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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crockpot Mexican Brisket and No-Fail Beans and Rice

Crock pot beef is my favorite food to eat at Christmas, well, maybe tied for first with tamales. My Mom's crock pot beef, oh dear Lord, the smell of it is filling the house right now and causing my mouth to water in an alarming way. Anyhow, here is how you make it. Trust me, you're going to love this.

Buy a piece of beef labelled as a "brisket", if you do not see one ask the butcher what you can use. The genius part is that an expensive cut of beef will not work, it has to be a tougher and cheaper piece of beef to withstand the crock pot and break down into yummy delicious pieces.

Place your brisket into a proper sized crock pot, (not too small). Then season it all over with the Adobo "con pimienta" and then get to adding cut up red, yellow or green peppers (as you like, or mix them up), at least one good sized onion, 2 fresh cloves of garlic, smashed, and enough water to cover the brisket. Set that sucker on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours and when it is done cooking it will fall apart into flavorful shreds, much like a pulled pork. Honestly though, you can't really overcook this, it just gets more and more tender and the flavor gets more and more concentrated. You serve this on tortillas with your favorite taco fixings.

I usually serve black beans with this as well and I always make my beans from scratch. Here is my basic method.

Sort your beans and discard shriveled, busted or discolored beans, rocks and other foreign objects. Rinse the beans in a colander and place into a stock pot. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then turn off heat and let beans sit, covered for one hour. This is the "short soak method." Alternatively you could soak them overnight without boiling at all. Just discard the soaking water whatever you do and cook the beans in fresh water. To the beans I add a smashed garlic cloves, onion, and carrot at a bare minimum. DO NOT ADD SALT until the beans are nearly done. Added too early this can make your beans quite tough!

I always make my beans and rice vegetarian for 2 reasons. 1) You never know who might come to dinner and it is always a good thing to have options for your guests. 2) I never really notice the meat being gone on black beans, so why bother?

Yellow rice is my go-to for Mexican food as well. I buy the yellow plastic tubes of Mahatma rice from Costco in a 6 pack I use it so much. Here's how I make it. I chop up fine some carrot and onion. I open a can of tomatoes and drain them into a measuring cup, reserving the juice. To the juice I add enough water and salt to make the recipe and I microwave it all together to get it hot. I lightly toast the rice in an oiled wrought iron skillet. Then when it is sizzling I add the liquid to the rice as well as the chopped carrot and onion and the tomatoes from the can. I stir it all together and let it boil for one minute and then cover and reduce the temperature to low for 20-25 minutes. Depending on what I am making I have also added frozen green peas to the pan in the last 4-5 minutes of cooking time. The kids eat it up and ask for more. The tiny cubes of carrot and the round green peas are are lovely pops of color in the cheery yellow rice and the tomatoes pretty much cook down to nothing and help flavor the rice really well.

If I am making a vegetarian meal, I let the beans and rice take center stage and make a side dish of sliced sauteed zucchini and yellow (crook-neck or summer) squash, mixed with chopped onion and tomato and seasoned with salt, pepper and cumin. It is all sauteed together in a hot pan with olive oil and then deglazed with a bit of vegetable broth and allowed to steam for a few minutes until the vegetables are soft and the flavors have melded. You can serve that just as is for a vegan meal or add a bit of queso blanco (a soft white cheese) to the top for added flavor. Really let the veggies get some good brown sear before you deglaze to get the best flavor! It is sort of a Mexican ratatouille if you can imagine. :)

That's about it for me today. I need to go dive head first into some other project so that I am not tempted to lift the lid on the crock pot and start "tasting" the brisket. Happy Sunday everyone!


  1. This post is going in the cooking folder! Sounds so good!

  2. I call the scent of this brisket, Mexican Aromatherapy. It just makes me feel good. Aaaaah!

  3. These recipes sound soo yummy as well as the words used to describe the ingrdients .Thanks for making me laugh and as to your blog that Colleen pulled up all I could say was you were on the money as far as our children are concerned. Homes and parents should be shelters for the ugly world that they face . I grew up with parents lie that little girl and it"s brought back bad memories Iwish I could have talked to her.
    Keep writing and affirming the little ones Love ya Yankee clipper