Wednesday, January 06, 2010

'Pot Roast' Brisket with Dumplings

Just looking back on a few old web albums, and thinking it's a real shame I haven't blogged about some of the dishes I've been creating as they're so interesting! Things like the Chicken with Celeriac, Parsnip, Blue Cheese & Hazlenut Bake and a Fennel Sauce for example, the Braised Lamb & Ravioli, and the wonderful (if fattening) Chinese Style 'Pot Stickers', Fried & Steamed - where I made two different types of dumplings from Sunday Roast leftovers just to try out a new cook book. But blogging takes time, and that seems to be in short supply. Anyhow, I will try and write a few words about 'pot roast' brisket, seeing as it's so classically British.

I love a pot roast, and the cheaper cuts like Brisket in particular, as long slow cooking gives them a wonderful tenderness together with a rich beefy flavour that you can't find in tenderer cuts. I'm also a big dumpling fan, and at this time of year they go down a treat. This particular piece of meat was actually an offcut from the piece I bought for the Fricando recipe, as I had too much, and it was lying about in the freezer. One cold evening after Christmas I decided it would be just the ticket.

How to Make the 'Pot Roast'

A pot roast is one of the absolute simplest things you can do with meat, though to honest this is a slight variation on the theme - hence the quotes. You wouldn't usually use quite as much liquid as I've done, where I've completely immersed the meat in it. A traditional pot roast would normally just have the liquid coming up the side a little. This is something a bit more akin to a boiled beef recipe really.

Anyhow, here's how to make this one. First place your meat in the center of a  deep casserole. Then cut up some root veg into largish pieces  - I've used carrot, onion and celeriac leaves (didn't have any celery, but this works just as well) and scatter around the meat together with herbs. Here I've gone for 2 bay leaves and a generous handful of thyme. Just throw them in as they are. You'll also notice I've left some of the onion skin on for colour. Add some salt & pepper - not too much though, you'll need to adjust later - and then finally pour on boiling water to cover.

Everything in the pot

And now with the water added

Finally add the lid and cook on a very low simmer for 2-3 hours, depending on the size of the meat, the heat, pot type, etc. - you don't need to be too precise here, just pierce with a sharp knife/skewer and feel the resistance if you're concerned - the knife should penetrate the meat nice and easily.


That's the beef, now for the dumplings. I use animal suet, half suet to one portion (self-raising) flour, a little salt, and enough water to make the mixture form into a ball. Add too much liquid and you will get soggy dumplings - but maybe you like them that way! For a lighter touch and some breadcrumbs as well. I cooked these for 20 minutes in the stew, though to be honest they could have probably done with a little longer. Do check your seasoning before these go in the pot, as once they're in you should really leave the pot closed so that they can steam properly.

The pot after dinner had been taken out

And the finished dish

Lovely stuff, cheap, tasty, warming and with plenty of leftovers. Who could want more.


Velva said...

A good pot roast is the ultimate comfort food. It can warm the body and satisfy the soul. This is a particularly good dish during these cold weather months,where the weather is insane!

Happy New Year to you!

Rich said...

Happy new year to you to!

I realise now that this isn't really a 'true' pot roast (if there is such a thing) more of a boiled beef, so have amended it a little.

I hear it's even getting a bit chilly in Florida - sounds like you folks might be needing one of these yourselves soon. Lots of snow over here in Devon, haven't seen much else for days now


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