I always like to cook a little bit when I’m on vacation, especially when I’m visiting family. Of course I never make anything too complicated, because it is vacation, after all! I prepared this meal for my parents, grandparents and myself and I’m happy to say it turned out a smashing success. The best part? It sounds so much fancier than it is.
Most of the hands-on time happens early in the day, and the rest is done in the slow cooker or oven on low heat for at least five hours. That is plenty of time to run errands, get ready and finish all the sides before the main is even ready to rest. Plus, the braising liquid can be made almost entirely from things you already have in your kitchen. The acid in the coffee works as a tenderizer, as does the tomato, and the deep spices give the flavor a savory, smoky feel. Perfect for a cool fall night with a robust red wine and maybe a side of apple-chive mashed potatoes.
Coffee Braised Beef Brisket
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
2 pounds beef brisket or chuck steaks
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
8-oz brewed dark coffee
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together spice mix and rub over brisket or steak.
2. Place brisket in a roasting or braising pan and place in oven. Roast for 1 hour to brown.
For oven: Reduce heat to 325. Add onions and garlic to pan. Whisk together coffee and tomato paste to make a thick sauce. Pour over beef and return to oven. Cook for 5-6 hours until beef is tender and comes apart easily with a fork.
For slow cooker: Add onions and garlic to slow cooker. Top with beef and cover with sauce (whisked together coffee and tomato paste). Cook on low 6-8 hours until beef is tender and comes apart easily with a fork. Serve over mashed potatoes.
Apple Chive Mashed Potatoes
2 large apples (your favorite variety) peeled and chopped into large dice
6 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large dice
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
2-4 tbsp fresh whole cream
1-2 tbsp butter
sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
1. In a saucepan, steam or boil potatoes and apples together with garlic for 10-12 minutes, until soft.
2. Mash together potatoes, apples and garlic to desired consistency (I like it a bit chunky, you can also puree with a vita-mix for a smoother texture).
3. Add desired amount of cream and butter and stir or whip to make creamy. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Serve with braised beef.
What is your go-to simple-but-seems-fancy dish?