Winter is upon us!
It doesn't seem like long ago I was training clients outdoors in the pouring, but mildly warm rain. But summer is now long gone and winter is no longer coming, it's officially here (J.Snow 2017). Which for me means drinking Golden Milk and in my kitchen means the slow cooker can finally come out to play! The slow cooker is an epic bit of kitchen kit, and an essential for the time-poor office worker, who doesn't have time to cook up fancy meals in the evenings or weekends. With a slow cooker you can whack in a load of vegetables (key to a fit and healthy immune system in the winter months), some meat and some stock/sauce, put it on low and 6-8 hours later you'll have a guaranteed tasty dish.
First Thing's First - The Meat Choice
The meat is the most important thing to consider when going about picking your slow cooker dish. As you'll be going 'low-and-slow' you can afford to go for those cuts of meat that are traditionally quite chewy or have a fair amount of fat on them as it's those elements that will add flavour to the meat as they melt away during the cooking process. Cuts like the shin of beef, any sort of ribs, shoulder of pork or lamb, beef chuck or as I chose here, brisket. The added bonus with these meat choices is they tend to be a lot cheaper than your traditional big players, so it's a win-win. I've been using my local butchers as of late and not only are they super knowledgable on what does and doesn't work in a slow cooker, the more you get to know them the more likely they are to give you a good deal. In short, support your local businesses!
The Supporting Act - Veggies
Next up you'll want to pair some vegetables that aren't going to waste away like a wet tissue and barely resemble what they went in as. So opt for tougher, earthier vegetables that take a while to soften. Things like beetroots, swede, squash, potatoes all work well and then a few onions and a couple of cloves of garlic always bring the flavours together nicely.
This time around I opted for a smokey BBQ flavoured brisket, and it tasted so good! So here's the recipe I kind of made up through trial and error and taking bits from other recipes.
- 1.2kg beef brisket, bone out (bone in works just as well, if not better but you'll just get less meat!)
For the dry rub:
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- Pinch of salt & pepper
For BBQ sauce:
- 5 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 cloves of garlic, whole
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- Pinch of S&P
- Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then rub that bad boy all over your brisket and give it a minimum of 30 mins to work it's magic, but you could even leave it overnight as well.
- Next place all of the BBQ sauce ingredients in a large bowl and combine. Then place your brisket in the mix and get real up in it's face with that sauce. Work it real nice in all the right places. Get into all it's nook and crannies.
- Place your vegetables of choice on the bottom of your slow cooker. I went for 2 onions, 2 cloves of garlic and some beetroots.
- Turn the slow cooker on to low and leave it to do it's thing for 8 hours.
- Once the 8 hours are up I like to remove the brisket and place under a hot grill for 10-15 mins to give it a crisp coating. I'll also brush it with some of the left over sauce to add a nice glaze.
- Slice it up into thick pieces and serve immediately.
This time I served it with some sweet potato mash and greens and a little of the leftover sauce and it was by far my best attempt at it! Give it a go and let me know what you think!