By Lori Bosworth
When the leaves start to turn colour and the air is a little more brisk, you know fall has arrived and that means it’s time to think about heartier meals and entertaining indoors. If you don’t want to spend hours preparing dinner, you can get oodles of recipes for your slow cooker in the book, “The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes” by Judith Finlayson and published by Robert Rose. The recipes are 100% gluten free and include appetizers, soups, beef, chicken, pork, lamb and seafood dishes, vegetarian dishes and dessert. The book features many full page photos and the recipe instructions are easy to follow while ingredients are not too numerous. Working with a slow cooker does not mean you can just throw everything into the pot and turn it on low for several hours. Many of the recipes call for chopping and sauteing some ingredients before adding them to the crock pot.
Doesn’t a brisket sound good for fall entertaining? Tired of hearing Howard Wolowitz brag about his mother’s brisket on The Big Bang Theory? This Southwestern version of brisket adds peppers for a spicier dish.
Serves 6 to 8
Juicy and full of flavor, brisket is tender and delicious and lends itself to a wide variety of sauces and seasonings. This version, which relies on New Mexico chiles for its rich, tangy taste, is mildly piquant.
• Large (approx. 5 quart) slow cooker
2 tbsp (30 mL) clarified butter, beef tallow or pure lard, divided
4 lbs (2 kg) double beef brisket, trimmed (see Tips)
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 stalks celery, thinly sliced (see Tips)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin (see Tips)
1 tbsp (15 mL) cracked black peppercorns
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt
2 bay leaves
2 cups (500 mL) tomato sauce
1 cup (250 mL) beef stock
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) coconut sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
2 dried New Mexico chile peppers
2 cups boiling water
1 to 2 jalapeño pepper, quartered, optional (see Tips)
2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the clarified butter over medium-high heat. Brown brisket on both sides and place in slow cooker stoneware.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining tbsp (15 mL) of butter to the pan. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cumin, peppercorns, sea salt and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, stock, coconut sugar and vinegar and stir well.
3. Transfer to stoneware. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until brisket is very tender.
4. About an hour before you’re ready to serve, in a heatproof bowl, soak New Mexico chiles in boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, discarding soaking liquid and stems. Transfer to a blender and add approximately 1 cup (250 mL) of the brisket cooking liquid along with jalapeño peppers, if using. Purée. Add to brisket along with bell peppers. Cover and cook on High for an additional 30 minutes, until bell peppers are tender. Discard bay leaves. To serve, slice brisket thinly and place on a deep platter. Spoon sauce over and garnish liberally with parsley.
- Entertaining Worthy
- Can Be Halved (see Tips)
If you are halving this recipe, be sure to use a small (2 to 31⁄2 quart) slow cooker. Reduce cooking time to about 6 hours on Low or 3 hours on High.
If the whole piece of brisket won’t fit in your slow cooker, cut it in half and lay the two pieces on top of each other.
If you are using the outer stalks of celery, peel them before slicing to remove the fibrous exterior.
For the best flavor, toast and grind cumin seeds yourself. To toast cumin: Place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind.
Add the jalapeño peppers, if you like heat.
Complete Step 2. Cover and refrigerate mixture for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe.
While you’re at it, why not brush up on your culinary skills at these cooking classes schedule for fall 2013 at the Market Kitchen in St. Lawrence Market?
Knife Skills, August 30, 2013, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.. Learn how to improve your knife skills in this hands-on tutorial. $40 plus HST
Fast, Freshwater Fish, August 31, 2013, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Learn three new recipes for cooking Lake Ontario fish, $40 plus HST
Executive Chef Series: Lora Kirk of Ruby Watchco, September 19, 2013, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. $99 per person plus HST (includes five course meal plus wine)
Local Harvest Cheese Class, September 26, 2013, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Tasting of Ontario cheese, cider, produce and preserves, $45 per person plus HST
Charcuterie Primer – November 21, 2013, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Learn ancient techniques of preserving meat including salting, drying, fermenting, smoking and aging, which you’ll taste accompanied by wine and other treats. Presented by Julia Rogers and Scheffler’s Delicatessen and Cheese. $45 plus HST