For some interesting new tastes and fantastic flavours, try cooking with tea.
When cooking with tea, first and foremost use your nose! If the tea is aromatic and feels your nose with heady scents, then it will probably be able to stand up to being combined with other seasonings and ingredients. However, like other ingredients, the freshness of the tea - like any other product - is important factor in creating a tasty meal. There is no place to cheat your palate; use the finest teas you can afford and brew them carefully.
Quite simply, loose-leaf deluxe tea is recommended as using the best ingredients makes the best dish. The amount need is usually quite modest in quantity. We urge you to experiment; try teas you've never tasted before. Enjoy the far-reaching flavour potential as both a beverage and a food ingredient.
Here's a recipe to get you cooking!
Tea Braised Beef Brisket with Root Vegetables
(4 - 6 servings)
1 kg lean brisket of beef
Olive oil, sufficient to coat a roasting pan
5 celery stalks, washed well and cut into 1 cm diagonal slices
250 g thinly sliced yellow onions
4 carrots, washed and cut into 1 cm rounds
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
1 small swede, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
4 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
4 tablespoons of strong black tea, plus an additional 4 tablespoons of black tea for the sauce
100 g of brown sugar
120 ml good quality tomato ketchup
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 litres of water
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. In a very hot roasting pan, sear the meat in olive oil until it is nicely browned. Scatter the vegetables over and around the brisket.
Brew 4 tablespoons of tea in cool (approximately 77°C) water for 30 minutes. Sieve out and discard the leaves. Combine the brewed tea liquor, brown sugar and tomato ketchup in a bowl until all the ingredients are dissolved. Pour the resulting mixture over the brisket. Add the water into the roasting pan. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminium foil and place in the oven for 2.5 hours or until the meat is tender. Cool and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
The next day, skim off any fat that collects on the surface of the braising liquid. Pour the defatted liquid into a heavy saucepan and cook on a high heat until it is reduced by half. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of tea to the liquid reduction and boil again. Once boiling, remove from the heat of immediately and pour the liquid through a fine sieve to remove the tea leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.
With a sharp carving knife, slice the meat across the grain into slices. Place on a plate along with the warm vegetables. Drizzle the sauce over the meat as required.