I've got a tradition with my girls to get together three times a season to watch the Bachelor (or The Bachelorette); for the season premiere, mid season and for the season finale. I know you are reading this with your head in hand saying "really......The Bachelor?!?!?!?" but yes an evening of laughing at the ridiculousness of "reality tv" while drinking wine, eating good food with great friends is just what the doctor orders and we have Chris Harrison to thank for bringing us together tonight. I love having friends over and don't need an excuse to cook but love to pull out the stops for company. On the menu tonight is Southwestern Brisket adapted from the Food Network Kitchen. Prep time is about 15 minutes to slice and measure your ingredients before you begin cooking; otherwise known as your mis en place . I always find it helpful to read the recipe a couple of times before I start cooking so I don't forget anything and keep the cooking process moving. The one thing that takes the longest is searing your meat before putting it into to slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Here you go.......
- 3 lbs of brisket
- 2 teaspoons of canola or grape seed oil
- 1 medium onion cut in half and sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic smashed
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1 and a half cups of water
- 1 14.5 ounce can of whole tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of date molasses
- 1 chipolte pepper in adobo
- 3 bay leaves
The first thing you will do is take your brisket out of the fridge and let it sit on your counter top for at least 30 minutes. Anytime you cook meat it's great to let it sit out of the refrigerator for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (never more than two hours) before cooking it so that the meat doesn't get shocked being cold going into a hot pan and seize up. Think about how you feel when you are hot and jump into a cold pool and you feel all of your muscles tighten up with the temperature change. You will get more tender meat when you let it adjust to the room temperature a bit. Next is to get your pan hot and put the oil in; generously salt and pepper your brisket then put it in your pan to give it a good sear on medium heat, about 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. You then put the meat into the crock pot. Add the onions, garlic, cumin and chili powder to the oil and scrapings that the meat left in the pan and let it all blossom for about a minute stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add the apple cider vinegar but make sure you don't inhale the aroma because it will make your eyes water and you will get a burning sensation in your nose...ick. Just keep stirring and scraping all of the deliciousness from the bottom of the pan keeping your head back. Once the garlic and onions absorb most of the vinegar and it gets a syrup texture add the water and give it all another stir. You can then pour the mixture into the crock pot over the meat. Next add the can of tomatoes breaking the tomatoes up with your hands a bit. Be careful because usually when I squeeze the tomatoes I either squirt myself in the face or tomato juice goes shooting across the room. So don't squeeze like you're milking a cow but gently break down the tomatoes between your fingers. Add the bay leaves, chipolte pepper (you can add two peppers if you want it more spicy) and the date molasses. You could also use regular molasses but I like the idea of using the date molasses because it is basically just cooked and pureed dates unlike traditional molasses which is extracting sugar from a plant or a vegetable.
Everything is now in so let it slow cook for 8 - 10 hours until you can pull the meat apart with two forks. I am going to serve mine tonight with home made cole slaw and home made rye bread rolls. You can also have it in tacos or make sliders. I am going a tad bit off of my diet tonight because of the date molasses in the sauce but I'll stick with the cole slaw and have to pass on the bread and wine for a few more weeks. Bon Apetite'