The gap between Christmas and New Year is one of my favourite times – it’s perfect for relaxing, going for long walks, eating big hearty dinners, chilling out indoors and most importantly, spending time with family. To reflect that vibe, I’ve made this warming, Bloody Mary-spiked beef, which you can leave to tick away for hours while you get on with your day. Served with creamy horseradish mash, this is exactly the fare you’ll want when you return home from a cold stroll outdoors.
Preheat the oven to 130ºC/250ºF/gas ½. Place a snug-fitting casserole pan over a medium heat to get hot. Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper, then add to the hot pan with a splash of olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes, or until gnarly and browned all over. Meanwhile, trim and chop the celery into 5cm chunks, reserving the yellow leaves for later, then peel and quarter the onions. Add the chopped veg to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly softened.
Combine all of the Bloody Mary ingredients in a large jug, then pour into the pan with 250ml cold water and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Make a bouquet garni by tying the thyme, rosemary and bay together with string, then add to the pan and bring everything to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and cover with a cartouche – this is basically a scrunched-up piece of greaseproof paper that you place directly on the surface of the food. Cover the pan with tin foil and cook in the oven for 5 to 6 hours, or until the beef is tender and falling apart.
When there’s about 30 minutes to go, peel and slice the potatoes into 2.5cm chunks. Add to a large pan of cold salted water, place over a high heat and bring to the boil, then cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, if using, remove and wash the outer green leaves of the cabbage, then roll them up like a cigar and finely slice. Add the sliced cabbage or curly kale to a pan of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender, then drain.
Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave to steam dry, then return to the pan and mash well with the butter and horseradish. Season to taste, and add a little more horseradish if it needs it. Divide between plates and spoon over the greens, then pull the beef apart with two forks, pile on top and finely grate over a little fresh horseradish. Scatter over any reserved celery leaves, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.