Look at that piece of meat. Go on, take a long look. I’m sure it won’t mind. I think I may have just made a cultural point about objectification there – look at me having more than one level. One day, GSCE students will analyse this blog to find all the hidden messages that I definitely intended to put in. Not an accident at all. Please note that bit, students: definitely intentional. Appreciate it.
Anyway, that delicious piece of cow up there is brisket, which I recently learned comes from the shin. Funny that, you never think of shins having any meat on. Mine certainly don’t, if they did it might not hurt so much when I bash them into things. That happens a lot.
That brisket represents one of my greatest cooking accomplishments (and some of my cooking moments which are completely devoid of common sense). It took 10 hours from start to finish to reach tender perfection, and it’s a relatively simple recipe:
3 onions, very roughly chopped.
Lots of garlic, very roughly chopped.
2 big (ish) leeks, very roughly chopped.
Half a bottle of a semi decent red wine (there is absolutely no need to chop this as the manufacturers have already achieved a very fine consistency called “liquid”).
Pint of beef stock (maybe less – play it by ear on this one, if the brisket asks for more, you should appease it. A brisket can be a bit of a diva).
Onion chutney/marmalade – optional, but if you’re going to go for it, I’d suggest using lots because it’s yummy!
Salt and Black Pepper.
So, you want to rub your brisket in salt, pepper and onion chutney and pop it in the slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients and cook on low for 5 hours, then ramp it up to high for 5 hours. Treat your brisket well, and she will be good to you – and that’s a life lesson that also applies to women, cars and games consoles. Or so I’m told, anyway.
Check on it occasionally and maybe take some of the excess fat off the top as brisket fat isn’t great. Taste the cooking liquor every couple of hours to check if it needs more seasoning, and then use it for gravy. It’s delicious!
I served mine with garlic roasted potatoes and broccoli – and the next incarnation of the dish will have sautéed spinach and kale. I love kale so much – and that might be the most middle class thing I’ve ever said. Ever.
Now, I have tips, please learn from my stupidity. Please, or this will have all been for nothing.
Number one: Leave the string ON the brisket until after it’s cooked. There’s a high chance that everyone but me knows this anyway and has never had to experience their brisket separating into 2 pieces halfway through cooking. It’s distressing. Especially as after that it didn’t really fit in the slow cooker properly and required a lot more attention when I had other things to do, like cleaning, and buying a cactus.
Number 2: Actually trim the excess fat before cooking and don’t trust that it will all definitely render down and become delicious gravy. It doesn’t happen, and you look like an idiot trying to haul your piece(s) of brisket out of the slow cooker to cut it off mid cooking when it’s starting to look a bit funny. You also look like an idiot chasing lumps of fat around your slow cooker with a teaspoon, getting visibly more frustrated by the second because it keeps eluding your cunning “spoon plan”. That’s right, folks. I was outwitted by some fat from a brisket. It also helps avoid the horror moment of finding a “tube” in your meat, something that my Grandfather will tell you is worse than the 7th circle of hell.
Luckily, I found the tube that was lurking in my brisket and managed to get rid of it after only 10 minutes of following it with a spoon. You may call that a pointless waste of my time, but it really improved my dexterity, patience and ability to swear like a trooper. I count that as a win.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the Metro has told me that there’s a goat’s cheese crisis coming, and I need to prepare myself. I take back my earlier comment, that was the most middle class thing I have ever said.