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{the main course}


X -citement filled our house while I labored in love for our Valentine’s Day mini-feast.  As always, I had lots of help in the kitchen.  Toby was extremely camera shy and was near impossible to get a good photo of.  Bula on the other hand, is a natural born Diva and soaked up the attention {per usual} Speaking of the Diva, her Grandma and Grandpa Jones were no longer using an extra cat bed they had, so they thought Bula might like it.  Well, she took to that thing like a fly to poop.  Once her tired bones first laid down in that bed, she has been hard to entice her away from it ever since.

I absolutely love her Majesty’s new throne as well because it sits nicely on the edge of the kitchen, with Bula atop it and no longer on the rug in the middle of the small working area.

Now, back to the food.

I shared the recipes for the appetizers and the special cocktails already, and this week I’ll share the delectable main course. We are all sold out of beef until later in the spring when we take in more animals to the butcher.  When we brought home the first beef of the year last year, Tyler and I had saved an 1/8 of steer for ourselves.  I’ve been stretching it out and trying to use it only for special occasions.  I think it is making each meal taste that much better ;)

As a review, here was the menu for the night:

The main course, Old Fashioned Beef Brisket with Root Vegetables, simmered in the crock pot all day, while I got the other items prepared and the house {somewhat} cleaned.

I got this slow cooker recipe book not long after we got married and it has come in so handy & has been very inspirational on more than one occasion.  I highly recommend it.  There is also a casserole one, which I would like to get someday.

What you need:

4 medium sweet onions, quartered {I cut all of my veggies into smaller cuts because I prefer smaller bites}

4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths

4 large red potatoes, quartered

3 medium parsnips, cut into 1-inch lengths

2 Tablespoons sweet paprika

1 Tablespoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon celery seeds

4 beef bouillon cubes, crumbled, or 4 teaspoons Better than Bouillon beef soup base {This is not supposed to be very soupy, so I didn’t use beef stock in the pot, but I think I would have in hindsight.  The bouillon is used for the flavor, which would be stronger than using stock.  I also don’t know how to make a homemade version of bouillon cubes or what a good substitute is for them.  Any suggestions are more than welcome}

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

One 4-pound Afton Field Farm brisket {when available}, fat trimmed {I like to leave the fat on for flavor and nutrients.  I trimmed it slightly after it was done cooking}

What you do:

– Combine the onions, carrots, potatoes, and parsnips in the insert of a 5-7 quart slow cooker.

{I wasn’t sure if the veggies were going to cook too quickly being I cut them so small, so I put them in the pot after it had been on for 3 hours.  I’m not sure if that was necessary, but they turned out well anyway}

– Mix the paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, thyme, pepper, celery seeds, bouillon, brown sugar, and flour together in a small bowl.

– Rub the mixture over the brisket and transfer the brisket to the cooker. {If the brisket is too large, cut it in half and stack to fit}

– Cover the cooker and cook on low for 10 hours, until the brisket is tender.

– Remove the brisket from the cooker and cover with aluminum foil.  Carefully lift the vegetables from the sauce, arrange on a platter, and cover with aluminum foil.

– If you wish, skim any fat from the sauce and leave in the cooker set on warm.  Thinly slice the brisket across the grain and arrange it on a serving platter with vegetables.  Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the brisket, and serve any remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

We were so busy enjoying all the food that I didn’t get a picture of the final product.  But it looked and tasted equally beautiful.  Here is Mr. Farmer Jones and his helper slicing the brisket. Toby was still anti-camera, hence the no eye contact.  Oh that silly pooch… :)

Next up, dessert!

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