When I was last down at the farm in Virginia, Dad shoved a 2.4 pound slab of beef brisket into my cooler to take home.
ACK! Whatta I do with this? Old memories of Christmas dinners with our family neighbors during my teens and twenties flooded my memory, and threatened to flood it out like a bad computer viral/worm attack! What do I DO with this slab of meat? Is there someone I disrespect enough, to inflict it on? Okay, it’s grass-finished, but ahem, this is BRISKET.
Let’s be even more specific here. I was due in for major surgery two days after Christmas one year, and was told that for the two days preceding, I should only consume Clear Liquids. This sounded like a hardship over Christmas, but when I considered we’d be dining at the neighbor’s for that meal: it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. (They always made the exact same menu every Christmas.) Yes, I’d miss the wondrous Brie in a pastry shell, but that would be followed up by dried-out overcooked beef brisket and dried-out Brussels sprouts. I had a great meal that night, because I focused my mind on what I needed an excuse not to eat, and delved heartily into my chicken broth (with a few flakes of dried oregano for flavor which shouldn’t intervene with its overall clarity) and my one glass of clear liquid white wine.
Since whatever they had for dessert didn’t matter (I’ve long been not interested in most desserts, and they didn’t serve the exceptions), I avoided the brisket and went home a little low in nutrition, but pleased as punch that I had a viably valid excuse to avoid foods I thought not ceremonially appropriate for the occasion. Missing the Brie was regrettable, but a small sacrifice to make, overall.
Okay, so last time I was down visiting Dad, this past winter: I got that aforementioned beef brisket slab.
Last week I solicited cooking advice at work, and did some online surfing. So anyhow, here is my Really Nice and Tasty Beef Brisket Recipe.
2-3 lbs beef brisket
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
Cracked ground pepper
Brown the brisket in the olive oil and add the ground pepper over the stovetop. It was big enough I cut it into two portions.
Put into crockpot along with:
24 ounces strained tomatoes. I used an organic blend sold in glass, not in something lined with Bisphenol A.
1 onion, cut coarsely.
approximately 3 stalks celery, chopped into 1 inch or less segments
2 ramps, chopped reasonably fine at the root end (or, substitute garlic)
other root vegetables as desired
1 teaspoon, approximately, of cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon, approximately, of fennel seeds.
a couple tablespoons of Ponzu sauce
Just a dab of hot sauce, to taste. Mild should be the overall sensation, with a just a bit of sensation in the back of the mouth.
More ground pepper, if desired.
Water, if needed to keep fluids available for tenderizing this.
Put crockpot on low, and go to sleep or go to work or something. (I went to sleep.) 9 hours is a good amount of time for this to cook away. BTW, you don’t want to excise any natural fat occurring on this cut. Especially if it was grass-finished. This will be a moisture/tenderizing resource. This cut was only beginning to shred, but remained connected. I’ve found that most foods put into a crockpot for work-disappearing lengths of times are overdone to my taste — pork shoulder for instance tends to shred entirely into a pulled pork thing, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for, but generally I’m not. But with brisket, this works out fine.
The 2.4 pound brisket will supply enough food for six meals. (If I weren’t six foot one, there might even be additional…) I’ve frozen a couple of the results for later, and in addition there’s a world of leftover savory tomato sauce, that is also frozen.