Bay leaves

As mentioned in the last post, the aromatic leaves of Bay can be used in many recipes.  Here’s one for a slow cooked beef casserole, which uses organic brisket, a flavoursome but tough cut of beef which responds well to slow cooking.  Flavoured with Bay leaves and juniper, this is a special dish, perfect to share with friends and family in the early autumn.


Serves 4 – 6 people


  • Brisket of organic beef, rolled: 1.2 kg approx
  • 2TB oil for browning the meat
  • Onions, large: 2
  • Carrots: 350g approx
  • Red wine: 425 ml
  • Bay leaves: 6 fresh or 3 dried
  • Juniper berries: 1 tsp
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Parlsey to serve

You will need a large, oven proof casserole dish with a close fitting lid.

  1. Heat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1 (a slow oven)
  2. Brown the meat.  Heat the oil in your casserole until properly hot, add the meat and brown on all sides.  Pour off any excess fat. (If you can’t use your casserole dish on a direct heat, use a large frying pan instead, then transfer the browned meat into the casserole.)
  3. Chop the onions.  Clean the carrots – no need to peel – and cut into lengths the size of your thumb.  Add to the casserole.
  4. Pour in the wine.  Add the juniper berries and tuck in the bay leaves.  Grind in lots of black pepper and several generous pinches of sea salt.
  5. Put the lid on the casserole and cook for 3 hours.
  6. When it’s ready, remove the meat from the casserole, cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  You will have some liquid left in the pan, which you can thicken with 1 tsp cornflour to make a very tasty gravy, or leave as a jus.  Slice the meat, serve with the gravy or jus.  Mashed potatoes go well with this, and shredded Savoy cabbage lightly cooked and served with a little butter and lemon juice.

2 thoughts on “B IS FOR BAY AND BRISKET

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