As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve gone Paleo for a month and part of that plan is to eat proteins that are raised humanely and are eating things that they should be eating. For example, cows are supposed to eat grass. Mass meat production has led to cheaper ways to feed cows, like corn, and it has created a host of problems, which they think they are fixing with antibiotics. I think this just creates new problems, like antibiotic resistant bacteria. Grass fed beef seriously tastes a thousand times better than mass produced beef, and it’s only a few bucks more. We all have choices on where we spend our money. And for me, I’d rather spend it on healthy food for my family and me. It’s cheaper than dealing with illnesses anyway. Okay, off my soapbox and back to the food. (I should also say, if I have a hankering for Tommy Burger, I’m going to have one. Am I going to be perfect? No. But I am going to try and make better choices.)
I made this brisket before starting my Paleo thing, using this recipe from chef Suzanne Goin (although I made a few modifications). I made it again last week, without the beer, and I think it was even better! She serves it with horseradish cream (delicious) and pickled onions (killer!). So, here’s the Paleo (and I think better) version:
Braised Beef Brisket
1 large brisket (about 5 pounds), seasoned generously with salt and pepper
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups beef stock
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a dutch oven and put the heat on high. Once hot, place brisket, fat side down, in pan and sear on both sides until deep brown, a few minutes on each side.
Once both sides are well browned, remove brisket and reduce heat to medium-high. Add a Tablespoon of olive oil and vegetables to pan and cook until caramelized, 8-10 minutes. Stir often, scraping up all the crusty bits. Add the garlic and sauté a few more minutes.
Add balsamic vinegar and cook for a few minutes. Add the bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and beef stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Return brisket to the pot. Stock should come just to the top of the brisket – add more stock or water if necessary. Cover pan with lid and braise in oven about 4 hours. (I cooked it for 2 hours, then flipped the brisket over and cooked for another hour, then flipped it again and checked it during the 4th hour – you don’t want to overcook it) If a fork slides in easily, brisket is done.
Turn up the heat to 400 degrees. Carefully transfer brisket to a baking sheet covered with foil and return to the oven until top is crispy (took about 12-15 minutes for me). Skim fat from top of braising juices (you can also put it in the fridge and take the hardened fat off the next day).
Let meat rest 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Slice across the grain and serve with braising liquid and horseradish cream and pickled onions, if you like. Mashed potatoes would go great with this.
This gave us 2 dinners (it freezes beautifully), plus leftovers for a couple of lunches. This is my new go-to brisket recipe.
Some other Paleo beefy items I have made: Meatballs (with spaghetti squash), sliders (using lettuce wraps instead of buns – add mayo and caramelized onions for some amazing flavor), and tacos (again, lettuce wraps – add guacamole and pico de gallo). Next week I’ll be making Korean short ribs, using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Where to find grass fed beef?
I sometimes get my grass fed beef from Whole Foods, but usually I get it from Novy Ranches, which is at my local farmers market. The ranch is in northern California and they sell their beef at lots of farmers markets in West LA and in the valley – check out their website for more info. If nothing else, try their ground beef (that is, if you live in CA) – 4 pounds for only $20 – it makes the best burgers with just some salt and pepper.
“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin