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Beer-Braised Brisket Sliders

Mariel here. My workload has been a tad oppressive as of late, which certainly isn’t a bad thing when you’re a freelance writer. But unfortunately, all that writing, researching and scrambling means I’ve neglected my wee little kitchen. Last week, I subsisted solely on Chipotle-Spiced Pulled Pork, Mango Salsa and Apple Raisin Slaw leftover from our superbowl catering job, but the surfeit ran out on Friday afternoon. And that meant it was time to a) order takeout and b) restock my supply of quick-pickings in the fridge.

While I haven’t yet invested in a slow-cooker, I do subscribe to the set-it-and-forget it philosophy of Sunday cooking. So, after taking the dogs for a quick run in the park, I set about braising a brisket, not exactly sure of what I’d do with it once it was done. In a Glee-style mash-up, I combined my mom’s recipe for Osso Buco (which she’ll share later) with an old Gourmet recipe and hoped for the best. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what I got.

On Sunday night, my husband and I dug into the Brisket au naturale – we simply slathered it in its onion-shroom sauce and went to town. Then yesterday, inspired by a few slider rolls hanging out in my frigidaire, I decided to make lunchtime sammies. Delicious. Tomorrow, I plan on whipping up a Brisket Ragu and serving it over pasta. While I initially gawked at my grocery bill (I usually aim for meals under $20, not under $30), the surplus of leftovers qualifies this dish as Feast-friendly. It’s truly the meal that keeps on giving…and giving. As I close in on my third deadline this week, I’m thankful to have this at the ready.

Beer-Braised Brisket Sliders
The brisket serves 8-10 on its own; the number of sliders will depend on size of your slider rolls

Note: Save a few clams and buy untrimmed brisket from your butcher and get rid of the excess fat at home.

Equipment note: You’ll need a large French Oven (I use Le Creuset), a large, lidded oven-proof casserole pan, or a large roasting pan, which you can cover very tightly with foil.

4-4½ lb boneless beef brisket, trimmed -$18.00
5 sweet onions, chopped finely (about 6 cups) – $2.49
1½ cups of diced tomatoes (if you’re using canned, then drain them first) – $2.29
8-10 oz of mushrooms, quartered – $2.50
3 cloves garlic, mashed or minced – stock
12-oz bottle of beer (I happened to have Newcastle Brown Ale)
1 bay leaf – stock
1 teaspoon salt – stock
Black pepper, to taste – stock
2 Tablespoons olive oil – stock
½ cup low-sodium beef stock – stock
1 Tablespoon of cider or balsamic vinegar – stock
Mini slider rolls, lightly toasted – $3.99
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $29.27
Cost per serving: $2.92

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat the brisket dry and sprinkle all sides generously with about 1 teaspoon salt and a few good cracks of black pepper. Let the meat settle for about 15 minutes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy stock pot or lidded roasting pan (see note above) over high heat. Once the oil is very hot, brown the brisket on all sides for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter.

3. In the same pot, cook the onions, garlic and bay leaf in the brisket drippings over med-high heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once the onions are soft and golden – this takes about 10 minutes – place the brisket over the onions. Scoop up some of the onions and spread across the top of the brisket to flavor it. Add the beef stock, beer and vinegar. Bring the contents to a boil.

4. Remove the pot from the stovetop, cover the pot and place in the pre-heated oven. Cook for 2½ hours. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and continue cooking (covered) for another hour, until the meat is fall-apart tender. Remove the pot from the oven and let cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and slice against the grain or pull apart with forks, depending on how you’d like to serve it. Salt & pepper the remaining sauce, if necessary, and give it a good stir. Return the sliced brisket to the pot full of sauce and slather it well, coating the meat thoroughly. Serve the brisket unaccompanied or on toasted slider buns. Recipe for the Brisket Ragu to follow.