July 27, 2009
So today I broke down and went to Whole Foods in Lincoln Park to buy beef. As most of you know by now I rarely buy or even eat meat. But - beef I haven't cooked or eaten in about 20 years. I just don't care for the smell or the taste. I don't judge you if you do eat it. Some of my best friends - oh, and my husband - eat beef. But here I was today standing at the counter looking forlorn and a little pathetic with a handwritten recipe for Nihari in my spiral cookbook journal. One of the guys behind the counter took pity on me.
"So, how can I help?" he asked.
"Um. Well. Um. I need some beef. I mean I have never bought beef before. This is all new to me. But I'm writing a cookbook and I need to include a beef recipe in it and I thought I should come here and actually buy it myself." When I'm nervous I tend to ramble. My new-found buddy behind the counter just stood there and looked at me. Curious - but not all that interested.
"Oh yea. So what can I get you?"
Sigh. More words. "I'm experimenting with a Pakistani beef stew recipe in my crockpot. I need a cut that will stand up to the slow cooker."
His suggestion was to go for the shoulder - which has a bit of fat on it that would do the stew - according to him - good. But, my friend Sofie who is Pakistani and who grew up eating Nihari suggested beef brisket. According to the diagram of the cow on the facing wall this cut came from the belly. Of the cow. That poor poor cow. Sigh. Gulp. "Okay. Let's do two pounds of the brisket and then if that doesn't come out I'll come back for the shoulder. Okay?"
"Great!" Hmmm. Great that's a great choice? Or great...yeah, get the hell out of my face you crazy non-meat eating freak? Hm. Who cares? I've got a cookbook to write!
So..I'm home now and that's what's in the crockpot. Nihari. For all you lovers out there - this is my attempt to convert the traditional recipe to a slowcooker one.
And I'll need a lot of taste testers for this one - 'cause I ain't gunna' try eating this one myself!
(Miral - thanks for your thoughts. I will be posting more detailed recipes. Tell me what you would like to learn as well. One of my next post will be my slowcooking rajmah).