked correctly to tenderize it. Can be purchased rolled.
1-1¼kg/2¼-2¾ lb boned and rolled beef brisket
5 tbsp vegetable oil
large knob of butter
2 large onions, halved and sliced
2-3 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 carrots, sliced
200-250g/8-9oz large flat mushrooms, stalks chopped and heads thinly sliced
500-550ml bottle of brown ale or stout
a few fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1-2 tsp light muscovado sugar
500g parsnips, cut into wedges
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
chopped fresh parsley or thyme to serve
Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/fan oven to 170C. Wash and dry the brisket and season. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep casserole and brown beef all over. Remove from pan. Turn down the heat, add butter and fry the onions, celery, carrots and mushroom stalks for 6-8 minutes.
Return beef to the pan and add beer, thyme, bay leaves and sugar. Add water if necessary so the liquid comes about two-thirds up the beef. Season, bring to a simmer, cover tightly, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 160C/Gas 3/fan oven 140C and cook for 2 hours, turning twice, until tender.
An hour before the beef is done, toss the parsnips in oil, season and roast on a baking tray above the beef for 50 mins – 1 hr until tender, turning once.
Turn oven up to 190C/Gas 5/fan oven 170C. Lift out the beef, tent with foil and keep warm. Stir the parsnips and mushroom caps into the beef juices. Check to season; add water if needed. Cover and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes until mushrooms are tender.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to remove vegetables and arrange around the beef. Spoon off the excess fat from the juices, then whisk in the mustard and pour into a jug. Moisten the beef with a little juice and scatter with parsley or thyme. Serve with mash, if you like.