Hereford Beef Brisket with Brown Ale

Pot roasting is an ancient cooking method dating back to prehistoric times. Clay, bronze and copper pots were hung over the open fire and meat, vegetables and water slowly cooked – we’ve moved on.

Serves: 4-6

Total time (prep and cooking): 2 hours plus optional overnight marinating


  • 1.3kg/3lb lean beef brisket joint
  • 450ml (3/4 pt) brown ale
  • 15ml (1tbsp) oil
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 15ml (1tbsp) brown sugar
  • 30ml (2tbsp) Worcestershire sauce
  • 15ml (1tbsp) tomato puree
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 small turnips, peeled and quartered (left whole if small)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • Gravy granules


  • Place the brisket joint into a large bowl and pour over the ale, cover and leave for 24 hours or overnight. (If you don’t have time to marinate the joint, add the ale after adding the garlic below). Drain the joint, reserve ale and pat dry.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4-5, 180-190ºC, 350-375ºF.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the meat to brown all over. Transfer to a large casserole dish.
  • Fry the shallots and garlic, then add the reserved marinated ale and bring to the boil.
  • Add the bay leaf,  brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree and black pepper. Pour over the brisket. Cover and cook in a preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  • Add the turnips and carrots to the casserole, baste the brisket and replace the lid. Return to oven for 3⁄4 -1 hour or until meat is tender.
  • Remove the brisket and vegetables from the casserole, keep the vegetables warm and transfer the meat to a carving plate, cover lightly in foil and leave to rest.
  • Drain the juices into a saucepan and thicken with gravy granules.
  • Serve with cheesy croutons (thick slices of French stick buttered and spread with wholegrain mustard piled with your favourite regional cheese, grated and placed under the grill until bubbling), gravy and a pile of steaming seasonal veg.