Brisket Braised in Tea with Root Vegetables
This dish is great for entertaining. It is best made the day before serving for two reasons. First, any fat that rises to the top of the braising liquid may be skimmed off easily when cold, and second, the flavors of the tea and the vegetable components settle in and marry overnight, producing a mellow multi-layered taste profile.

2 1/4 pounds lean brisket of beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Fruity olive oil, enough to coat the pan for searing
1/2 bunch celery, washed well and cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter
diagonal slices
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (1 large onion)
4 carrots, washed and cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter rounds
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter chunks
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter chunks
4 cloves garlic, smashed then finely chopped
4 tablespoons/2 ounces Keemun tea leaves, plus 4 tablespoons
additional Keemun leaves to finish the sauce
2 quarts/2 liters water
1/2 cup/100 grams packed brown sugar
1/2 cup/120 milliliters ketchup

Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Salt and pepper the brisket and sear in hot olive oil in a heavy skillet until the surface is browned. Turn only once, after about 5 minutes. Place the brisket in a heavy roasting pan and scatter the vegetables over the meat.

Brew the 4 tablespoons/2 ounces of tea in cool (170°F) water for 30 minutes. Sieve out and discard the leaves. Combine the brewed tea, brown sugar, and ketchup in a bowl to dissolve all the ingredients thoroughly, then pour over the brisket. Cover the pan with a lid and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, or until tender. Cool, then refrigerate, preferably overnight.

The next day, skim off any fat that collects on the surface of the braising liquid. Pour the defatted liquid into a heavy saucepan and cook over high heat until it is reduced by half. Add 4 tablespoons/2 ounces of Keenum tea leaves and return the liquid to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Pour the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the leaves. Adjust seasonings in the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

With a sharp carving knife, slice meat across the grain into thin slices. Place decoratively on the plate along with vegetables. Drizzle sauce over each portion. Serves 4 to 6 generously.


This recipe is part of the book Cooking with Tea by Robert Wemischner and Diana Rosen.
Photography by Sysan Bourgoin




Click here for printable version.

 
       
           
     

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