This stars the humble brisket and as always with Ottolenghi an ingredient that will send you on a bit of a journey around the food world. I found the Date Syrup at Dr. Earth in Newtown..
This might even be better the next day…if you have any left.
Beef stew with pale ale, juniper and prunes
The sweetness of the prunes and the date syrup is tempered beautifully by the slight bitterness of the ale and the juniper. The result is a warming dish I’d be happy to tuck into on any cold night. Serves four to six.
1 tsp juniper berries
½ tsp black peppercorns
Flaky sea salt
900g beef brisket, in 2 pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
500g baby shallots, peeled and left whole
4 garlic cloves, peeled
5g picked thyme leaves
500ml pale ale
2 tbsp date syrup (40g)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
600g small waxy potatoes (desiree or charlotte), peeled and cut into 3cm chunks
10 large pitted prunes (about 100g-worth)
The finely grated zest of ½ lemon
80g soured cream, to serve
Put the juniper berries and peppercorns in a spice grinder with four teaspoons of salt. Blitz well, then put in a medium-sized bowl, add the two pieces of brisket and, using your hands, mix well until the beef is well coated, then set aside for an hour.
Heat the oven to 160C/320F/gas mark 2½. On a medium-high flame, heat a tablespoon of oil in a 26cm-wide casserole or ovenproof saute pan for which you have a lid, then add the brisket pieces and fry for two to three minutes, turning them over halfway, so they brown on both sides, then lift out the beef on to a plate.
Turn down the heat under the pan to medium and add another tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the whole shallots and fry for five minutes, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, then add the garlic and thyme, and fry for another minute, just to soften. Stir in the ale, date syrup and mustard, return the brisket to the pot and bring to a boil. Pop on the lid, transfer the casserole to the oven and roast for two hours.
After two hours, turn over the brisket pieces, stir in the potatoes and prunes, cover again and return to the oven for another hour, until the brisket is very tender, the potatoes are cooked and the sauce is thick. Take the pot out of the oven and leave the meat to rest for at least 10 minutes.
To serve, cut each piece of meat into four to six chunks (or even shred it into smaller pieces), then divide the stew between four or six shallow bowls. Sprinkle lemon zest on top and serve with a spoonful of soured cream alongside.
Plate and bowls……..MUD
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