Beer-braised brisket pie with tomatillo salsa


  • Serves 8 people

  • 2 dried ancho chillies, deseeded, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes to soften (see note)
  • ½ cup coriander stalks, coarsely chopped, leaves reserved for tomatillo salsa
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 chipotle chillies in adobo (see note)
  • 1 tbsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1.6 kg brisket, cut into 2.5cm pieces
  • 400 gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 300 ml Mexican lager, such as Corona
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • Tamale crust
  • 135 gm (2/3 cup) coarse yellow polenta
  • 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 200 ml well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 55 gm butter, melted
  • 100 gm cheddar, coarsely grated
  • Tomatillo salsa
  • 250 gm tomatillos, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pickled japapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) coriander, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
01   Preheat oven to 160C. Process ancho chillies and 80ml soaking liquid in a small food processor with coriander stalks, garlic, chipotle, cumin, coriander and oregano until smooth.
02   Heat 50ml oil in a large casserole over medium heat and sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender (12-15 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
03   Add remaining oil to casserole, then add brisket in batches and brown on all sides (2-3 minutes each side). Add chilli mixture, sautéed onions, tomatoes, beer, vinegar and sugar, cover then braise in oven until meat is just tender (2-2½ hours). Remove lid and continue cooking until liquid is reduced to sauce consistency and meat is very tender (2-2½ hours). Cool slightly, then break meat into pieces with a fork, season to taste and transfer mixture to a 2.8-litre pie dish or skillet. Increase oven to 180C.
04   Meanwhile, for tamale crust, combine polenta, flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and butter in a separate bowl, then add to polenta mixture, whisking until smooth. Stir in three-quarters of the cheese, season to taste, spread mixture over brisket, scatter with remaining cheese and bake until golden (35-40 minutes).
05   For tomatillo salsa, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and serve with the beef brisket pie.

Note Dried ancho chillies are available from Herbie's Spices and Monterey Mexican Food. Chipotle chillies in adobo are available from select delicatessens.

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