Salt beef with caramelised onion bagels and hot mustard sauce


  • Serves 6 people

  • 1½ kg coarse sea salt
  • 500 gm raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp crushed juniper berries
  • ½ bunch of thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1.5 kg beef brisket
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • To serve: mustard cress
  • Caramelised onion bagels
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2½ tsp caster sugar
  • 25 gm butter
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 1¼ tsp dried yeast
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 250 gm bread flour, plus extra for handling (see note)
  • Hot mustard sauce
  • 25 gm butter
  • 25 gm plain flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 3 tsp finely grated fresh horseradish or 1½ tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 3 tsp hot English mustard
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
01   Combine salt, sugar, juniper berries, half the herbs and 4 litres of water in a casserole and bring to the boil. Cool, add brisket, weight down with a plate, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 5 days. Drain brisket, discarding juniper berries and herbs, and soak in cold water in the refrigerator overnight.
02   For bagels, heat oil in a frying pan over low heat, add onion and ½ tsp sugar and cook until caramelised (30 minutes). Cool. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, add milk and remaining sugar and heat until lukewarm, remove from heat and add yeast. Stand until foamy (10 minutes), then beat in eggwhite and ¼ tsp salt. Place flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add yeast mixture and mix until dough is smooth and elastic (5 minutes). Stand, covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size (30 minutes), then add onion and mix until well combined (about 3 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces and, working with one piece at a time, roll into a ball (adding more flour if dough is too sticky). Dip your finger into flour, then pierce through the centre of the dough ball. Using a hoola hoop action with your finger, spin dough around until a hole two-thirds the size of the dough is created. Place on a baking paper-lined tray and repeat with remaining dough. Stand, covered with a tea towel until slightly risen (about 5 minutes), then blanch, in batches and turning once, in the boiling water for 15 seconds. Transfer to a tray and repeat with remaining bagels. Combine egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a small bowl, brush over bagels and bake until golden (about 20 minutes).
03   Combine peppercorns and remaining herbs in a large saucepan. Drain brisket, add to pan, cover completely with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until meat is very tender (about 3 hours). Keep warm.
04   For mustard sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat, add butter and, when beginning to melt, add flour and stir to combine. Cook until just starting to colour (2 minutes), then add milk, a little at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Bring to boil, then whisk in horseradish and mustards and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
05   Warm bagels in oven, then halve horizontally. Drain and slice beef, place on half the bagel halves, spoon mustard sauce over, scatter with cress and sandwich with remaining halves.
Note Bread flour, also called ‘00’ or strong flour, is available from most supermarkets and select delicatessens.







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