… one of the more annoying shopping frustrations at this time of the year is the dreaded ‘use-by’ date… particularly when you’re trying to plan for the big day, it’s a fine balance between when to shop – wanting to avoid the massive crush of frenzied shoppers – with not wanting to go too early meaning that everything you’re buying needs to be eaten prior to Christmas anyway so you’re inevitably going to have to go out again anyway. I’m currently cooking up a batch of kale and green bean minestrone which is lovely to have at this time of year because it’s hearty and filling but vegetarian and light so you can feel good about yourself whilst having to eat the ‘normal food’ prior to that big turkey lunch… my fried Kellie at Food To Glow, waxes lyrically about this pre-christmas madness on her blog this week but I think it’s something that leaves us all baffled. To be fair there are worse things in life and I am about to get in the car and go back out there so I only have myself to blame… let’s be thankful for the slow cooker eh?
slow-cooker brisket with onions and star anise
this is just the simplest and tastiest thing to cook and it’s great for either these few days in the run up to Christmas or for after the big day when you can simply bung it on at night and not think about it. The star anise adds that wonderful aniseed flavour that I love particularly at this time of year and makes the most fragrant gravy that I have frozen and will serve with my christmas day meal… if you don’t know anything about brisket or have never cooked it before it’s a brilliant part of the cow, full of fat and extremely cheap it makes for a very good slow-cooked pulled beef style meal. I adore it but very rarely cook it but now that i’m back in love with my slow-cooker I may start cooking with this beautiful cut again…
I read a lot of slow-cooker recipes where they say you should brown the meat first or saute the onions to add flavour but I fail to see the benefit of this… surely the purpose of the slow-cooker is to make life easier, all in one pot… so I don’t bother and quite frankly I don’t think it adds anything after 8 hours of cooking but do as you please…
1 x 1.2kg brisket
2 carrots – roughly chopped
1 large onion – sliced into large slices
2 sticks of celery – roughly chopped
3 pieces of star anise
1 glass or 250ml red wine
1 litre good quality vegetable stock
for the gravy
1 teaspoon corn flour
a little cold water
place the vegetables into the bottom of the slow cooker and lay the beef on top, then cover with the wine and stock and add the star anise
cook on low for 8 hours
after 8 hours, carefully remove the beef and set aside… it can either be shredded and eaten cold with salads or in pita breads or you can eat it as a roast with the vegetables from the cooking and an amazing gravy
to make the gravy pour the liquid into another pan and reduce by half by running it on a low rolling boil… once it’s reduced, add a little corn flour that you’ve premised with a tablespoon of cold water before adding it to the gravy to thicken
eat and of course, enjoy!
Tricia Buice says
Wow – love the addition of the star anise – I bet that is tasty because it looks wonderful! Merry Christmas Dom – blessings to you and yours.
Sue/the view from great island says
I'm fascinated by the anise in this recipe, Dom, what's the story behind that? And have a wonderful holiday!
Phil in the Kitchen says
Love this – just my sort of dish at this time of year. I'm craving anything that I can stuff simply into flatbreads at the moment. I tend to agree with you about not having to faff about browning meat before putting in the slow cooker – who needs extra faff? Although there are some slow cooker recipes that I think do need that extra stage – slow cooked veal in a lot of caramelised onions is very different to slow cooked veal in in a lot of raw onions. Happy New Year.
Karen S Booth says
OMG! That IS MY kind of meal, so meltingly soft and flavoured with amazing stuff too, what a FAB way to cook my FAVOURITE cut of beef Dom!