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There are few things more satisfying than slow cooked meat. And right at the top of the pile is beef brisket. Slower cooker beef brisket is the ultimate comfort food.
When we first started paying off debt, I found that eating lunch out was one of our biggest budget downfalls. Whether it was grabbing an uninspiring prepackaged sandwich on lunch break, or treating ourselves to something from the deli on the weekend, we were spending a small fortune on lunch. One of our absolute favourite go-to places is a burrito bar in Belfast (if you live here, you know the one I’m talking about!). But while that place will always have a special place in my heart, it’s really, really expensive to regularly eat lunch there. And that’s true of grabbing lunch on-the-go anywhere.
When we finally found habits that worked well with our debt-free lifestyle, we started planning lunches and breakfast as part of our meal plan. Now with options for breakfast and lunches in our fridge and cupboards, there are no excuses when it comes to sticking to our food budget.
One of the biggest obstacles people face when planning their meals is creating meals that are appealing to them. Try to cut your food budget too much, and you are left with unappealing and bland options. It’s really hard to stick with these long-term. The key is to cook meals you will get excited about. The type of meals that you’d usually pay a premium for, but by preparing them at home, they become budget-friendly. And that’s where my slow cooker beef burrito bowls come in. This is a meal that people usually pay between £7-10 for, but this recipe comes in at a bargainous £11.83. That’s the cost of a takeaway burrito and drink- for seven full burrito bowls!
And my husband, a burrito aficionado (should such a title exist), says he can’t tell the difference between these and our beloved takeaway burrito bowls.
To create these burrito bowls, I’ve stuck with value brand items from Asda for everything except the spices listed below. The spices were bought in bulk from our local Asian food market. I really recommend having a look at your local Asian food market for spices, noodles, rice and sauces, as you can save a fortune and the variety is brilliant.
Here’s the recipe, or to download the recipe card, keep scrolling.
Prep time: 7 hours 30 mins (includes 6 hours of slow cooking)
Cost of full recipe: £11.83
Cost per portion: £1.69
700g beef brisket joint
1 beef stock cube
3 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried coriander
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried cumin
200g cherry tomatoes
1 brown onion
25g fresh coriander, finely chopped
700g long grain brown rice
400g tin of pinto beans
Half a red onion
Half a bulb of garlic
A sprinkle of chilli flakes
Half a head of iceberg lettuce
1 tsp vegetable oil (I use Asda value brand, which is currently 100% rapeseed oil)
Around 2 litres of boiling water
Salt and pepper, plus a few sprays of spray oil
Start with preparing your spice mix by combining the smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, cumin and coriander, along with a little salt and pepper. Put the beef brisket joint in the slow cooker, and top with two thirds of the spice mix and the crumbled beef stock cube. Then cover with boiling water and leave to simmer on a high heat for six hours. My slow cooker is perfect for this recipe as it’s a compact size for this small joint of meat, and you save a lot on electricity, too.
When the beef brisket is cooked, take it out of the slow cooker. Shred the meat fully with two forks. Put the beef to the one side.
While the beef is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients. All in, the prep time for everything else should take no longer than an hour and a half.
To make the lime and coriander rice, start by boiling 700g of long grain brown rice. In a pot, cover the dry rice with 1.2L of boiling water, plus a little salt, and place a secure lid on the pot- the lid should be kept on the rice until it is fully cooked. Bring to the boil on your stove’s highest setting for five minutes. Then lower the heat to a medium setting for around ten minutes. Once there is no water at the surface of the rice, turn off the heat and allow the rice to sit on the ring for another ten minutes. Afterwards, take the lid off and fluff the rice up with a fork. This is my full proof method for cooking rice and it blows the microwavable kind out of the water! It will create perfect rice every time.
Add 10g of the chopped coriander and the juice of one lime to the rice, give it a mix and it’s ready.
While the rice is cooking, prep your vegetables. Thinly slice the peppers, mushrooms and onion. Cut two thirds of the cherry tomatoes in half (the other third will be used for salsa). Spray a pan with oil and stir fry the peppers, mushrooms and onions for around five minutes until the vegetables are soft, then add in the tomatoes, and the remaining third of the spice mix. Cook for a further few minutes, until fully cooked. While the vegetables are cooking, finely shred the iceberg lettuce and set aside.
Put the tinned pinto beans in a saucepan in their juices, and cook on a medium heat for three or four minutes, until they are cooked through. Once they are cooked, set them aside.
Finally, prepare a simple salsa. Combine the juice of two limes, half a red onion, half a bulb of garlic, the remainder of the cherry tomatoes (around 70g), a pinch of chilli flakes, a tsp of vegetable oil and a little salt and pepper. The easiest way to do this is to put everything into a blender and give it a whizz until you are left with a chunky mix. The blender I use is available here, and I would highly recommend as a cheaper alternative to the Nutri-Bullet. I’ve had it for several years and it is great for making smoothies to take with me when I’m on the go, individual portions of soups, and sauces.
If you aren’t using a blender, everything can be chopped very finely and mixed well until combined.
Set the salsa with the rest of the ingredients; you should now have a fully prepped beef brisket, lime and coriander rice, spicy stir fried veg, shredded lettuce, pinto beans and salsa. Now all you have to do is layer everything into containers.
Start by putting a layer of rice at the bottom of each container and layer up from there. How you layer everything else is up to you, but the lettuce will remain fresh if it’s at the top. My containers are great for storing these slow cooker beef brisket burrito bowls. They come with airtight snap-on lids that ensure the contents don’t leak. The air vents help to cool the contents, plus enable you to microwave the contents safely.
Garnish each burrito bowl with a wedge of the remaining fresh lime and a sprinkle of chilli flakes for a final kick of heat. And enjoy!
So that’s my slow cooker beef brisket burrito bowls. Let me know in the comments what else would be good with these bowls. Guac, sour cream, grated cheese, or do you have another magic ingredient that takes these to the next level?