Here are some things we know about this week:
- It’s almost over, which is GREAT NEWS, because we’re feeling like the weekend cannot come soon enough. Only hours to go, folks.
- It’s now February, which means you should be listening to this song like it’s 1994. (Don’t worry if you missed celebrating the annual Sophie B. Hawkins Day—it’s not too late.)
- The Super Bowl is Sunday, which means you need a great AND easy recipe that’s hearty, hot, tasty, and good for a crowd.
Well, we’ve got your #3 covered and then some, mister/sister. Not only is a big hunk of brisket the perfect meal on a winter night, it’s perfect for a group, and our version is made with BEER, which makes it all the more fitting.
Using beer for braising isn’t new news, but no matter what other liquids we try, we always come back to the same conclusion: beer is better. A low and slow cooking process gives the beer plenty of time to turn the brisket and vegetables buttery and delicious. As everything simmers, the flavors meld—meat and vegetables and beer become one of the most deeply satisfying one-pot meals known to humanity: the pot roast. The very words conjure sighs and drool.
For our vegetables, we’ve added our eternal roast staple: tomatoes, because the perfect braising liquid just isn’t complete without them. Whatever vegetables we add, starting with a tomatoey base is key.
Root vegetables are pretty much pot roast soul mates. Our favorites: sunchokes, potatoes, and carrots for great flavor and texture. Firm texture makes them ideal candidates for a long cooking process, and when they come out on the other side, they’ve turned creamy and tender, completing the comfort food equation and beautifully complementing the melt-in-your-mouth brisket you’ve just cooked up.
And hey, did we mention that all of this awesomeness can be yours for hardly any prep time at all? A little chopping, a few minutes of stovetop cooking, and your oven does the rest. What could be easier when you have a living room full of guests? Or, you know, just other things to do. If this isn’t having your meat and eating it, too, we don’t know what is.
* * * *
Beer-Braised Brisket with Winter Vegetables
Serves 4–6 people (but quantities can be easily upped for more people)
Notes: You’ll need about 3 hours of oven time. Before you preheat, make sure to set your rack in a position low enough to accommodate the Dutch oven or similar pot with the cover on.
We used 10 carrots and 5 potatoes because we were serving 5 people. Feel free to adjust those quantities for whatever sized group you have. If you adjust the brisket size, just make sure you adjust the cooking time accordingly and maybe add another bottle of beer, too,
A Dutch oven or large casserole
– 3 pound brisket
– 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
– 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
– 6–7 sprigs parsley, plus more for garnish
– 2 bay leaves
– 4 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
– 10 carrots
– 5 potatoes, Yukon gold or red
– 1 pound sunchokes
– 2 bottles of beer
– 1 cup stock, chicken or beef
– 1 tbs olive oil
– 2 tbs balsamic or red wine vinegar
– 1 tbs flour
– Salt and pepper to taste
* Preheat oven to 325° F.
* Heat the olive oil in your Dutch oven medium heat on your stovetop. When it’s nice and hot, brown the brisket on all sides, then remove to a plate.
* Add the onions along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook until onions are soft and caramelized.
* Place the meat back in the pot. Tie the herbs together with some kitchen twine and tuck them around the meat. Scatter the tomatoes into the pot, and add the beer and stock. Sprinkle in a bit more salt and pepper. Give everything a stir and cover.
* When the pot reaches a low simmer, move it to the oven.
* Braise for 1½ hours, turn meat, then return to oven for 2 ½ hours.
* After 2 ½ hours:
-Peel the carrots, but leave them whole.
-Peel and halve or quarter the potatoes, depending on size (you want about 1 ½–2″ chunks).
-Peel the sunchokes—again, cut them into halves or quarters depending on how big they are.
* Add the vegetables to the pot, cover and continue braising until they’re cooked through and tender, but not mushy.
* Fish out the bay leaves and parsley—discard. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a plate and keep warm.
* With a spoon, skim any fat from the braising liquid. Mix the vinegar and flour together in a small bowl—stir until smooth. Add it to the pot and simmer briefly to make a slightly thicker sauce. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper, if needed. Toss in some freshly minced parsley.
* Slice the meat. Serve with the vegetables and a few spoonfuls of the braising sauce over the top.
© 2015 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved