Soy-braised Beef Brisket

Whether you’re aiming at the Cederberg and Namibia or heading south to Cape Town, pull off the N7 at Piekenierskloof at Hebron where Steve Oldroyd rules the pass…

Try Steve’s soy-braised beef brisket with minted pea puree and Asian pickle.

Serves 6-8

Brisket is a cheap and tough old cut, but it comfortably outshines the ‘posh’ cuts if it’s treated correctly. I’ve given the meat the Chinese sauna treatment, by slowly bathing it in an aromatic bath of soy sauce, rice vinegar and spices.

We are fortunate to have a pizza oven to use at the restaurant, but 6 – 8 hours in a conventional oven at 180º C should do the trick. The dish could also be cooked in a potjie on the fire.

The recipe is not too complicated, but does require a little forward planning. Having said that, it only requires re-heating on the day so is ideal for the organised cook who like too much seasonal stress.

  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup Mirin or sweetened rice wine
  • 3-4kg deboned beef brisket
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 spring onions, whole
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 knob ginger, sliced
  • 2 red chillies, broken in half
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, left whole
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 star-anise
  • 1ℓ water
  • 1 cup sugar

Pea Purée

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1kg frozen peas
  • 250ml cream
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Asian Pickle

Makes approximately 1 litre

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup Mirin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a handful of lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 knob ginger, julienne
  • a splash of fish sauce
  • 1 cup carrot, grated or julienne
  • 1 cup radish, finely sliced
  • 1 cup red onion, finely sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°.
  2. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour into a large pot. Add the meat, vegetables, herbs and spices, and tightly cover the pot with foil. Put the pot into the oven and cook until the meat is tender, offering no resistance to a skewer, but still holding its shape, about 6 – 8 hours. The long cooking time will bathe or infuse the meat with the aromtaic flavours of cinnamon, star anise, soy and ginger.
  3. Carefully remove the meat from the pot and if cooking ahead of time, allow it to cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating it overnight. Strain the stock through muslin to remove the aromatics and any unwanted impurities.
  4. For the pea puree, heat the olive oil and butter in a pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the peas and the cream, and season. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the mint. Remove from the heat and once cooled, puree the pea mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain the puree through a sieve and set aside to reheat when needed.
  5. For the Asian pickle, gently heat the vinegar, mirin, water, sugar, and lemongrass with the chilli and ginger. Add the fish sauce and the vegetables. Leave to cool and refrigerate.
  6. The following day, take the stock out of the fridge and scrape the fat off the top. Bring it to a simmer and strain again.
  7. When ready to serve, slice the meat and reheat it by spooning the hot soy broth over the meat. This will glaze and caramelise it.
  8. Serve the brisket with warmed pea puree garnished with the Asian pickle and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

COOK’S TIP

The pickle is best eaten within 24 hours as the colours tend to leach out from the radish and onion, and the vegetables lose their vibrancy and crunch.

Wine suggestion: Driehoek Shiraz
Tea suggestion: Carmien Rooibos Chai

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