Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Comfort Food Continued

Another snowy day and another craving for comfort food. Well I actually had the craving yesterday when the TV weatherpeople were all atwitter about a major snow storm hitting the Boston area. On my way home from work I stopped at the market and bought a beef brisket. I haven't cooked a brisket in about 3 or 4 years (it's quite a fatty piece of meat) but I put my prejudice aside and decided to give it a whirl.

A little history here: My mom, Elaine Dalton made the best brisket in the world. I'm not kidding. She cooked it on the stove top with onions, garlic and a combination of chicken stock and water. And that is how I always made my brisket. But after perusing the internet last night I decided to go with a new recipe and a new approach. I stumbled across Joan Nathan's Mothers' Brisket that's baked in the oven. There's no browning of the meat, and you don't have to keep an eye on the pot on the stove. Ideal for a lazy, snowy day off from work spent in my PJs. This is a simple recipe, perfect for a novice cook and has a sweet and sour tang similar to the sauce in Rae's Meatballs. A few things to note- the recipe called for 5 pounds of meat. I had 2-1/2, so I adjusted the recipe to accomodate a smaller piece of beef. Also, I didn't have white vinegar so I used cider vinegar. Delicious just the same.
Joan Nathan's Mothers' Brisket
2-1/2 pounds flat cut beef brisket
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 T brown sugar
1/2 cup chili sauce
3/4 cup cider vinegar
Handful of chopped celery leaves
1 cup diced onions
3 small carrots sliced
1 to 1-1/2 cups water
COMBINE SALT, PEPPER, brown sugar, chili sauce and vinegar with a whisk. Pour over the meat and let stand overnight in your fridge. I pulled out my 40 year old Corningware dish and it was a pleasure to use it again.

REMOVE MEAT FROM the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for about a half hour. Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees. Chop onions, carrots and celery leaves and place over marinated meat. Add water.
Cover and bake for 2 hours, basting with the marinade every so often. Remove cover and bake one more hour.

The original recipe said to strain the marinade and reserve the liquid. I didn't do that. But I did skim the fat off the top, slice the meat and return it to the delicious liquid it cooked in. It was a very satisfying dish and I bet you can guess what kind of sandwich I'll be bringing for lunch tomorrow.

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