slow cooked Italian-style beef with horseradish yorkshires

If you need a reason to learn the art of slow cooking, this might be it. The lengthy oven time transforms a tough, inexpensive cut of meat into a first-rate, flavourful roast that's fall-apart tender. Add an intense, wine-rich sauce and horseradish Yorkshires and you're in roast heaven

serves 8, hands-on time 30 min, oven time 5½ hours

Brisket is from the lower chest of the cow. These hard-working muscles have to help the cattle stand up, so there's lots of connective tissue that needs to be cooked for a long time to achieve tenderness. The meat is usually basted during cooking to keep it juicy. Brisket is normally bought rolled and tied. If it's not, ask your butcher to do this for you.

Olive oil for frying
1.7-2kg piece British beef brisket, rolled and tied (see Know-how)
6 banana shallots, halved or quartered
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp tomato purée
400g tin chopped tomatoes
350m1 red wine (use a robust Italian wine)
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried chilli flakes

for the horseradish yorkshires
4 tbsp sunflower oil or beef dripping
225g plain flour
Pinch baking powder
4 medium free-range eggs, beaten
300ml whole milk
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp creamed hot horseradish

you'll also need...
Deep flameproof casserole with a lid
12-hole muffin tin

1 Heat the oven to 160°C/fanl4O°C/ gas 3. Heat a glug of oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper, then sear all over for 10 minutes until golden. Set aside.

2 Heat a glug of oil in the casserole over a medium heat, then add the shallots, carrots and celery. Fry for 5 minutes or until beginning to colour and soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, wine, herbs and chilli flakes. Stir.
3 Sit the rolled brisket in the sauce, put the lid on then transfer to the oven and cook on the middle shelf for a total of 5½ hours or until soft and falling apart. (After 2 hours of cooking time, turn the brisket over and baste with the cooking juices. Cover again with the lid, return to the oven for another 2 hours, then turn and baste again. Cover and return to the oven for the final 1½ hours of cooking.)

4 Once the brisket has had its full cooking time and is tender, remove from the oven and set aside in the casserole to rest. Turn up the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

5 For the yorkshire puddings, divide the oil/dripping evenly among the holes of the muffin tin, then heat in the oven for 5 minutes until the fat is smoking hot. Meanwhile sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl or jug with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Make a well in the middle and pour in the eggs, followed by the milk. Whisk until smooth and bubbles start to appear on the surface. Stir in the thyme and horseradish. Divide the batter evenly among the holes of the heated muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes or until risen and golden.

6 Meanwhile transfer the brisket to a carving board and slice. Put on warmed plates with the yorkshires, with plenty of the sauce spooned over the top. Serve with creamy mash and buttery greens, if you like.

per serving: 604kcals, 24.8g fat (8g saturated), 54.2g protein, 30.7g carbs (8.2g sugars), 0.6g salt, 4.1g fibre

wine editor's choice: certain Italian reds are the stand-out stars with this. Top of the list: premium chianti classico or brunello.