I must confess I don’t really get the appeal of the slow cooker. I have owned one for a couple of years but don’t often use it and the fault probably lies with me. I know many friends and fellow food bloggers who swear by it so I have finally dusted mine off and bought a book (Cook it Slow – I found it in TKMaxx) which has some truly wonderful looking recipes. I can’t resist buying cookbooks – they are my catnip. I may have to devote half a wall to them in the new kitchen – it will be amazing to have them all accessible and on display. Currently they are either piled on the floor by my desk or hidden away behind a shelf and several ‘prop’ boards.
I wanted to try brisket in the slow cooker since a) I love brisket b) it always is a little tough when cooked in the oven c) I LOVE brisket. I recently attended the Unilever Kitchen event where Marco Pierre White was in attendance as Knorr ambassador and he demonstrated marinating fillet steak with a Knorr cube and some olive oil. I was doing that back in my student days only with cut-price chicken breasts and yes, it is surprisingly effective. So I employed the same technique here and maybe it was that or maybe it was the slow cooking method but whatever it was the resulting beef was both meltingly tender and incredibly yummy. Definitely worth dusting off the slow cooker for.
By the way, in case you are wondering, MPW is both approachable and quite intimidating. He demonstrated how to cook the perfect fillet steak (marinate with Knorr chicken cube, very hot pan, small amount of oil or clarified butter, cook until rare, take off heat and let meat cook in residual heat) and professed love for good pans (Le Creuset), sharp knives, heavy chopping boards and the best ingredients. He also made an amazing sauce au poivre using an entire bottle of Worcestershire sauce and double cream. Sadly he didn’t cook us lunch – that was something we had to do ourselves.
But I am getting sidetracked. Brisket! Serve this with gravy made from cooking liquid (you probably need to break out a saucepan for this – I tried making in the slow cooker but run out of time) and Yorkshire puddings or shred the beef, pulled-pork style, and eat it in a bun or tacos. Soooo good.
You can prepare this a day in advance and put in the fridge overnight. Any fat in the meat juices will solidify which makes removing it an absolute breeze. You can then slice the beef easily and warm it in the gravy. If you haven’t got a slow cooker you can cook this in a casserole dish (Dutch oven) in the oven at 160C (325F) for about 4 hours. I haven’t had as much success with this method but it may have something to do with the quality of the meat I was using.
- 900g | 2 pounds beef brisket
- (or use large piece of meat)
- 2 Knorr beef or chicken stock cubes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 shallots, roughly chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp Kikkoman Soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tbsp ketchup
- freshly ground pepper
- 500ml | 2 cups hot beef stock made with Knorr stock pot
- 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) diluted in 1 tbsp cold water
- Fresh thyme leaves to serve
- Put the Knorr cubes and olive oil in a small bowl and use the back of a spoon to crush and mix into a paste.
- Rub the paste all over the brisket and set aside at room temperature while you chop the vegetables.
- Heat a large heavy pan and then sear the beef on all sides until nicely browned. Set aside.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and a splash of stock and scrape and bits of meat that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until slightly softened then add remaining stock, soy and Worcestershire sauces, bay leaves and ketchup. Bring to a simmer.
- Transfer the vegetables and stock to the slow cooker then place the beef on top, fatty side up.
- Season with pepper and add the garlic slices on top.
- Cook on low for 8 hours. Transfer the beef to a plate and cover with foil.
- Drain the meat juices into a saucepan and discard the vegetables. Stir in the diluted cornflour and simmer until slightly thickened. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve the beef sliced, smothered in the gravy, with over roasted potatoes or mash and some Yorkshire puddings (ok, add some steamed vegetables as well).