Beef Brisket Slow-roasted in Coffee Sauce with Valor Mash
Using the humbler cuts of meat is an Ethicurean prerequisite. Brisket is a relatively inexpensive cut, allowing us to maximise the beast’s worth and minimise our costs, while eating exceptionally well. Ask your butcher to bone and roll it, with all its lovely collagen and fat intact. Collagen will only break down at around 70°C, so brisket needs a long, gentle cook. A meat thermometer will help no end in perfecting this roast. Moisture is also vital, and this creates ample opportunity for seasoning with ales and sauces.
The roasted, smoky richness of coffee makes it one of beef’s closest, yet largely overlooked, allies. Our coffee supplier is Extract, run by three enthusiasts who roast all of their coffee in a vintage 1955 cast-iron Probat roaster. Sam, David and Mark rebuilt and conditioned this fine contraption themselves and it looks as if it could have been built by Wallace and Gromit. We regularly take our staff to Extract to see the entire process from raw bean to cup, and to lose a few hours in conversation with experts.
|1.5kg||beef brisket, rolled and tied|
|A little oil|
|A small bunch||of thyme|
|For the coffee sauce:|
|2 tbsp||cider vinegar|
|½ tsp||smoked paprika|
|1 tsp||ground cumin|
|1||chipotle chilli, deseeded and crushed|
|For the Valor potato mash:|
|1.5kg||Valor potatoes (Desiree, Remarka and King Edward also work well), peeled and cut into even-sized chunks|
You will need a potato ricer.
Heat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7. Rub the brisket with oil and sprinkle the thyme leaves over. Place it in a shallow roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes, until coloured slightly. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 140°C/Gas Mark 1.
Meanwhile, mix all the sauce ingredients together. Transfer the brisket to a deep roasting tin and pour over the sauce. Cover the tin tightly with foil, using 2 layers if necessary to create a tight seal. Return to the oven and cook for about 4 hours, until very tender; if you have a meat thermometer it should register 70°C.
For the mash, put the potatoes in a pan of cold water with a tablespoon of salt and bring them very slowly to a simmer. Cook until very soft but not falling apart. Drain through a colander, place the colander over the pan and return the pan to the switched-off hob – the residual heat from the cooker will allow the potatoes to steam dry. They can be left for 10 minutes or so while you heat the milk and butter.
Place the milk and butter in a pan with ½ teaspoon of salt and heat gently until the butter has melted. Pass the potatoes through a potato ricer into the warmed butter and milk (a potato ricer is an invaluable tool for creating light, even-textured mash; once you’ve tried one you’ll wonder why you ever made mash any other way). Stir to combine, then taste to decide whether you would prefer a little more salt.
When the beef is ready, remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the mash.