Chili Braised Brisket

For some reason we always seem to crave Tex-Mex food on a Friday night. There’s something so festive about this style of food which makes it a great celebratory introduction to the weekend.  I’ve never cooked a whole brisket before, mainly because it’s not a cut that’s commonly seen in butchers here.  It’s never on display, well not at the butchers near me, but it is a cut they’ll prepare for you if you pre-order it.  The other option is to purchase it from the Kosher meat section of the supermarket where it’s in plentiful supply but at a rather hefty cost, and that’s not what brisket is all about. My butcher prepared a nice large brisket for me that weighed about 1.5kg. It was quite thin on both ends which scared me a little as I was sure it would become tough but I needn’t of feared.  It was pull apart tender and the chipotle spiked chill sauce which coated it made it even better.  I pulled the brisket apart and smothered it in the sauce and then used it as a filling for white corn tortillas with all the usual fixings of avocado, tomato salsa, sour cream and cheese. This makes a lot of brisket but it freezes well and tastes even better the second time round.

Ingredients – Serves 4-6

1 whole brisket weighing about 1.5kg – my piece was very long so I cut it into 2 to make it easier to handle
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions sliced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon Mexican chilli powder
1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
¼ cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 160C.  Season the brisket generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large lidded oven proof pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and when hot add the brisket and sear for a few minutes on each side until lightly brown.  Remove and set aside.  Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, chilli powder and chipotle peppers. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, tomatoes and beef stock and stir to combine with the onions and spices.

  

Return the brisket to the pan and nestle it in the sauce.  There should be enough liquid to just cover the meat.  Bring to the boil, put on the lid and transfer to the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat is fork tender.  Check the meat and sauce every now and then to make sure that the liquid isn’t reducing too much.  When the brisket is cooked remove the meat from the sauce and slice or shred it on a board and return it to the pan to smother it in the sauce until ready to serve.

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