Caesar Braised Beef

Flavours of the Great Canadian Caesar are slow-cooked with a brisket of beef. Rich and spicy, and nothing like any beef stew you’ve had before.

The Canadian Caesar is the best drink in the world. Kind of like a Bloody Mary, only instead of tomato juice it’s Clamato juice: a briny, salty tomato and clam juice. Sounds awful, but it’s really not. Combined with ice, vodka, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, pepper, lime, and a stick of celery – and, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, a pickled bean or dill pickle – it’s absolutely delicious. Practically a meal in itself and the best hangover cure in the world. I’ve even converted my British husband.

This meal is a celebration of the Caesar in beef stew form. Think surf and turf – the surf being the Clamato – or even a throwback to the very old-fashioned beef and oyster pie. But better. Even if you’ve never had a Caesar, you will love this. Green vegetable recommended; horseradish mashed potato a must.

Feeds 4 – 6

Ingredients

1kg beef brisket, rolled and tied

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 rashers smoked steaky bacon, sliced

2 medium onions, chopped

5 stalks of celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 bay leaves

1 heaped tbsp tomato paste (here’s what to do with the rest of the tin)

½ cup vodka

500ml Clamato juice (carried by Sainsbury’s in the UK)

250ml low sodium beef stock (low sodium essential – everything else is really salty)

¾ tsp chilli flakes (or a little less, to taste)

¾ tsp celery salt

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

½ lemon

Salt and pepper

Method:

Take the beef out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 300F / 150C.

Lightly season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Heat an oven-proof pot with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil, and when hot, sear the beef on all sides. Remove the beef and set aside.

Reducing the heat to medium, add the bacon to the pot and cook until crisp. Remove and set aside. If a lot of fat has rendered from the bacon, skim a little off.

Add the onions and celery and cook down for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and you’ve scraped up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for a minute or so. Add the tomato paste, stirring to combine. Add the vodka and cook until the liquid has cooked away. Next, pour in the Clamato and beef stock. Add the chilli flakes, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, juice of half a lemon and a good grinding of pepper. Return the beef and bacon to the pot and bring to a simmer. Once bubbling, put a lid on and transfer the pot to the oven.

Cook in the oven for 3 hours, turning twice throughout cooking to ensure the beef cooks evenly.

After the time is up, remove the beef to a carving board. Cut off and discard the strings and carve into 1cm slices. Meanwhile, let the sauce reduce a little over a medium heat if you think it needs it (5 – 10 minutes). Return the sliced beef to the reduced sauce and turn the heat off. Pop a lid back on and keep warm in a low oven (200F / 100C) until you’re ready to serve, or cool it down completely and gently reheat later.

Serve with horseradish-spiked mashed potato and a green vegetable.

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