braised beef brisket

braised beef brisket with roast potatoes

Just last week I bought a slow cooker – my first. They’ve been out of fashion for quite a while now, I can remember a brown ceramic pot bubbling away on my nan’s counter, issuing clouds of savoury broth. Not sure I ever ate anything cooked in it though… I saw one in Tesco for ¬£12 and impulse bought. But then… what to do with it? Luckily this month’s delicious magazine have a feature on that very subject, so they will be coming up shortly. But I was surprised by the lack of dedicated slow cooker recipes on the net. Many talk about slow cooking as a principle, but few about actually using a slow cooker. Being a cheap-ass implement it didn’t come with any cooking tips at all, so it’s invention all the way!

Thanks to the excellent Essex Food Fair at the weekend, a beautiful piece of brisket came my way. I chatted to lovely young gent who was passionate about his cattle, and how they only ate food grown on the farm. I tasted a little piece of silverside he’d roasted, and I commented how I’d got a tasty bit of fat on mine that was all creamy and peppery. We instantly shared a grin about being “those people that love fat on meat” I pointed out his brisket. After that, I was sold.

I ended up throwing very basic things into the pot – it was my first slow cook after all – and I was very pleased with the results. It was tender and “strandy”, with a sweet and luscious liquor that made an excellent gravy. Served alongside roast potatoes (made with yesterday’s leftover confit fat!) and steamed cauliflower, it was a real rib-sticker.

Braised beef brisket:

800g brisket

2 onions, sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pint beef stock

Glass of red wine

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon butter

  1. Drizzle a little olive oil into a hot pan and sear the brisket on all sides.
  2. Put the beef, onions, garlic, bay, thyme, stock and wine in the slow cooker. Top up with boiling water if necessary to bring the liquids up to 2/3 up the joint.
  3. Leave to slow cook for 7 hours. When a fork can slide easily into the middle, it’s ready.
  4. Remove the beef to one side to rest while you make the gravy.
  5. The liquid will still be quite runny so it requires thickening. I used a beurre manié by mixing the flour and butter together and whisking into the winey stock.
  6. Hack off big chunks of beef and drizzle over your gravy.

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