Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Slow-Cooked Southwestern Pulled Brisket

My "official" birthday dinner was my husband's famous slow-cooked brisket.  He's made this (at my request) a number of times.  However the first was out of necessity - he was going to be at work all day and wanted something that could cook all day in the crock pot, and then be ready for me when I got home from work.  This meal brings me so much pleasure - it's warm, comforting, delicious, savory and there is such a wonderful array of texture in the mix of meat, onions and arugula. I unfortunately only snapped one photo - to be honest I seriously was so focused on the food I nearly forgot to do even that.  :)  But it was a fantastic birthday dinner.  And I'm happy to report that I convinced keith to make it for his parents next Friday when they come for a visit as well (so I get to have it AGAIN!).

Here's the recipe, direct from my husband:

Pickled Onions
1/2 cup red wine vinegar 
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 to 3 really good shots hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1 red onion, sliced into very thin rings

In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar with 1/2 cup of cold tap water. Stir in salt, the sugar and the hot sauce. Add the sliced onions and let sit for at least one hour. [Do ahead: i often make these the night before to save time; they were even better pickled overnight.]

Slow-cooked southwestern pulled brisket
[Serves 4, says the recipe; you can stretch it a bit further if you go taco-style with fixings]
3 pounds beef brisket
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices
1 to 2 whole canned chipotle chiles en adobo [Read: 1 or 2 from a can, not one or two cans]
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup molasses

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat just until beginning to smoke. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker; leave the skillet on the heat.
Add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin to drippings in the skillet and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add vinegar and boil until it’s almost gone (and seriously, get your head out of the way of the steam; inhaling vinegar is no fun!), scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in water and pour the mixture over the brisket. Crush the tomatoes through your fingers into the slow cooker; add the tomato juices, chipotles, bay leaves, and molasses. 

Cover the cooker, set it on LOW, and cook the brisket until it pulls apart easily with a fork, about 8 to 10 hours.  Leave the meat in the slow cooker and use two forks to pull it apart and stir it evenly into the sauce; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove and discard bay leaves. 

Serve on a soft tortilla shell, topped with the pickled red-onions and some fresh arugula for texture.

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