A couple of weeks ago I was asked by British Onions to create my own recipe for British onion gravy. I decided to be a little creative and do a dish which relies entirely upon onions to produce a sauce.
It is spectacularly tasty, simple to make (needs a little attention, but not much) and re-assuringly light on the wallet using brisket as the cut of meat.
140 gr pancetta
1 kg boneless beef roast, preferably brisket
1 bay leaf
5 medium British onions, sliced wafer thin
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Let's start by pre-heating the oven to a gentle 160 C.
Take the pancetta and cut into thin strips perhaps 5 or 6 mm wide. Now we have to lard the meat. Take a larding needle or a narrow chopstick and pierce the meat in a random manner, but always following the grain. We then use the needle to push the narrow strips of pancetta into the meat. Use half the pancetta. The pancetta both flavours the meat but also helps in the tenderising process.
Once larded, further flavour the beef by studding with the 4 cloves.
Now take the onions, peel and slice as thinly as possible. The onions are going to melt, turn deliciously brown and produce the most amazing sweet, flavoursome sauce to accompany the brisket.
Take a heavy bottomed pot with a very close fitting lid. Place the sliced onions into the bottom and before placing in the brisket, lay out the remaining strips of pancetta and add the bay leaf. Place the prepared brisket on top and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the pot on the highest shelf in the pre-heated oven.
The meat should be turned 3 times approx every hour) throughout the cooking time of 4 hours. Don't be put off by the appearance after the first hour or two - the meat and onions and sauce will gradually turn to the most amazing dark brown bronze appearance - and the smell will be mouthwatering I can assure you.
After 4 hours, remove the meat which will be so very tender, slice and present on a serving plate with the incredible braised onions and sauce from the pot.
Serve with vegetables of choice, I braised some jerusalem artichokes - their nuttiness complimented the sweetness and earthiness of the dish fantastically. Enjoy!