Posts tagged ‘Stock (food)’

January 19, 2011

Globetrotter | Braised Brisket

Sometimes, the heavens align to make my cooking for the week a little easier.  Enter the brisket.  Such a great cut and so flexible.

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.

Simple Long-Braised Brisket

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)

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January 11, 2011

Winter Kitchen | Roasted Chestnut Risotto with Mushrooms

When the snow is swirling outside and you feel like spending a bit of time in a warm kitchen stirring leisurely, risotto is your answer.

I have a deep love for risottos.   It is an endlessly versatile dish, perfectly at home in any season.  A stock, some aromatics, and a bit of rice transforms into a bowl of comfort.

I have taken risotto on as the meal I would most like to perfect in my life.  Ultimately, I want mine to be able to stand up next to any Italian nonna’s.  Lofty dream, I know.   But it’s a life project.

One of the things that makes me almost endlessly sad is to see recipes for “risotto” that include copious amounts of butter or oil or cream.  Risotto should not be a excessively fatty dish.  It is, as I said, essentially stock and rice.  You add at the end a bit of Parmesan if you like, or alternately, depending on the combination of ingredients, a heaping tablespoon (at most) of perhaps some marscapone cheese (across four servings) .  The creaminess of the dish is almost entirely derived from the grains of rice giving up their starch.

Today’s risotto was a combination of roasted and chopped chestnuts, dried and fresh mushrooms and a lamb stock.  This happy combination was again facilitated by The Flavor Thesaurus.   I had lamb bones in the freezer from a roasted lamb shoulder, so it was easy to toss everything in a pot to simmer a stock in the afternoon.  A bit later on, I set a metal sieve over the pot and soaked some dried chanterelles to rehydrate them and add a further bit of meatiness to the stock.

When it was time for dinner, I sauteed some fresh mushrooms (a combination of oyster, portabella, and cremini) along with the rehydrated chanterelles that I chopped in a very hot pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper, almost like duxelles.  When these were brown, I put them in a bowl for later.  I added a sliced shallot to the pan, reduced the heat to medium and soften it a bit.  Then I added about a cup and a half of rice, cooked it for a minute then deglazed the pan with vermouth.  The rest of the cooking is almost identical to the recipes here and here.  I added in the mushrooms just before the last addition of the lamb stock to rewarm them.  PK tip:  Make sure you add a generous extra ladle full or two of stock just before serving.  You want it almost a bit too loose.  It sets up so quickly as you get it to the table and you want it to be spoon-able, not stiff.  The plate was garnished with a bit of thyme (lots in the stock) and grated Parmesan.

Playlist included Writing to Reach You, by Travis.

January 2, 2011

The Organized Kitchen | Why (and How) I Make Stock

I have an affinity for things that many other cooks find tedious.  I happen to love the prep work of cooking.  Give me a huge pile of carrots and onions to chop, a whole head of garlic to mince.  I will happily fill prep bowls to overflowing,  arranging all ingredients in order of use and within easy reach.  It makes the cooking itself – the searing and stirring and deglazing – all the more pleasurable.   Some may use the term OCD, they’d be partially right, but missing the point, too.

One of the things I really enjoy is making stocks.  Many might consider it a drudgery.   But I get so much pleasure from taking the dregs of the kitchen: vegetable trimmings, a pile of roasted bones, the shells from shrimp, and transforming them into something that

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