This pot-roasted beef brisket recipe makes a fantastically comforting family meal, perfect for those looking for a simple Sunday roast or Christmas main with a few intriguing twists to keep things interesting. Parsnip crisps are super easy to make, and add a crunch and flourish to the dish, while braising the brisket for many hours in stock and wine gives an unctuous, meltingly tender finish.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1 and place a casserole on the hob over a medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and once hot, add the rolled brisket to brown all over
Take the meat out and add a splash of red wine to deglaze, making sure you scrape off any beefy bits that are stuck to the pan. Pour the wine mixture over the beef, scraping out as much liquid as possible, then wipe the pan with kitchen paper to clean
Sweat the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the pan for a minute or two then turn the heat down. Leave to cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften and caramelise. Pop the bouquet garni in and stir that around for a minute or two to get the aromatics from the herbs going, then place the meat back on top on the vegetables
Pour over the wine and beef stock and bring to a simmer before popping into the oven
Leave to cook for 3 hours before taking back out – the brisket should be soft and yielding. Remove the beef, cover with foil and leave to rest
Take the bouquet garni out of the casserole dish and add the anchovies. Simmer on the hob for 10 minutes until the fish is cooked out and the liquid reduces. Blitz thoroughly with a hand blender to make a thick gravy. Ordinarily, you would expect to sieve the vegetables out too, but in this case we're keeping them in to add depth and character
Make the root vegetable mash while the beef is in the oven. Place the potato and celeriac in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20–25 minutes. Drain through a colander and leave to steam for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, heat the milk up in a microwave or on the hob in a saucepan. Start mashing the vegetables and add the butter before pouring in the warmed milk. Do this a little bit at a time, as the celeriac will hold a fair bit of water still. Mash until you have a thick, creamy consistency, with no lumps!
To make the parsnip crisps, turn the oven up to 220°C/gas mark 7
Place the parsnip slices in a bowl and cover with the oil. Mix thoroughly, spread them out evenly on a tray and roast for 20–25 minutes, turning every now and then (this can be done in advance)
To plate, carve the brisket and arrange a healthy dollop of mash in the centre (you could use presentation rings here, as its Christmas) then drape some slices of beef around it. Ladle some gravy over the beef and top the parsnip crisps
You could always add some more vegetables of your choice, such as spiced red cabbage, stir fried Brussel sprouts, carrots and so on