I’ve been asked far too many times if I’m vegetarian or vegan, so it’s time to clear the air. I’m not. I do in fact eat meat. In fact, I love my meat.
I just don’t happen to eat it every day, hence why the majority of my recipes are vegetable based (all of which can easily serve as a side for any type of meat you fancy). Half the time this is because I a) spent too much money buying black tahini or pomegranate molasses and can’t justify adding yet another ingredient to my shopping basket, b) forgot to defrost anything that day and am too lazy to do anything about this, or c) I just don’t feel like it. No ethic-y preaching, no ‘plant-based-is-better’ shit – it’s just what I’m feeling.
But when I do cook with meat, I make that meat count.
The recipe I’m sharing now isn’t actually the roast chicken photoed above – that was just more photographic evidence that I can and do make a mean roast. I’m actually sharing my all time favourite experiment with brisket – really cheap, good for feeding a crowd and full of flavour when treated right. I got half a kilo of brisket (enough for 4 quite hungry students) from my local butcher for a fiver – butcher quality beef for just over £1 a head. You can’t say no. Braise it low and slow with tomatoes, red wine and herbs and you’ll get amazingly rich, fall-apart shreds of beef slathered in the reduced sauce. Perfect with pasta, rice, greens, mash, anything. Sunday dinner = sorted.
Slow Braised Brisket Ragu with Almonds and Olives for about 4
About 500g brisket
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, diced (1cm cubes)
1 celery stalk, diced (1cm cubes)
A few sprigs of rosemary, thyme and a couple of bay leaves
1 tin of tomatoes
About 1/2 bottle of red wine
A handful of olives
A handful of almonds
A dash of soy sauce or tamari
A large pinch of sugar (to taste)
Seasoning, to taste
Pasta/rice/anything you fancy serving it with
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees fan. Heat oil in a large heavy based casserole dish on high. Brown the brisket all over to sear, before setting aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery, cooking until soft.
- Add the herbs, olives, almonds, tin of tomatoes and red wine. Fill the empty tinned tomatoes about 1/6 full with water, swirl around to get any tomato juices leftover, and pour into the dish.
- Simmer for a few minutes and add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the brisket back into the dish, cover and place in the oven for 4-5 hours, turning the meat once or twice and tasting/adjusting the sauce as you do so.
- Once cooked for at least 4 hours, the brisket should fall apart into the ragu without the need for a knife. stir the meat into the ragu, and serve with whatever you fancy.