Food: Impress guests with slow-cooked brisket

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 11, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Metro Creative Connection

Slow cooking can really whet the appetite. On days when a slow cooker is in use, the whole house tends to get filled with the aromas of delicious food, making everyone inside the home eagerly anticipate the arrival of dinnertime.

Slow-cooked brisket can be especially savory, as brisket is a dish many home cooks are hesitant to try because of the perceived difficulty of preparing it. Novices may find that slow cooking brisket as opposed to smoking it can be a great way to get their feet wet while still serving up a delicious meal. This recipe for “Beef Brisket with Prunes and Oranges” from Andrew Schloss’ “Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More” (Chronicle Books) cooks for roughly half a day, giving cooks and their families something to look forward to all day long.

Beef Brisket with Prunes and Oranges

Makes 8 servings

• 1⁄4 cup finely ground coffee

• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 4 teaspoons sea salt

• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 3 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 2 large Spanish onions, cut into think wedges

• 8 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 4 garlic cloves, minced

• 1⁄4 cup brandy

• 1⁄2 cup cider vinegar

• 6 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

• 2 cups vegetable cocktail juice, such as V8

• Juice and julienned zest of 2 oranges

• 16 pitted prunes

Mix together the coffee grounds, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub half of the mixture over the brisket. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200 F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add the brisket and sear until nicely browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onions and celery and sauté until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté just until aromatic, about 1 minute more. Add the brandy and bring to a boil. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, vegetable juice, and the remaining coffee mixture and return to a boil. Add the orange juice and zest, the prunes, and any meat juices that accumulated on the plate. Return the brisket to the pot and spoon the liquid in the pot over to submerge the meat. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until the meat can be pierced easily with a fork, 6 to 10 hours.