Mother’s Day slow-cooked brisket with caramelised onions

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8 hours

2kg beef brisket joint (look for one with plenty of marbling and fat)
2 large onions – peeled and sliced into large half-moons
Butter and olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh thyme
3 large garlic cloves
2 pints good quality stock (I used vegetable stock)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Featured in:
March 2015

This really is as simple and as good as it sounds. I have only recently become a slow-cooker convert having been sent one by the manufacturers to review – the perks of being a food writer are few and far between but when they come they deliver nicely thank you – and from the pulled pork to the chicken thigh curry via the cinnamon swirls (yes, you really can bake puddings, cake and bread in the slow-cooker) I have not looked back.

My neighbour Tracey seems to always have a pot bubbling away with some kind of gorgeous thick stew in it and the aromas themselves are testament to how wonderful the slow-cooker can be, and so I had always wanted one. You do have to be careful with your ingredients to ensure you’re not continually serving tasty brown sludge but I ensure you it’s worth it. Plus, for the same amount of electricity as a lightbulb you get a pretty awesome meal.

Brisket always reminds me of my mum, it being one of her favourite joints of beef to cook when the family or large groups of people came round and so I am cooking it for her for Mother’s Day.

Many people are quite snobbish about cuts of beef but I have to say that the brisket, nicely marbled with fat and packed with flavour, is my absolute favourite, so much so that it’s actually more of a treat for me than the posh cuts, and I think my mum has always felt the same.

Your slow-cooker may be a different size to mine so use these measurements as a guide. To be honest it doesn’t hugely matter as long as you follow the rough idea of the ingredients. The slow cooker and the brisket are very forgiving – oh and if you still don’t have a slow-cooker then feel free to roast this in an oven in a large casserole dish covered tightly with foil and a tight fitting lid on 150C for 4 hours until tender.

In a large, heavy bottomed pan heat some olive oil and butter and add the onions. Add some fresh thyme, season well, stir and let them sweat through for about 20 minutes until they become a light golden brown. You will need to stir them often to stop them sticking – remove the onions from the pan and place them into the slow-cooker. Place the pan back on the heat.

Turn up the heat under the pan, throw in a little more olive oil and brown the brisket all over until you get a nice rich, toasty colour. Place the brisket into the slow-cooker with the onions and pour over the stock, soy sauce and vinegar and throw in the garlic cloves.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Once done, remove the brisket from the slow-cooker and set aside, wrapped in foil for 20 mins to rest. The sauce in the pan will make a perfect gravy.

It should fall apart as you carve it and I like to serve mine traditionally with veg but you could easily serve it torn like pulled pork and eaten in a pitta; it’s incredible either way!

Eat and of course, enjoy and for more slow-cooker recipes please check out my blog

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