Purchase a piece of brisket that has a layer of fat over the top as it adds moisture and flavour and look for one that is the same thickness all the way through for even cooking. And while it may look like a mountain of onions they do cook down to form a rich, silky sauce.
1.5 kilogram piece beef brisket
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 onions, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, grated
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dry English mustard powder
½ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
330ml bottle pale ale
3 cups beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan or casserole dish.
Season the beef and brown on both sides then transfer to a plate.
Drain off the oil, leaving the sticky bits on the base of the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil with the onions and carrot and a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft, adding a splash of water if the pan is too dry.
Combine the sugar and spices in a medium bowl. Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce and the garlic then the beer.
Stir this into the onion mixture then add the stock and bring to the boil.
Place the brisket on top, along with the resting juices, and spoon some of the onions over the top of the meat.
Cover the meat with a piece of baking paper then a tight fitting lid or foil.
Braise for 3 hours, turning the meat over halfway through cooking. The meat should be extremely tender when tested with a skewer. If it isn’t, cover again and braise for up to another hour.
To serve: Remove the meat from the pan and place on a board. If the juices are thin, put the casserole dish over a high heat and boil until reduced to the desired consistency.
Slice the beef against the grain and place on a serving platter. Top with the onion gravy. I served our brisket with creamy mashed potatoes flavoured with crushed garlic and horseradish mustard.