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Liberation. A No Fuss Summer Dinner

Cooking With Friends

This recipe for cold, pressed brisket dates from my mother’s World War 11 frugality and the need to “stretch” the beef; something that we are beginning to be conscious of again. This recipe produces an exceptionally sweet and tender beef that can be cut very thinly and used for cold plates or sandwiches.

cold pressed brisket

  • 1 fresh Brisket (as opposed to one already cured for corned beef). Select a size that suites your family needs. Everything else in the recipe remains the same.
  • 1 bottle of very dark beer, preferably Guinness stout.
  • 1 large white onion thinly sliced in circles
  • 1 TBS. Pickling spices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh coarsely ground black pepper plus a tsp of peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. sea salt

Oven proof oval or square baking dish that approximates the size of the brisket. You want a snug fit.
Tin foil. 
Saran wrap.

Rinse the brisket, pat it dry, and place in the baking dish fat side up.
Pour the stout over the meat.
Arrange the sliced onions & whole bay leaves on top of the brisket.
Sprinkle with the pickling spices, salt, ground and whole pepper.

Wrap the entire baking dish tightly in a double layer of heavy duty foil. Make sure that there are no steam escape holes.
Place in a 300 degree oven. Leave to cook for 6 hours. NO PEEKING! (Alternatively you can cook this in a slow cooker on low setting).

Have ready a large sheet of plastic wrap. Remove meat from oven. Uncover, be careful of the steam. Usingcold pressed brisket one or two spatulas, place the meat onto the plastic wrap , onion side up. Wrap tightly. It will be hot so use caution. Then wrap it again, equally snuggly in another layer of plastic wrap. Make a third layer of tight wrapping using tin foil. Place package on a flat surface (I use a cutting board) and place something with an equally flat surface on top of the package. I use a very large cast iron skillet but you can use a baking tray, another baking dish a another cutting board. Now for the fun part. Raid the pantry and place as many heavy cans as you can balance on top of the meat. The idea is to “press” it down. My mother used to use a heavy non-electric iron or a large pan of water. Let the package “press’ for a couple of hours or until cool enough to refrigerate. Rearrange your weights and continue pressing the meat in the refrigerator over night. It will not require the same extra heavy arrangement as the one you started with but you do need to keep it weighted down.

When ready to serve, unwrap and slice very thinly across the grain.

When my fellow editors and I got together to cook with friends this week I brought the beef and we made an impromptu “Ploughman's Platter”.

Sliced cold brisket
Boiled baby potatoes, room temperature
Roasted asparagus
Sliced tomatoes
Green onions
Sliced raw baby zucchini
Lettuce greens
Cheese (sharp cheddar, stilton…it’s your choice)
Crusty bread

Ploughman's Platter

The tomatoes, onions, zucchini and lettuce all came from our emerging community garden.
Arrange any variation of the above on dinner plates for a light and healthy dinner. We served our “Ploughman’s” with homemade chutney and drizzled the oil from the roast asparagus over the potatoes.

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