Brisket is a cheaper cut great for a pot-roast. It's a good dish to cook in advance, freeze, and reheat on the day. The secret of brisket is to cook it slowly in a very well-flavoured stock. I find that cider and fresh apple make a lovely sauce, with other herbs and spices for richness. You can vary the flavourings.
Serves 8-10 people depending on the size of the joint and whether it's a main dish or part of a feast.
In a large pot, brown the onions in half the oil. Add the carrots and mushrooms and soften them slightly. Add the garlic, mustard and caraway seeds and stir them round for a minute or two.
While the onions are browning, heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the joint(s) of meat on all sides. Put the meat in the pot with the onions and deglaze the frying pan with the cider. Pour the cider on top of the meat. Add the other ingredients apart from the spinach. Top up with water as necessary until the stock nearly covers the meat.
Either simmer on the stove, or bake in the oven around 170C, for about 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, it should pretty much come apart when you prod it with a spoon. Take the meat out of the stock and let it cool.
Chop the cooled meat into large chunks, maybe 5cm. Put them back in the stock and you can now freeze it, or just keep it in the fridge until needed.
To serve, reheat the stew on the hob. Stir in the spinach and let it cook for a few minutes. Serve a few chunks of meat with a good lot of stock.Shelagh Lewins
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