Crock pot braised beef
For me, this is soul food. It never ceases to amaze me that with a simple formula of “heat + time” an underwhelming combination of cheap beef cuts, vegetables and mediocre wine can transform into a beautiful dish of succulent meat enrobed in a this-is-guaranteed-to-put-hairs-on-your-chest type gravy.
If you don’t have a crock pot and you live in the Southern Hemisphere, I recommend you invest in one before winter rears its ugly head. I love that during the long, slow cooking time, a rich aroma fills the house and radiating heat fogs up the kitchen windows. It’s so exciting taking the lid off the pot hours later to unveil a “stars in your eyes” transformation.
I plan to make more of this kind of soul-warming fodder through the autumn and winter months and come spring I plan to emerge from hibernation a glorified Jedi crock pot master!
- 2kg beef brisket
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil & butter
- 2 carrots
- 1 parsnips
- 2 onions
- Olive oil & butter
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cup red wine
- 2 cup beef stock
- ¼ cup masala wine/brandy or a splash (approx 2 tbsp) balsamic vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1. Taking the brisket, separate the meat from the bone, then chop the meat into pieces approximately 5cm long. I used 4 pieces of beef brisket for this recipe and chopped each piece into 3.
- 2. Brown the bones. You can do this in a hot oven (it will take around 20 mins at 200ºC). I browned the bones in a large pot as there weren’t many of them. You can also cook them in the microwave for 10 mins.
- 3. Dry the meat and season with salt and pepper.
- 4. Add oil and butter to a pan and once hot (smoking even), brown the pieces of brisket on each side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.
- 5. In the same pan on a medium heat, add a little more oil and butter and sauté the vegetables until soft. I did this in two batches.
- 6. To the second batch add the flour and cook stirring continuously for 5 minutes. Then stir in the tomato paste and red wine. Stir this mixture continuously for 2 minutes until smooth.
- 7. Add the bones to the crock pot, then the browned beef followed by all the vegetables. Stir to combine.
- 8. Pour over the stock, masala/brandy/vinegar, add the bay leaves and rosemary and turn crock pot to high.
- 9. Once the liquid starts to bubble, turn the crock pot to low and leave for 10 hours.
- 10. After at least 10 hours, remove the meat with tongs, place on a plate and set aside.
- 11. Pour the remaining contents (liquid, bones, vegetables) through a colander or sieve into either a plastic container or a pot (this will be going directly in the refrigerator). Let this sit to cool for 10-15 minutes and then transfer the container/pot to the fridge. After an hour, remove the container from the fridge and skim the layer of orange fat off the top.
- 12. Heat this liquid for 10 – 15 minutes over a medium heat, you want to achieve a glossy, rich, thickened sauce – but be wary not to cook it too long (or take it too far) and end up with a marmite/vegemite-like paste.
- 13. Add the meat back to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Alternatively you can flake the meat into the sauce. I put the meat pieces into the sauce and then broke them up with a wooden spoon while they were cooking.
- 14. Serve with potato gnocchi, mashed potato or over fresh pasta. Top with parsley.
- 15. This recipe can be made 2 days ahead. Once cool, cover and refrigerate. Before reheating, skim fat from top and cook over a Medium-Low element.