This week we have my brother and his lovely girlfriend over for dinner. We don’t see nearly enough of my family so it was lovely to catch up with just them rather than the whole family together which we normally do. We should probably see a lot more of them considering they only live a 30 minute train ride away!
I wanted to do homey, winter friendly food as the cold is defo settling in to stay here. Plus there was a slight ulteria motive for inviting them as I’d spied a dessert recipe I was dying to try which will be coming up later in the week! I’d made these sandwiches the week before for me and J as part of a test selection of various brisket recipes and we both loved them. They are about as delicious as a sandwich gets and perfect soul food for a cold night.
Plus these are about as classic Northern English grub as you get! Excluding pease pudding which we won’t discuss… So these are a bit of a tribute post to Newcastle which one of my favourite cities in the world, and which I like to call home – even if at the moment it’s just with the heart rather than actual location!
I was slightly worried about the controversy of essentially serving sandwiches at a dinner party, but I promise these aren’t just any sandwiches! These are slow cooked brisket, with the vegetables it’s cooked with, smothered in melted cheese and served with a rich gravy to dip them in!
They went down pretty well, combined with duck fat roast potatoes, mixed veg and loads of gravy for dipping everything in sight. I really wanted a photo of that dipping moment which is kind of the point of the whole sandwich – as you dip each bite before you take it but I was too busy stuffing my face and totally forgot about photos until after they’d been demolished!
They are fantastic for serving a crowd as you could scale up the recipe so easily to serve as many as needed. This recipe will comfortably serve six. It’s also great for make ahead as you will need to slow cook the brisket for 6 hours. I made the brisket up a few days before. Once it’s cooked remove the meat from the gravy and allow to cool. It’s so much easier to slice after a night in the fridge.
Much of this recipe is adaptable as well – I used a good strong cheddar for the cheese. But you could easily substitute a mozzarella or any other good melting cheese. The same goes for the veg – I used the last of our home grown carrots, J has grown some really beautiful harlequin carrots this year so I used the last of them in this – again you could use any veg you like or that’s in season – parsnips would work well. I also used a couple of teaspoons of marmite and some umami paste in mine – it you don’t have these don’t worry. I good glug of Worchester sauce would work just as well, or even without any of these the gravy will have plenty of flavour.
Hot Beef Dip Sandwiches: (Serves 6)
1 Large Beef Brisket – about 2Ibs
5 Large Carrots – Cut into Large Chunks
2 Large Onions – Cut into 6th’s
2 Tblsp Plain Flour
1 tsp Dried Thyme
600ml Beef Stock
2 tsp Marmite
1 tsp Umami Paste
Salt and Pepper – to taste
2 Cups Cheddar (Or other good melting cheese) – Grated
10 Soft White Bread Buns
Oven 150C/300F/Gas 2
Get a large crock pot or cast iron casserole dish on a high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Season your brisket well and brown it on all sides – turning often to get a nice even colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onions and carrots to the pan and stir well. Turn the heat down a little and cook for about 5 minutes until they have coloured slightly. Add the flour and the dried thyme and stir well to coat the vegetables.
Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan and add the meat back in in the centre. Pour over the stock (It should be just about covering the meat but not quite- add more if needed) and add the marmite and umami paste, and a good grind of pepper and salt.
Bring to the boil then put the lid on and put in the oven. Cook for six hours – turning the meat occasionally. Once done remove from the oven. If making ahead remove the meat from the gravy and cover and place in fridge along with the gravy (stored separately) until needed.
To make the sandwiches:
Cut the brisket into nice chunky slices – or shred with two forks if you find it easier. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. If the meat has been in the fridge you will need to reheat it a little. Do this by heating 250ml of beef stock in a saucepan. Add your cold brisket and bring to a gentle simmer for about 3 minutes then strain off the stock (Keep the stock and add it to your gravy if it’s looking a little thick).
Spread the brisket on your foil lined baking sheet. If your gravy has been in the fridge bring it to a boil to think it out then pass it through a sieve to remove the vegetables and chunky bits. If you haven’t chilled it and it hasn’t thickened up to much just pass it straight through the sieve so you are left with a nice smooth gravy. Keep warm until needed.
Heat the grill to full heat and heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Chop the vegetables into smaller chunks and distribute them over the top of the brisket along with any chunky gravy bits in the sieve. Then sprinkle over the grated cheese and put under the grill until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Slice your buns in half and put on a tray in the oven for ten minutes to warm them through. Use a spatula the distribute the cheesy brisket between the buns and pour the gravy into a jug or distribute between individual ramekins for people to dip their sandwiches in!
You will get this all over your face… and down your top. But you will love it, promise!
There’s some seriously good recipes kicking around out there this week! I’ve been pinning like mad and adding them all to my to make list for the next few weeks. Hope they can inspire you as much as they have me!
There has been two beautiful mac and cheese recipes – One from The Ruby Red Apron – with buffalo sauce and blue cheese and another from Honey and Figs with a delicious low fat ham mac and cheese. Both sound sooo good – the only problem I’m having is which one to make first!
This blog is a new one for me but I totally fell I love with the recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Dumplings with Cherry’s and Hazelnuts from Local Milk. It’s a beautiful blog with the most poetic writing and approach to food and this recipe was literally love at first sight!