If there had been any red wine in the house, a bottle of cheap wine or even fancy dinner party wine, I'd have made my grandmother's brisket, the tried-and-true recipe my mother and her mother used to make with the sweet Manischewitz wine that was, at the time, the only kosher wine you could buy. And that would have been a shame, because without wine, I turned to my pantry for inspiration, and what I found were all of the ingredients for this Southwestern beef brisket that's a little bit sweet, and a little bit smoky, and a little tiny bit hot and spicy. Slice it or shred it, as you can see in the photos. Make this on Friday, serve it on game day, or freeze for your next Tex-Mex party.
Slow cooker Southwestern beef brisket
Adapted from this recipe on The Food Network. Serves 8-10 (more if served as shredded beef).
4-5 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of visible fat, in 1 or 2 pieces (I use 2)
Fresh black pepper
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 red onions, peeled, halved, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 cup cider vinegar
16 oz chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo
2 bay leaves
4-5 Tbsp molasses
Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick frying pan (or in the stovetop-safe insert of your slow cooker) over medium heat, brown the meat on all sides.
Remove it from the pan and place in a 6- or 7-quart slow cooker (if you're using the stovetop-safe insert, remove the meat to a platter and set aside).
To the frying pan, add garlic, onion, chili powder, coriander, and cumin, and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add vinegar, and stir for 10 seconds. Then, stir in water and chopped tomatoes, and pour the mixture over the brisket. Add the chipotles, bay leaves, and molasses, and stir well, turning the meat over in the slow cooker to coat all sides with the liquid.
Cover and cook on LOW for 9 hours. If you want to have some brisket for slicing, remove one piece and some of the liquid to a container with a lid.
Continue cooking the second piece of brisket for 1 hour, for a total of 10 hours. Raise the heat to HIGH, and remove the meat from the cooker. Using two forks, shred the meat, and return it to the cooker for 1 more hour, uncovered.
Brisket tastes much better the second day, so if you have the time and willpower, pack both the whole piece and the shredded brisket, with enough liquid to keep them moist, and refrigerate overnight. Can be frozen.
A nice touch, though certainly not necessary: Remove the refrigerated brisket from the liquid and set aside. Pour the liquid into a small sauce pan, and bring to the boil over high heat. Let the liquid boil until it is reduced by two-thirds, to a thicker gravy. Pour over the meat before you serve.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Slow cooker java brisket, from Amanda's Cookin'
Chipotle beef quesadillas, from Taste and Tell
Spicy stewed beef with creamy Cheddar grits, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Chipotle maple barbecue beef brisket, from Leite's Culinaria
Slow cooker brisket with chipotle cranberry sauce, from The Shiksa Blog
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