This was my first experience with a recipe swap and I really enjoyed it. The subject for this swap was an easy weeknight meal - something that could be made in less than 30 minutes, or prepped quickly and thrown in the crockpot.
When I first saw the recipe I knew it would be perfect for Sunday dinner. I also knew I would need to make some modifications. For starters, my crockpot and I have a love/hate relationship, so I decided to cook this in my Le Creuset dutch oven. I was also worried about buying 4lbs of meat for just the two of us. And an entire bottle of red wine seemed like too much for our tastes. I found a similar recipe online (see below) and ended up blending the two together.
The brisket cooked for a few hours in the oven and the smells wafting through the house were intoxicating. We both cleaned our plates (Baby Girl loved the mashed potatoes, but I couldn't convince her to try the brisket), saying we were happy to try something different. Thanks, Laurie!!
Here is the original recipe I was given:
2 large garlic cloves (chopped or whole)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles striped (sometimes I use dried)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (4 pound) beef brisket, first-cut
Coarsely ground black pepper
5 large carrots, cut in 3-inch chunks
5 celery stalks, cut in 3-inch chunks
1 large red onion, halved
1 Bottle dry red wine (more or less depending on what fits in your crock pot)
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (dried is ok)
3 bay leaves (dried)
Beef or vegetable Broth (as needed to cover brisket if wine is not enough or if you are not a fan of a strong wine flavor)
Season both sides of the brisket with a fair amount of kosher salt and ground black pepper. Place a large pan over medium-high flame and coat with half of the olive oil. Put the brisket in the pan and sear to form a nice brown crust on both sides. Should only take a couple minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to your crock pot lay the vegetables,garlic and onions all around the brisket. Add the wine and tomatoes and beef broth if necessary; toss in the parsley, rosemary and bay leaves. Cook on low for about 6 to 8 hours until the beef is fork tender.
Remove the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Scoop the vegetables out of the roasting pan and onto a platter.
And here is the recipe I ended up making (the original is linked below):
Zinfandel-Braised Beef Brisket with Onions
The Kitchen Sink
2 cups zinfandel or other fruity dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (2 1/2-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 medium sliced sweet onions
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 - 2-lb bag carrots, peeled and cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices
4 celery stalks, cut into (1/2-inch-thick) slices
Chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 325°. Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef to pan; cook for 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan; cover and set aside.
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, onion, sugar, and 1 teaspoon thyme to pan. Cook 20 minutes or until onions are tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, carrots, and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place beef on top of onion mixture; pour wine mixture over beef. Cover and place in oven. Bake at 325° for 1 3/4 hours.
Remove dutch oven from oven and turn beef over. Place back in the oven for 45 minutes or until beef is tender. Remove beef from oven and cut across the grain into thin slices. Serve with onion mixture and sprinkle parsley on top.
I served the brisket over mashed potatoes with buttermilk biscuits on the side. I've never cooked a brisket before and according to the other ladies in the swap, this gave us all a chance to make something we wouldn't normally have made. I can't wait for the next one!