Orkney is an island I’ve long wanted to visit. From the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae to the stunning maritime warmth of Highland Park it’s an island that’s always fascinated me. It’s also a collection of islands with an amazing array of food, and I was delighted when I met Stewart Anderson on the Orkney Beef stand at the Royal Highland Show. He introduced me to the fascinating North Ronaldsay Mutton, from sheep which live outside the coastal walls of that most remote island, feeding purely on seaweed. I tried the haggis from these hardy beasts and look forward to sampling the meat. Stewart also educated me about the protected status of Orkney beef and we had a long chat about the merits of slow braising brisket, a cut of meat we both clearly have a passion for. He handed me a large piece of this wonderful cut, declaring an interest in what I would do with it. Therefore with these two thoughts in mind I decided that a seaweed blanket could be the perfect foil for this island beef. I used ‘fresh’ salted dulse, bought rather than foraged, so didn’t season the beef. If you collect your own from the coast you may want to season with salt. Clearly you can make this with beef of any origin but if you’re able to find Orkney beef you’re in for a treat. The resultant flavour is briny maritime infused beef, it might not appeal to everyone but if these are flavours which excite you then give it a go in a sandwich with tomatoes and rocket, or with a heap of buttery skin on potatoes.
Dulse braised beef brisket
750g piece brisket
Handful fresh dulse (around 50g)
Salt to season
1. Heat the oven to 140C. If using fresh picked dulse season the beef with salt.
2. In an ashet or similar style roasting dish place the brisket and then cover the top with the dulse. Cover with foil in a little tent, try to avoid the seaweed touching the foil to prevent it burning.
3. Add in a splash of water and braise for 10 hours. Halfway through remove the dulse and discard. At this point check that the tray isn’t drying out and burning. If required add a little water.
4. When cooking time complete shred the beef with the remaining liquor and serve in your preferred manner.