Recipe of the Month – Honey Herby Pulled Beef Brisket, by IHS Graduate Catriona Walsh

Like other casseroles, this is decadently rich soul-food.

Honey Herby Pulled Beef Brisket

The basic ingredients should be easy to source locally and it relies on seasonal produce. I’ve added some medicinal mushrooms and dried astragalus root strips from my local Asian Supermarket for their added health-promoting and metabolism-boosting effects. These ingredients are a great source of healthy fibres, vitamins and minerals. But they’re optional. You can always replace them with chestnut or button mushrooms, or omit the mushrooms & astragalus completely if you’d prefer.” Catriona Walsh, IHS Diploma in Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching Graduate, The Food Phoenix

Makes 12-14 portions

You will need

About 4-5 lb of beef brisket
2 teaspoons salt

For the marinade
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1-2 leaves fresh sage (or ¼ teaspoon dried sage)
1 small sprig of rosemary (or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary)
Optional bunch of lemon balm
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 rounded teaspoon French mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
4 shallots, chopped
1 small tin of anchovies in olive oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 small piece of fresh turmeric

For the vegetables
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 leek, sliced
Optional 2 strips astragalus root
Optional 1 large lion’s mane mushroom, soaked in warm water for about an hour, then chopped
Optional 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 cup stock (you can use trottery goodness, chicken or beef stock)
3 cloves
1 bay leaf


Remove excess fat from the brisket, if there’s a lot of it. You can render it down to make fabulous tallow and delicious crunchy bits as I outlined in the intro.

Sprinkle the salt all over the brisket on both sides and rub in. Leave in the fridge while preparing the marinade.

To prepare the marinade, place all the ingredients in a mini food processor or in a small-medium bowl and blend with a handheld stick blender and blend until you’ve got a rustic sauce. It doesn’t need to be smooth. Alternatively, you can chop everything by hand and mix it all up in a bowl. Take the brisket back out of the fridge, smear the marinade generously all over it, then return it to the fridge and leave to marinade for at least 1 hour. You can leave it for 24-48 hours marinading in the fridge, so this can be done 1-2 days ahead.

In the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

To cook the brisket, prepare the sliced and chopped vegetables and fire them into the insert of the Instant Pot, or pressure cooker. Pour over 1 cup of stock and add the 3 cloves. Place the brisket on top. Cook on high pressure for 100 minutes, then vent or let it vent naturally. Take the brisket out and place in a warm serving bowl to rest for 5 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot to sauté, give the vegetables a stir and let it reduce a bit until the sauce is a bit more concentrated. Meanwhile, use 2 forks to shred the brisket. Pour the warm vegetables with the sauce over and stir through. Serve with a tossed green salad, or whatever way you’d like it.

In the Slow Cooker

If you’re using a slow cooker, put the brisket in the bottom, dump all the vegetables and the cloves on top, pour over 1 cup of stock and 2 cups of water and submerge the brisket (you may need to top up with more water), cover and cook on low for 16 hours. Shred and serve as above.

Like any other stew or casserole, leftovers will taste even better on the 2nd and 3rd days, because the flavours will have had time to meld.