Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Beer braised brisket

Brisket braised in beer, mashed russet and sweet potato with carrot

I'd better start by admitting I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to roasting red meats. This is because the Coop only recently started selling red meat. Before then I'd have to bike over to Carrol Gardens and shop at Staubitz (phenomenal butcher) because I abhor the meat at Key Food. So I'm still learning.

According to The Joy of Cooking, I'm supposed to braise brisket for an hour or two and then roast it in the oven for another hour or two. But after braising the meat the temperature read that the beef was well done, so I stopped there. Now I recall JaneAnne saying that the point is to cook it past well done, so the fat melts and the meat falls apart. So I'll have to try this again. (Darn, delicious roast beef again!)

This whole meal was inspired by JaneAnne, actually. Her description of church roast has had me in a trance. I remember church roast well. My mom used a crock pot, but it was still amazing. I also took JaneAnne's idea of mashing russet potatoes with sweet potatoes and other vegetables.

I started the brisket by browning some halved garlic cloves in oil. Then I added the brisket (2 pounds) and browned it on all sides. The meat was in a longish piece, so I rolled it up and tied it with string. Seemed to be the thing to do intuitively. When the meat was browned I added a bottle of Rheingold beer (nothing fancy) and about a quarter cup of chicken broth. I would have added more, but earlier today Jasper got his hands on the carton and poured most of it out on the floor. I added water to cover and then threw in a few sprigs of rosemary and savory (again) along with two large carrots and two bay leaves. I brought it all to a boil and then covered, lowering the temperature. I cooked the brisket this way for about an hour and a half before removing the brisket. It was still good, but not the melty masterpiece that should be church roast.

For the veggies I boiled two russet potatoes and one sweet potato. When they were soft I drained them and then mashed them with the brisket carrots and garlic. Then I added five tablespoons of butter (sounds like a lot, but not when you consider this makes four large servings) and a quarter cup of the brisket broth. This was so much more flavorful than ordinary mashed potatoes that I don't know if I'll ever make just mashed potatoes again. Plus it came out such a lovely golden color. JaneAnne also adds cauliflower, spinach, collards, and probably a number of others.

While I made the mashed veggies I strained the brisket broth and then boiled it until it reduced to a glaze -- a gorgeous, carmel-y glaze. It must have been the sugars in the beer. Those of you who abstain from alcohol, I'm sure it was all cooked out by this point. The glaze is worth making, and definitely made up for the brisket.

Once again, I should have made a salad. But I've been in such a meat and starches mode since the weather has gotten cold. I could have bought salad greens today at the Chelsea Market. Jasper and I ended up there today after delivering something in the city for Lane. There were throngs of nannies and strollers. Apparently this is where the neighborhood hangs out when it's cold out. There was a fun pumpkin, gourd, and jack-o'-lantern display. Don't go out of your way to see it, but if you're in the neighborhood it is neat.


Anonymous said...

Hey--this sounds a lot like our dinner! I made a chuck arm roast, well-browned, sprinkled with just a little bit of kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper, and then cooked in the oven at 250 for, like, 5 hours. It was yummy and falling apart and the exuded juices made a dark brown intensely rich gravy (yes, gravy, not a glaze--although my 5-year-old insisted on eating his roast beef with applesauce, a la pork!).

Our mashed potatoes were 2.5 lbs of russets, 1 large carrot and a stupid golden sweet potato that was totally the wrong thing. I put "sweet potato" on my grocery list because technically there are no true yams in American grocery stores, and I assumed my husband had heard my previous rants on the subject and would know that I always buy what are labeled "garnet yams," even though they're really sweet potatoes. But no, he's charmingly literal and got this weird yellow thing that didn't add much. But with about 5 tablespoons of butter, 1/3-1/2 cup of cream, and drizzled with that lovely rich gravy, they were edible.

We also had zucchini and fresh green beans, which I adore. And I should have had a salad, too, but somehow was unable to put together prewashed baby spinach, already-made honey-balsamic-dijon vinaigrette, and rosemary croutons from the farmers' market. Duh.

This comment is getting way too long, but I'm not sure brisket would ever get to that stringy melty place, no matter how long you cooked it. It's just not a fatty enough cut. Only the chuck works like this. But I can probably dig up a good brisket recipe if you'd like.

Writermama said...

Damn, we need to get our oven fixed.