Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Super slow cooked brisket

Each weekend I try to do a 'proper' meal. A sort of meat and 2 veg type affair. This feels so much more important in the autumn and winter, and sometimes it's nice for it not to be roast chicken or pork. I rarely cook roast beef because it's so expensive and because somewhere in my head it doesn't lend itself to leftovers in quite the same way. Of course this is twaddle, but when faced with the butcher or the meat counter in the supermarket I seem to always plump for chicken.

This week I had decided to try something different and slow cook a joint of brisket. Brisket is a cheaper cut of beef, one which requires a lot of slow cooking to break down the connective tissue. We bought ours from the local(ish) butcher and a 3lb joint which cost £12. I nearly fell over but M propped me up, whispering "think of the leftovers" as my shaking hands retrieved the cash from my purse.

Obviously the outlay meant that how I cooked the beef became more important. I had planned to slow cook it, in the crock pot for around 6 hours. I didn't however want to casserole it, as I wanted to retain the integrity of the whole joint of meat.

3lb joint of brisket
2tblsps English mustard
2 carrots roughly chopped
2 parsnips roughly chopped
2 turnips roughly chopped
2 leeks roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
500ml either red wine or beef stock

Start by searing the beef in a hot pan - there's a fair amount of fat on the top of the brisket joint and I didn't want to end with a flooby, flaccid peice of meat. This also gives it some colour, without which the end result will be grey. Still wonderfully tasty, but grey
Cover the seared brisket in the mustard
Line the bottom of your crock pot dish with the veggies, and pour the wine/ stock over. I wouldn't go out and buy wine for this - it's an ideal way to use up anything you've got lying around. In actual fact I used white as that's what I had.
Stir in the garlic, and season
Top with the beef
Put the lid on and turn your slow cooker onto High for 6ish hours. You could easily eat it after 4, but when you touch the joint at 6 hours, it just falls to peices.
At the end you can reduce down the cooking liquid to make a gravy - just do this in a pan and allow it to bubble down for a few minutes
Serve with roast potatoes, and the veggies from the pot. And of course yorkshires are mandatory.


There was a huge amount of leftovers. So much so, this joint did. 4 dinners from the slow cooker. 1 dinner of leftovers, plus a baked potato. A vast amount of curry and a cottage pie. Overall we got 14ish meals from the brisket which starts to make it much more affordable. However, I should just say that I completely understand that no matter how reasonable the per portion cost of the joint works out - the initial outlay might be prohibitive. there have certainly be times in the past when I wouldn't be able to afford the £12. That said, if you can afford it - or even afford a smaller piece, I would urge you to try it.

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