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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Slow-Cooker Beef Brisket w/ Onion Gravy

   Sunday dinner has become a must in our house.We try to make a bigger,heartier dinner on Sundays for two reasons: A. Leftovers.I have a tendency to cook a meal for a small army so we always have leftovers. Leftovers always come in handy on Tuesday night when I really don't feel like cooking dinner.It's been a long day,busy at work and to come home and rest is a must. And then the laundry is sitting there just waiting to be folded...I have recently posted a few recipes that taste even better the next day.
B. Sunday is meant to be a day of rest. Now whether you subscribe to that reasoning and what your definition of rest is varies and my idea of rest is the occasional nap,but really rest is a break from the everyday.The choice to be made of either doing laundry or cooking a big meal for your whole family or just the two of you is pretty much an easy one for me to make.
     When I was a kid,my dad and I (oh he is a saint) would go 'round and 'round about emptying the clean dishes in the dang dishwasher.I would take my time,get sidetracked and some point finish putting up the last clean dish.My schedule of finishing chores and his schedule of running his household didn't always let's say...jive.
    So inevitably I would hear the phrase that still rings true in my ear today: "In the time you have spent fussing about getting _______________ (insert assigned chore here) done, you could've been done by now."
If I heard it once I heard it a million times.
I wasn't the most helpful child,but I was cute so maybe that helped.
Probably not.
Moving along.
     On Sundays, I usually decide to get the chores done and over with in a timely manner and then its off to cook up some sort of meal to enjoy and then after my belly is full with some delicious had my dad as our dinner guest last Sunday night.It wasn't a fancy meal but nonetheless tasty.I decided to make a slow-cooker meal of beef brisket with onion gravy.We are moving a few weeks and I knew we still had a lot to do,soooo I could get dinner started in the morning and get to packing until it was ready to eat.
See there productive and efficient,ha.
The meal was just fine I tell ya and after all was said and done,the evening coming to a close the dishes were done and no fussing was heard,a restful evening indeed.
Oh this meal was good,almost too good. I've already told you about the Parmesan Potato Pancake that was a  side item to this heavenly meal. Talk about savory and oh the beef brisket with it's savory onion gravy.(A friend of mine,we'll call him Jon and I have this saying,it's a play on the phrase "It's so good it makes you wanna slap yo mama!" well... we took it just a bit further and say "Duck mama,duck."Aren't we clever.)
Let me tell you,you and yo mama about this beef brisket:
First I had to buy the meat,good gravy thats a large piece of beef. And Chris Kimball mentions that in the recipe notes for this recipe. The folks over at America's Test Kitchen know their stuff and knowing that I was prepared,I thought outside of the frying pan.
The heck with trying to fit that in a cast-iron skillet I just threw it in my massive roasting pan.I still got the browning action the recipe called for and it fit just perfectly.Oh you smarty-pants ATK folks ( I mean that in love,cause I love all the recipes that the Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen folks come up with,insert cheesy grin here.)
So after that meat has browned and maximum caramelly-brown goodness has been achieved,take out the meat and put it in your slow-cooker. Add in the onions,garlic,seasonings,red wine and let the magic happen. This smelled wonderful and the wine makes the gravy sing.
Remember those notes about the brisket coming up the sides of the pan, was a bit of a struggle to fit the whole brisket in the crock of the crock pot,but I managed and rest assured that as the brisket cooked down there would be no problem with all of that meat fitting in the crock of the crock pot.No problem at all.
After the onion/garlic/red wine magic mixture has done it's time in the roasting pan,pour it,the brown sugar,bay leaves and thyme in on top of the meat in the slow cooker,put the lid on and LEAVE IT ALONE. Don't pick up the lid in a few hours to smell the flavors,if you let the slow-cokoer do it's job the smells will waft from it and will  fill your house and you won't mess up the actual cooking of it's contents.(I have to tell myself that every time I make some dish in the slow-cooker.LEAVE IT ALONE.So I'm nosy and cute,but at least I can cook!)
When the meat is finished cooking take it out of the slow-cooker VERY CAREFULLY and put it in a 13x9 baking dish,cover it with foil and let it rest while you make the gravy. Last Sunday evening my husband and I coincidentally were both wearing white.He had a cream-colored polo shirt on and I had on a new red cardigan/white button down shirt combo on and well we took our time getting the meat out of the crock. The meat was falling apart,a challenge. Again VERY CAREFULLY.
The meal was amazing and the onion gravy was the some of he best gravy I have ever had. This is a recipe that will forever be on my Sunday Dinner list of recipes,heck I might get crazy and make it on a Saturday,who knows. Enjoy whatever day you make it!
Slow-Cooker Beef Brisket with Onion Gravy
( I adore this cookbook.I haven't been cooking that long and don't have a 
ton of "go-to" cookbooks. This is one of them and I will forever treasure it.
And you should too.)
Serves 6
Prep time: 45 minutes
Slow-Cooker time: 8-9 hours
1 (5 -5 1/2 lb) beef brisket,trimmed
Salt and pepper
4 tsp vegetable oil
6 onions,halved and sliced thin
6 garlic cloves,minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 TBL tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 3/4 cup beef broth
2 TBL brown sugar
4 bay leaves
1 TBL minced fresh thyme or
1 tsp dried
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
2 TBL cider vinegar
1. Dry the brisket with paper towels,season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 TBL of vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet (or large roasting pan set over two burners on the stove top). Brown the brisket on both sides,reducing the heat if the fat begins to smoke,about 10 minutes. Add the beef to the slow-cooker.
2. Add the remaining 2 TBL vegetable oil to the same pan you browned the meat in,heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp salt and cook until softened,5-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the wine and tomato paste,scraping the pan to get up any browned bits. Simmer and reduce the liquid by half,about 1 minute,then pour into the slow cooker.
3. Add the chicken broth,1 cup of the beef broth,brown sugar,bay leaves and thyme to the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low until a dinner fork can be slid in and out of the meat with litle resistance,8-9 hours.( I thought this wasn't enough time for the amount of meat we had,but folks it was the perfect amount of time and the meat fell apart.)
4. When the meat is ready transfer it to a 13x9 baking dish,cover it with foil and lt it rest while you make the gravy. Discard the bay leaves. Whisk in the flour and remaining 3/4 cup of beef broth until smooth and stir it into the slow-cooker. Cover and and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and no longer taste like flour,15-30 minutes longer. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Now the recipe then goes onto say transfer the meat ot a cutting board and slice on the bias,the meat I cooked fell apart.So we just sliced off the pieces and covered in gravy.I love this dish,hope you do too!.

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