This is a really hearty dish. Sure to warm you up after a hard days work. It needs a good 5 hours in a low oven but the aroma that fills the house it almost as satisfying as the dish itself. I have added star anise to a bouquet garni of thyme and rosemary. When you sear the beef in hot oil you get a maillard reaction; the anise does a wonderful job of intensifying the meaty flavour that this reaction creates.
The first step is to rough cut a selection of vegetables for the pot. I have cut these quite chunky but you can cut smaller and let them incorporate themselves into the sauce. Using a large casserole dish heat a thin layer of sunflower oil until very hot. Season the brisket and gingerly place in the hot oil. Sear each side on a high heat until the surface is a rich brown colour.
Remove the beef, reduce the heat and add the vegetables to the pot. Give them a good stir to dislodge any sediment stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in enough flour to soak up the oil (about 2 tablspoons). Cook for a few minutes on a low heat then add half a bottle of red wine and enough beef stock to cover the vegetable. Return the beef to the pot with a bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and star anise. Bring back to a simmer.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook in a pre-heated oven at 150C for 5 hours. Cut into thick slices and serve with the braising liquid and some of the slow cooked vegetables . A slightly sharp dish of braised red cabbage and some sweet parsnip puree compliment the dish perfectly.