Monday, April 14, 2008

Braised Brisket

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I bought the whole brisket rather than just the first cut, and as you saw, that a big hunk of meat!! Well over the 5 pounds the recipe called for, and well over the size of my largest pot. But what could I do with this extra meat? Only one idea crossed my mind, Braise It!
Ahh the house-warming delight that is a braise. The method of tenderizing collagen-rich cuts through slow, gentle simmering has been warming households since medieval times. Lately it has almost become a lost art in the home kitchen due to the infamous crockpot. I believe I have the technique down, but if there are any great chefs out there reading this, let me know!

First I seared the brisket in oil over quite high heat on all sides. I then removed it from the pan and poured off any excess oil. I then added mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery) and some garlic and caramelized those goodies before deglazing the pan with some red wine. After that reduced a good bit, I put the meat back in the pan and covered it about 1/2 to 3/4 with beef stock. I threw in some thyme, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns, covered it with some parchment paper with a hole cut in the middle, and let it go at 325 for around 3 hours.

Boy, did the house smell good. In a house filled with cat and dog odors, the smells of cooking are a great relief, and have taken the place of febreze and pot pourri.

I took the meat out when I thought it was tender, let it rest for 30 minutes, then sliced it up. Yes, I should have skimmed and reduced the braising liquid, but it was a Friday and I wanted to go out with my friends ok! The brisket was good, not great. In lieu of my trying to finish up so I could go out, I took it out prematurely, and as a result, it wasn't as tender as I had hoped. Believe me, it was still good though and I would've made it just for the smell.

So, go and try this if your home is infested with dogs and cats, more importantly, try this if you love some delicious, house-warming, flavorful food.

The Braise: Warming homes (and eliminating odors) since medieval times.

1 comment:

chocolateschool said...

Hi Nick, found your blog through Ruhlman's blog =) I really admire what you're doing and your blog is beautifully written too. I think that you're really lucky to have discovered your love of cooking at a pretty young age. Keep it up, can't wait to read more =)