Not My Mother's Brisket
12/19/2011 10:03 AM
When I was growing up, I adored my mom’s brisket. Long, tender strings of roast beef you could practically eat with your fingers. A deep, rich, winey broth. Plus, perfect potatoes...not too hard, not too soft, and soaked with the broth. And of course carrots and onions. She’d make it in the massive blue Le Creuset pot that my dad gave her when they got engaged. (Inside was Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and a blue velvet box with a ring. And before you think that he was saying, “Marry me and cook for me,” know that he was always the big cook in the family.)
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I attempted to replicate the brisket. She advised me and I tried it in the only thing I had, which was a pretty lame glass oven dish. I cooked it and cooked it, and it still came out hard as a rock. Then the slow cooker entered the picture!
It was my mother-in-law who helped me make my first slow-cooker brisket recently. We used a recipe she found online that contains around a million ingredients. You put the brisket in the slow cooker and then pile the kitchen sink, from soy sauce to stewed tomatoes to an entire cup of brown sugar, on top of it. But it was tender, and really tangy-sweet. It certainly wasn’t my mother’s brisket, but the feeling I had when I ate it was the same…comforted.
Next time I’m going to try our recipe. I’ll probably do it in the slow cooker, as some of the reviewers suggest, just ‘cause I love my slow cooker. This recipe is a lot like the Kitchen Sink one, only it uses a smaller sink! It’s got the same two really distinctive ingredients, tomatoes and sugar, but a less crazy amount of sugar.
What are some family favorites that you’ve continue to make yourself, and how have you adapted them?
PS, Happiest of holidays to you!!!