When I was an undergraduate and couldn’t afford food my chum Mr T would cook for me on a regular basis. He was excellent at braising meat in booze, but the recipe I’m about to give you is far better than what he used to make for several reasons.
Firstly, Edward was given to braising things in beer. That’s fine, but I’m a wine writer, and a freaking dissolute one at that, so I braise my meat in Port.
Secondly, I’m telling you how to braise a more interesting meat than what is usually used; this recipe is for braised buffalo brisket. You can get buffalo meat from Broughton Water Buffalo who sell at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets.
Finally, this recipe uses a staggering amount of onions that you cook slowly. I love onions and I love them when they’ve been slow cooked.
To make buffalo brisket braised in Port you will need:
- 1-1.5kg Buffalo brisket in one piece with bone attached
- 1.5kg Onions, peeled and roughly sliced
- 500g Button mushrooms sliced in half
- At least half a bottle of decent Port
- 250ml Fresh beef stock
- 150g Unsalted butter
- A few tablespoons of flour
- A few tablespoons of lard
- A couple of tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- A tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Bay leaves
Put the lard in a large casserole pan and melt over a medium heat. Dust the brisket with flour then sear the meat on all sides in the hot lard. Put the seared brisket to one side and pour the fat out of the casserole.
Put the casserole pan over a medium heat again and then melt the butter in it until it just begins to go foamy and slightly brown. Carefully add the huge piles of chopped onions and the chopped mushrooms. Stir vigorously to get everything coated in butter.
Smack the heat up and keep stirring until the onions have wilted. Then turn the heat down to the minimum, put a lid on the casserole and go and do something else for 20-30 minutes. Playing practical jokes with Superglue is a good thing to do, as is working out some really florid methods of being rude.
When you’ve finished with your rudeness take the lid off the casserole. The onions should have collapsed into buttery softness. Now, you want to get rid of a bit of that onion water, so turn the heat up again and stir for 5-10 minutes until the onions and mushrooms seem a bit more dry.
Now you add the vinegar to the onion and mushroom mixture and then stir over a continuing high heat until it’s reduced a little. By now this should be smelling super beezer!
Now, have a glass of the Port. Is it good enough to drink? It is? Then it’s good enough to cook with. Pour about 300ml of Port into the casserole. Add the beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves.
Put the buffalo brisket into the casserole and try to submerge it in the onion/mushroom/Port/hedonism fluid. Stick a lid on the casserole and put it in a 130 degree Celsius oven.
Now, brisket is a rather tough cut and if you’ve got a big lump of it it is going to take a while to become tender. I’d recommend braising the buffalo brisket in its booze bath for 4-5 hours.
When the brisket is as tender as you think it’ll get stir a little chopped parsley into the mix, adjust the seasoning (lots of pepper, not too much salt) and serve the onion-y, mushroom-y juices with some bits of brisket and perhaps some mashed potato.
I suppose you could also make this with brisket of beef. That may provide the alliteration but it’s not as tasty as buffalo.