Sidenote: I’m in serious trouble if Zeus is reading this post, because in the country I was raised, brisket can be prepared one way only. Small exceptions are made one day out of the year – March 17th – when it is acceptable to consume corned beef.
A brisket is a great, inexpensive cut of meat that’s superbly tender if it’s been given some low and slow cooking (just like bbq, y’all). And if you cook a really big piece of meat one day, you are left with the lovely proposition of leftovers.
Tonight, this simply-braised brisket was served in generous slabs lacquered with the cooking liquids. Partnering it was a silken parsnip and potato puree and the world’s greatest (hyperbole, perhaps) spiced purple cabbage. A bit like a dinner in Alsace.
The excess brisket will be the base of two more days of worldly deliciousness. Look later this week for recipes in which the leftovers will be dressed up in tight Mexican Mariachi pants and a big hat and then subsequently looking demure in a separate Philippine dish. Globetrotting indeed.
1 – 3 pound brisket
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut in thirds
6 cloves garlic (I used some garlic confit that was in the fridge – you don’t have to, of course)
Small bunch parsley chopped in thirds
2 bay leaves
Splash of vermouth (I used Noilly Prat)
1 c chicken stock (homemade if available, otherwise, just use water – seriously)
Salt, pepper, olive oil
Season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large roasting pan or oven-safe lidded pan large enough to comfortably fit the meat. Sear both sides until browned. Move the meat to the side of the pan, add in the onion, carrot and whole garlic cloves. Saute for four minutes or so to soften the vegetables. Add in a generous splash of vermouth, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the fond (i.e., crispy brown bits) off the bottom and onto the vegetables. Add the parsley, bay leaf and chicken stock or water. Cover tightly with a lid or foil and place in a 275 degree oven for 6 hours. Yes, I said six hours. You don’t have to babysit this meat. Go do something fun. Ignore it. It’s fine, really.
When it’s time to serve, remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest a few minutes. Then slice it against the grain in large pieces. Strain the remaining stock into a large saute pan and skim it of most of the fat. Place 1/3 of the meat in the liquid. Over low heat reduce the stock while periodically basting the meat with a large spoon.
Serve with parsnip and potato puree (4 parsnips, 1 potato – both peeled, cubed and placed in a pot and covered with one inch of salted water; boil until tender; drain and transfer to a food processor and add 1/4 c milk and 1/4 c sour cream, puree until smooth) and spiced red cabbage (1 small head of red cabbage, outer leaves removed, cored and thinly sliced, sauteed in olive oil along with 1/2 onion finely diced and 1/3 red jalapeno pepper that’s been deseeded and minced; season with salt, pepper, pinch of allspice, pinch of ground clove, pinch of cinnamon, pinch of sugar and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar; add 1/4 apple cider and allow to cook for twenty minutes at least, adding water if necessary.)
This paired beautifully with a really inexpensive and widely available (here in C-Bus, at least) 2009 Bonarda from Finca El Reposo.
Playlist included Frontier Psychiatrist by The Avalanches.