I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.
Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).
You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)
After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…
Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.
Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:
Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.
Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!
I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!
You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago. But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.
12 of 30 completed!