Forget the meatballs …well maybe don’t forget them if you fear a revolt from those who look forward to them…but you can add something special to your holiday feast with a juicy flavourful brisket. It’s a very easy protein, as the star of your dinner or an accessory to your holiday turkey. And it is so easy to throw together. The results are worth the 2 to 3 hours it takes to slow cook.
If you are from Hong Kong, Korea, a Brit, Thai, or Jewish, it’s a good bet you have been served up a dish of brisket in soups, roasted slowly with smoke, or possibly brined as corned beef. I am certain you must have loved it! Comfort food. It comes from the front bottom quarter of the cow. The fat cap often left attached to the brisket helps to keep the meat from over-drying during the prolonged cooking necessary to break down the connective tissue in the meat. Moisture from wine, stock, fruit or vegetable soup is important for the conversion of collagen to gelatin. Sooo…long slow and low heat with constant moisture, otherwise known as braising and/or constant basting, is the way to go.
I’m not a big fan of copious amounts of red meat consumption. But once in a while, it’s a nice treat. The brisket I used is from Beretta farms, an organic local humane choice.
No real recipe is required. Here’s one of my many versions:
What you will need…
Brisket, ask for cap on (from 2 to 5 lbs or whatever lbs works. Allow for about ½ lb per person) Dijon mustard, optional 1 big Onion, cut into quarters or eights. 10 Garlic Cloves, skinned and smashed ½ a big Potato per person, quartered or in eights 4 big ones, Carrots, peeled and cut about same size as potatoes ½ head of a small Cabbage, dice into same size chunks as the potatoes and carrots Fresh Herbs, rosemary, thyme (you can use about 1 tablespoon of dried, combined) Bay Leaves Ketchup A Bottle Good Red Wine, can be leftovers 1 cup or so of Port, optional Coarse Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a deep vessel, like a roasting pan or soup pot, brown brisket on all sides in about 1 tablespoon of hot oil. Take it out of the pot. Pour off excessive fat.
Add the onions to the pot and slightly brown.
Throw in 2 bay leaves, a couple of fresh rosemary sprigs, and a couple of fresh thyme sprigs.
Place all the vegetables in the pot with the onions to act as a bed for the meat.
Place the meat on top of the vegetables, Generously sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, slather it with Dijon mustard..
Pour a good tasting red wine (I used a Chilean Malbec last week) until it reaches about half way up the vegetables and touches the bottom of the meat.
Add about 1 to 2 cups of port wine (white or ruby red).
Squeeze in about ¼ cup ketchup into the liquid.
Bring to a boil on top of the stove.
Cover and place in a preheated oven to 350 degrees F for about 2 to 3 hours. When a fork enters the tender meat easily…and I mean easily because that’s the magic… It’s done.
Take meat and vegetables out of the pot. Reduce (boil on top of stove) juices until about half. Skim off fat, if possible.
Serve by slicing meat about 1/8 inch thick. Serve along with vegetables and covered in the juices. Yummmo!
Sometimes nice to make a day ahead. Refrigerate or freeze. Take off the solid fat. Then reheat in a 350 degree F oven or microwave portions. Tastes even better the next day.