Monday, June 8, 2009

TFF - Braised Beef Brisket

After putting together Tyler Florence’s Arborio Rice Pudding last week for Tyler Florence Fridays, I couldn’t wait to try anther recipe from the ones I have marked in his books! (although I do have quite a few I want to try!) At the grocery this week, the brisket looked wonderful, so even though I’ve never made a brisket before, I couldn’t resist giving this one a try!
If you’ve been reading my blog with any kind of regularity, you know by now that I rarely follow a recipe as it is written. On this one, however, I did my very best to keep it as close to Tyler’s version as possible (with a few minor changes, of course!) About the only things I did differently in this case is that instead of the can of whole tomatoes, I used two cans of diced, fire roasted tomatoes. I just love the flavor they give to a nice cut of beef. Other than that, I didn’t garnish with the watercress because, as I’ve mentioned before, I live in Podunk, USA. We don’t have watercress.

NOW! About the recipe! Naturally, my brisket was too big for my dutch oven, and my large roasting pan is one that I’m afraid to put over an open flame. So, I have a 14 inch covered skillet that I love, and although I’m sure it isn’t proper technique, I managed to stuff all the ingredients in it. The recipe itself was very easy to follow. I did use a little more than 4 cloves of garlic, and my skill at making paste out of it leaves a little something to be desired, but hey, it tasted good! For the wine, I used a nice Cabernet/Merlot blend that had a smoky undertone to it, which I thought would work well with the fire roasted tomatoes. Let me just tell you, it took every ounce of willpower I had to let that hunk of meat stay in the oven for 3 ½ hours! (Tyler’s brisket was only 4 pounds, mine was 5 ½, so it took longer than his recipe references.) My whole house smelled like beefy heaven. When I finally pulled the pan out of the oven and uncovered it, I could have cried, it smelled so good. I’ve never had brisket any way other than smoked, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but it sliced like a dream. My Wustoff went through it like butter. I was so excited by the results, that since I had to run out the door when it was done cooking to my niece’s 16th birthday party, I packed some of it up and took it with me, where I proceeded to force-feed it to my husband. He looked at me like I was crazy, but after putting a couple of slices on a sandwich roll and tentatively tasting it, he looked at me like I was a goddess on a golden pedestal. I don’t get that reaction from my husband often, but when I do, it usually involves lingerie. (Sorry, Mom and Dad! Avert your eyes!)

All in all, I haven’t got a single complaint, other than I had to rush out the door and didn’t have time to make the polenta side dish I was going to make to go with it, so you might see that later this week! Also….I’m already eyeing another brisket at the store…don’t be surprised if you see THIS recipe go into regular rotation in MY kitchen! It is absolutely fabulous!!! I think the pictures speak for themselves. Another winner from our guy, Ty!

Braised Beef Brisket From Dinner at My Place by Tyler Florence, Meredith Books (2008).
Serves 10
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 fresh rosemary sprigs, needles stripped from the stem and chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 4-pound beef brisket (first cut)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large carrots, cut into 3-inch chunks
3 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch chunks
2 onions, halved
2 cups dry red wine
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
1 handful fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)
2 tablespoons water or dry red wine (optional)
1 bunch hydroponic watercress, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. On a cutting board, mash the garlic and ½ teaspoon salt together with the flat side of a knife until it turns into a paste.Add the rosemary and continue to mash until incorporated. Put the garlic-rosemary paste in a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir to combine. Set aside.
Season both sides of the brisket with plenty of salt and pepper. Rub the rosemary-garlic paste over the brisket. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Place a large roasting pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
When the pan is hot, place the brisket in the roasting pan and sear to form a nice brown crust on both sides, adding additional oil as necessary to prevent sticking.
Lay the vegetables all around the brisket. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato liquid, parsley, and bay leaves.
Cover the pan tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork-tender.
Remove the brisket from pan and place on a cutting board. Allow brisket to rest for 15 minutes.Remove vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon; discard vegetables. Skim some of the excess fat from the pan juices, leaving about ¼ cup fat in the pan; place the roasting pan with the pan juices and fat over medium-high heat. Boil and stir about 5 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half. (For a thicker sauce, mix the 1 tablespoon flour with the 2 tablespoons water and whisk into the gravy.) Slice brisket and serve with sauce. If you like, garnish each plate with watercress.

**notes: I admit, I didn't want to let any heat out of the oven on a hot day like yesterday and I was on a deadline, so I wanted it to stay in the oven as much as possible. Yep, I only basted it twice the whole time it was in the oven. Didn't matter, it was still moist and wonderful.
**also: I did not thicken the sauce. I did strain the veggies out of it, but it was so flavorful, I left it just as an au jus, which I though was an incredible complement to the meat and just made the slices glisten on the plate.
I've gotta ask....have you ever seen anything quite so luscious on your dinner table?


Kim said...

Awesome!! I just love your post. I laughed outloud when you mentioned the lingerie and your parents : ) I was looking at this recipe this morning! It does look super excellent. I love your picture with that cool white plate!! I need to get some new plates.

Joanne said...

I've only ever bought brisket from the local Jewish deli so the idea of homemade is amazing! This is quite impressive. It's too bad you guys couldn't sit down and enjoy it at a leisurely pace. I like the part about your I know - the key to a guy's heart is through homemade brisket.

heatherisathome said...

Dag on, that looks good!!!

Natashya said...

I have never made brisket from scratch before - yours looks stunning!

ARLENE said...

I made brisket once, years ago, to a group party in Florida. My Italian grandmother never had this in her rotation. Long story short, it didn't look like this one. This is bursting with juices and I may try again. I have some veggie latkes in the freezer that would go really well with it. I like your substitution of the fire roasted tomatoes.

Kristin said...

yum! I have never cooked a brisket before- looks like I should give it a try. Happy TFF!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have seen equally luscious, and it usually involves similar ingredients! Truly lovely depiction! I can almost taste it...and I'm so hungry! I agree...what a shame to have to run out on it!

Megan said...

Ahhhh, brisket - it's what's for dinner.

And I love a good one!

karen said...

glad you got the "lingerie" reaction. ;)

i'll have to put this one on my list to try. it looks really good.

Jenny said...

Oh yes, I have made this before and it is a good thing to do to an ugly piece of meat. Now that I think about it, I think I have one brisket left in my freezer.

Julie said...

That really does look amazing. I'm making a brisket tomorrow and already have a marinade going on, but I definitely have to bookmark this for future use.