I was recently fitted for a wedding suit. I have the joint honour of being best man and therefore we’re going for a matching ensemble as is tradition. The difference being these are fitted suits we can wear again.
I’ve never been properly measured for a suit before and it’s an eye-opening experience. Apparently my broken collar bone, which happened way back in my teens, has left me with one slightly lower shoulder. Trouble is, having never been remotely aware of this before, I swear I can see it now. Then there comes the mid-riff measurements. “The thing is..”, the Tailor said, “shops always label clothes generously, it makes you feel better about yourself and the clothes you’re looking to buy”. Well that bubble was well and truly burst ladies and gentlemen.
Time for action then I thought. The office lifestyle is taking its toll. Time to take a grip on this slightly ageing frame and beat it back into shape. Time for a top-down review of my diet.
So anyway, where was I? Ah yes, pulled beef sandwiches with shoestring fries and coleslaw.
The thing is, I love cuts of beef slowly cooked. Given a choice between a steak and braised cheeks (the ones on the head), I’ll always tend to go for the ‘long and slow’ option. Whether pork or beef, it doesn’t matter for me, in my opinion this is the king of slow-cooked recipes. Thank you, USA.
There was a good butchers next to the Tailor’s shop and I picked up a well-aged piece of brisket. It wasn’t a huge piece by any means, but as you may have established by the title of this, it went a long long way and made a number of meals. Thrifty.
This pulled beef was cooked in a homemade barbecue sauce which was simplicity itself. The ‘shoes string fries’ weren’t as you’d traditionally describe them, but I recently bought a vegetable stringer and wanted to experiment. I think it worked. I also tried adding some tahini paste to coleslaw for a bit of a twist which I also liked.
I browned the meat then simmered it for 3 hours, but left it to cool and pulled it into shreds the following day. Tastes so much better if you can wait.
By the way, I joined my wife for a jog this morning. Think I needed it….
- 750g/ 1.5 lb piece of lean brisket, trimmed of fat
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 500ml/2 cups beef stock
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into 4
- 1 medium onion, halved
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp mustard powder
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 -2 whole red chillis
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- Tahini paste
- 1 large handful sliced white cabbage
- 1 large hanful grated carrot
- 1/2 onion, finely shredded
- 5 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 medium potatoes – suitable for frying – I used Maris Piper.
Heat the oven to 180 ºC/350°F.
In a lidded casserole pot, brown the beef all over in a little oil. Then simply place all the ingredients in the pan and bring to a simmer on the hob.
Put the lid on and put in the oven for 2-3 hours, or until the meat can be easily shredded with a fork. Leave to cool overnight with the lid on.
Reheat the next day, to warm the meat through and remove it to a large plate.
Using a stick blender, make a smooth sauce with the cooking stock and leave to reduce under thick and concentrated. Season to taste.
Shred the brisket with a pair of forks and return to the pan, to coat in the sauce. TRY hard not to eat it.
Make the coleslaw by combing all the ingredients. Simple.
For the fries I used a new gadget to make long thin strings from the potatoes and then gently fried them in a frier at 160°C/320°F.
Whilst this is happening, half some bread rolls, brush with oil and griddle to add some nice smokey charring.