Monthly Archives: June 2007

Liv’s No-Fuss Brisket

I’m thinking that a popular sentence in blogs is “I haven’t posted anything in ages” (or some variant). Actually, Google tells me “I haven’t posted” occurs 1,160,000 times. It doesn’t imply we are all procrastinators, just that we feel guilty for not posting when we get back to doing it. Silliness.

I’ve been buying a house and working hard so I decided blogging was not a priority right now. I will make it a priority again after I move into my lovely new place (next week) and things start to settle down. Meanwhile, I’m sharing my brisket recipe because yesterday I cooked the most delicious brisket I have every a) cooked and b) eaten.

I don’t cook with recipes and don’t like following instructions so consider these ‘guidelines’ for a yummy saucy brisket. Be creative!

Liv’s No-Fuss Brisket

Effort: 15 minutes preparing, ~3 hours cooking (unattended)

Ingredients:

  • 1 3lb Thin Cut Brisket (check this if you don’t know the difference between brisket cuts)
  • 2 large white onions
  • 2 tablets of beef bouillon
  • 5 table spoons of Dijon Mustard (I recommend Maille)
  • 2 tea spoons of powdered cumin
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • your preferred spices

Preparation:

Wash and clean the fat off the brisket. Recipes usually recommend leaving some fat on the brisket to add to the flavor and prevent it from drying. I agree with that but my tip is that it is hard enough to take it all off, so the amount you can’t remove will be more than enough to keep the fat flavoring you need. Poke holes with the tip of your knife on both sides so it can absorb the juices well.

Slice two onions (0.5cm – 1/6 in slices) and place as much of it as you can fit at the bottom of your baking pan. Coat it with powdered cumin. Grab a handful of sea salt and rub all around the brisket. If you’re a fan of garlic, stick whole cloves into the holes you poked (don’t overdo it, use no more than 3-4 cloves for 1 lb of beef). Place the brisket in the baking pan over the onions.

Pre-heat the oven at 450F – 230C.

In a separate dish, dissolve 2 tablets of beef bouillon into 1.5 cups of hot water. I prefer Carne-de-sol bouillon, but that’s not easy to find outside Brazil. Beef will do just fine (that’s what I used last night) and you can use other bouillons to vary flavor. Add 4-5 table spoons of Dijon mustard and mix until it’s uniform.

Coat the brisket in the pan with the sauce and add any spices you like – I recommend some more cumin, freshly grated white pepper and a few bay leaves, but I believe people should spice their dishes with their preferred spices, specially when they are cooking hearty comfort-food meals. Don’t add more salt, remember you have sea-salt and concentrated beef bouillon in there!

Place the remainder of onions on top of the brisket and wrap the pan in aluminum foil. Make sure it’s tightly sealed and place it in the oven, bringing it up to 500F – 260C. Leave it alone for 1 hour then bring it down to 350F – 175C for another 2 hours.

Go do something while it cooks otherwise you will be tempted to open to see how it’s going. Resist the temptation. While you wait I recommend making plain white rice to have with the brisket or a simple couscous with parmesan cheese and/or pine nuts.

After all the cooking is done, remove the aluminum foil and coat the brisket to make sure it’s moist. Bring the oven up to 500F – 260C and let it bake uncovered for 15 minutes – this allows the sauce to thicken. You might want to slice it to serve – if you’re cooking for the week (as I am) I prefer not to so it doesn’t dry up) – otherwise, it’s ready to serve.

The meat should be so soft you won’t need a knife. It literally melts in your mouth. If you try this, please leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.