Thursday, December 24, 2009

First time making/eating Brisket

As you can probably tell from the rest of my blog, I don't eat meat!!! I've been testing the waters recently, and after a few pleasant experiences with beef, I wanted to make it for christmas eve dinner! At first, I was planning on making plain old steaks with bearnaise and french fries, but after trying the AMAZING oxtail poutine the other night at Animal in LA, I decided that I wanted something super tender... like brisket. So I brainstormed a lootttt of ideas for what to include in the braising liquid and finally decided on what to do. I cooked the brisket at 275 for about 6 hours today. The sauce was insane, the meat was ok to me (I come from a strictly vegetarian background and the texture is veery foreign to me), but everyone else seemed to like it! I'm hesitant to share my secret ingredients, but here's what I did (I basically tried to amp up the umami flavors of the beef with balsamic vinegar, anchovies, porcinis, sundried tomatoes and smoked chillis):

First I browned the meat in a bit of olive oil, duuhhhhh. Then I chopped up a bunch of carrots, celery, garlic, leeks and shallots and cooked that in the same pot after I took out the meat. I added a little bit of thyme and maybe twice as much rosemary, a few anchovies, two bay leaves, a glass full, maybe more, of red wine and let that cook off a bit. Then I added a of couple tablespoons of tomato paste, and can of san marzano tomatoes. Oh, while the vegetables were cooking, I brought a box of vegetable broth to a simmer with some porcini powder, mushroom stems, two smoked and dried serrano chillis, and a handful of sundried tomatoes (I chose to use vegetable broth cause I don't trust boxed meat broths). Then, I added this brothy mixture to the one with the wine and vegetables (after removing the mushroom stems), stuck the brisket back in and stirred in some balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar. I braised the whole thing in the oven from about 12:30-6:30 basting it every hour or so. I served it on mashed potatoes that I made with raw cream, a couple of tablespoons of butter and about a cup of fresh parsley stirred in at the end. We also made some roasted asparagus!

My sister Kali didn't want to eat the brisket so I made her pan fried halibut with a red wine and butter sauce that was very similar to the one I made with the polenta and brussel sprouts a few weeks ago!

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