Gourmandistan

Antique Worcestershire sauce makes our current brisket favorite.

Brisket SandwichWe found a century plus-old recipe for Worcestershire sauce while we were in England that seemed surprisingly easy to make. So of course, once we returned home Steve had to make some. Like just about every other adequately-equipped American cooking household, we have a bottle of Lea & Perrins located in our cupboard, ready to be added to soups, sprinkled on steaks or, in a Turner family tradition, dropped onto baked potato skins. (It’s delicious.) The Worcestershire sauce recipe, copied from a crumbling 1892 Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookerycalled for walnut ketchup and several anchovies.

Worcestershire

Steve mistakenly bought mushroom ketchup, and decided to use anchovy paste instead of anchovies. (He also used white wine vinegar instead of red, which made the color a not-that-pleasing muddy brown.) After a few weeks of fermenting, we sampled the sauce and found it needed more sweetness and body. We consulted the ingredients list on our Lea & Perrins bottle and dumped in a bit of blackstrap molasses. Another week of aging and the mixture was a good if not better substitute for store-bought. The problem was what to do with quite a few cups of the stuff, since we don’t have steaks (or baked potatoes) very often. The solution? A wonderfully simple Worcestershire-braised brisket recipe Michelle found in Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, a volume we picked up when planning our England trip.

Sandwich2

Simmered for several hours in our homemade Worcestershire sauce, some stock, onions and celery, the brisket turned out moist and delicious, and quite lovely as mustard-and-cucumber salad-laced “sarnies” (as Oliver insisted on titling what we suspect are sandwiches). It used quite a lot, and just about put us out of Worcestershire sauce. But if Steve finds some walnut ketchup (and we have a few more steaks and baked potatoes) we’ll definitely be making some more. And one of the main reasons will be the chance for more brisket “sarnies.”

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE & BRISKET

  • Servings: about 2-1/2 cups sauce
  • Print

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE

(adapted from Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery)

  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 c. vinegar
  • 3 TB anchovies or anchovy paste
  • 3 TB walnut ketchup or mushroom ketchup
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c. blackstrap molasses

Mix all ingredients together in a jar. Keep in a cool place, shaking daily, for a fortnight (2 weeks). Strain.

WORCESTERSHIRE BRISKET

(adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain)

  • 2 lbs. (or more) beef brisket
  • 1 c. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 onions, halved
  • 4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper

Place all ingredients in a large pot with a lid.  Add stock (beef, chicken or duck) and/or water to cover by an inch or so. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-1/2 to 3 hours until meat is soft.

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49 comments

  1. Wow. This looks so delicious, it is breakfast time here, but this has made me hungry. I had no idea there were such things as mushroom and walnut ketchups! I only knew about the tomato version until now.

  2. I’m with Darya, that’s so fascinating to learn of the varying types of sauces and their base flavours too. Truly, I love the whole made from scratch movement and I think I’ll have to try making my own worcestershire too. Is it bad to say I love dousing my eggs in sauce. Yes for steak and yes for marinades, but I’m a bit weird an I love it on my googy (Aussie slang for eggs!)

  3. That sounds delicious!
    Have you read the story about Lea and Perrins? They were commissioned to make a recipe brought to them by Lord Marcus Sandys (ex governor of Bengal). When the sauce was finished they found it to be disgusting and inedible, so it was consigned to the cellar. Several years later they tried the sauce again and found it had matured into something like the sauce we know today 😉

    • That’s interesting! We visited Worcester in the fall, and Steve was very disappointed that he saw no sign of Mr. Lea or Mr. Perrins. (Though I gather they still do make the stuff there, as well as in New Jersey.)

  4. Sounds relish! That’s one of the reasons I don’t make homemade versions of things very often, because I never know what to do with the mass volume of something I usually use in dashes or accents. (I’m still recovering from my several gallons of kim chee I made a few years back…)

    • Merci beaucoup, Roger! You made my day. 🙂 We don’t use those sauces much either. Sometimes they come in handy when a soup or sauce lacks umami. Though lately I’ve started using miso for that purpose.

  5. I’ve always wanted to try making Worcestershire sauce — and that brisket looks amazing enough to actually tempt me to do it! Oh and walnut ketchup? Mushroom ketchup? These are whole new things to me. (*off to google*)

    • I think the Brits have a condiment for every occasion, god love ’em. The one thing that our recipe didn’t have that the Lea & Perrins definitely does is tamarind in some form. And the brisket was quite good. Though, really, when isn’t it? 😉

  6. Interesting and appealing recipe. You know, I think I read somewhere that a fermented anchovy paste was used in the original Lea and Perrins in order to get the fermentation rolling. Ken

  7. Though I don’t use it very often, there’s a bottle of Lea & Perrins, unopened, on the bottom shelf of the fridge’s door. Heaven knows how long it’s been there but I think it safe to say it’s less than 100 years. Your sauce sounds very good and what a great idea to use it with the brisket. That has to be one of the best photographed “sarnies” I’ve seen.

  8. I love that you took on a Victorian recipe for Worcestershire sauce and made it your own. The brisket looks superb as well. And i’m loving the creeping invasion of Brit-speak into your posts. 😀

  9. Elsie Dowell

    Hello Michelle,
    Was wondering if you would be willing to share that photo for a school fundraising recipe book? My 11-year old daughter’s Year 6 class is raising money for an end-of-year (Aussie) graduation treat and I don’t have time to cook all the recipes and photograph them! Yours is the best I have seen anywhere! If you are willing to share, I am more than happy to put the link to this site in the book. I need the high-res copy, at least 3MB (not compressed for web pages) as the book will be printed.
    If you can spare it, please email!
    Cheers from Perth, Australia (currently visiting daughters in Queensland)
    Elsie
    P.S. Would you like a copy of the book when its done?

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