Oven Braised Brisket

I grew up with pot roast, but have only ever made corned beef brisket.

Giving a try to a more traditional Beef Brisket Recipe.

This was based on a recipe from Chef Suzanne Goin.

Oven Braised Brisket

3-4 Pound Beef Brisket
Curing Mix (2 Parts Sugar, 1 Part Salt)
Fresh Thyme
Black Pepper

Rub beef with curing mix and spices, rest overnight in the refrigerator.

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1 Large Onion
2 Small Carrots
2 Sticks Celery
Bay Leaf
Dry Thyme
Dry Oregano Leaf
1 bottle dark beer (stout)
1/2 Bottle Dry White Wine
Stock

Dry brisket with paper towels or cloth. Heat a heavy roasting pan over a burner. Brown Brisket on both sides. Remove to a plate. Add veggies and saute until tender. Add Beer and White wine and reduce slightly. Add Brisket to pan, fat side up, baste with veggies and liquid. Add stock to bring liquid half way up the brisket. Cover tightly and cook in 325 oven until a fork goes into the thickest portion of the meat easily (probably 3-4 hours).

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Cool and strain veggies out of cooking liquid. Return veggies and brisket to pan and refrigerate overnight.

3 Onions, sliced.

Saute onions until tender.

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Defat cooking liquid. Slice brisket and add to oven proof pan. Cover with onions and some cooking liquid. Heat through in warm oven.

Thicken remaining cooking liquid with cornstarch or roux to make a gravy.

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Serve with Horseradish Mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

Pasta alla Norma, The Wrong Way

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The other day at work one of the cooks (Yo Josh!) made a delicious side dish for our staff meal. It was Kale dressed with puree of roasted eggplant and curry flavors.

When I saw Bittman’s boring revisit of Pasta alla Norma in the NY Times (A Recipe for Pasta Alla Norma, Mark Bittman’s Way), Josh’s eggplant puree came immediately to mind. I like the components of Pasta alla Norma, but why not dress the pasta with a sort of Eggplant Pesto?

Our late season dry farmed cherry tomatoes are plenty sweet without roasting, feta is more interesting than ricotta salata, and everything is better with a little bacon.


Pasta alla Norma, The Wrong Way

1 Eggplant, roasted and somewhat cooled

2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Oregano Leaves
1/4 cup Toasted Pine Nuts (reserve a few for garnish)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 Tablespoon fresh Mint Leaves, thinly sliced
Salt & Red Pepper Flakes
Splash Olive Oil
Splash Balsamic Vinegar

Feta Cheese, crumbled
Bacon, Cooked and crumbled

1/2 Pound pasta

METHOD:
Heat a pot with enough salted water to cook a half pound of pasta. When it comes to a boil, cook your pasta.
Roast Eggplant in a hot oven (or on a grill) until tender. Peel Eggplant and add to a blender (or food processor) with garlic, oregano, pine nuts. Start pureeing, and add olive oil as you go. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Combine Cherry Tomatoes, Mint Leaves, Salt, Pepper Flakes, Olive Oil, and Balsamic Vinegar. Toss to combine.
Dress pasta with some of the Eggplant puree, loosening with salted pasta water as necessary. (You will probably have too much eggplant puree, but hey, stir in some tahini and you’ve got baba ghanoush!) Plate and make an indentation in center of pasta. Add Tomato ‘salsa’ and sprinkle on Feta, Bacon, and reserved pine nuts.
Serves 2 as a main dish.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Both Mrs Flannestad and I feel like we’ve been fighting off bugs lately, just tired a lot of the time.

Might be allergies, or maybe just restless pets waking us up during the night when the neighborhood raccoons are out.

But a little homemade chicken soup never hurts.

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1 Whole Chicken, Quartered
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Onion, roughly chopped
2 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp whole Black Pepper corns
3 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick

Cover above ingredients with water, bring to a low simmer, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from water and rest until cool enough to handle. Strip chicken from bones, trying not to drop any on the floor, reserve, and return bones, skin, and cartilage to water. Cook as long as time allows. Strain Solids from stock and reserve.

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1 large onion, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, skinned and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder*
1 Pound Sweet potatoes
Reserved Chicken Broth
Reserved Chicken Meat
1 Can Garbanzo Beans
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder*
Olive Oil

Cook onion, ginger and garlic in olive oil until tender with one tablespoon curry powder. Add broth and sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Puree soup with a hand blender, in a blender, or food processor. Return to pot, add chicken meat, remaining tablespoon of Curry Powder, and Garbanzo beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Check seasonings, and serve with a spoonful of Cucumber Raita** in each bowl.

*Curry Powder

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1 tsp Whole Fennel Seed
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek
1 tsp Whole Brown Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 Small Stick Cinnamon, Broken
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Chili de Arbol
1 tsp Ground Tumeric

Toast whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in Coffee Mill or Spice Grinder. Add Tumeric.

**Cucumber and Basil Raita

1 small Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
Tops of 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP Cilantro Leaves, thinly sliced
1 Cup Yoghurt
Orange juice
Salt, to taste

Toss Cucumber with salt and let stand in a colander for a bit. Rinse Cucumber and pat dry with towels. Chop Cucumber and combine with other ingredients. Thin slightly with orange juice, add salt to taste and chill.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Prep.

Prep.

If you looked at the pictures on the Posole Post, you might have noticed that there was more prep on the table than was used in the Posole.

I also made another soup, one I’ve made variations on over the years, Pureed Squash and Apple Soup.

I often make this with Indian spices, Curry and Ginger, but when I mentioned that this time, Mrs Flannestad pointed out that we already had one spicy soup in the Posole, so maybe the second should be mild and simple.

You’ll notice that there is a lot more mirepoix in this soup. If you’re making a vegetarian soup, you always need to up the vegetable content of the soup to make up for the lack of meat flavor components.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

2 Onions, chopped
2 Stalk Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp dried Tarragon
Olive Oil

1 Medium large Butternut Squash, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Cup Dry White Wine or Lillet Blanc
Salt & Pepper

METHOD: Sweat onions, Celery, Carrots and herbs in Olive Oil until tender. Add white wine to deglaze and cook off a bit of the alcohol. Add Squash, Apples, and Apple Juice and cook until squash is tender. Puree in a food processor or blender.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Lastly, for Dessert I made this Guinness Ginger Bread Cake originally from the Gramercy Tavern in New York.

It is delicious and easy enough to make that even a non-baker like me can pull it off.

The use of leavening in a cake is first recorded in a recipe for gingerbread from Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, published in Hartford in 1796; I guess you could say it is the original great American cake. Early-19th-century cookbooks included as many recipes for this as contemporary cookbooks do for chocolate cake. This recipe, from Claudia Fleming, pastry chef at New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, is superlative—wonderfully moist and spicy.
Ingredients

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Special equipment:

a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan

Accompaniment:

unsweetened whipped cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Read More Epicurious Link to Recipe

Chicken Posole

Rancho Gordo Posole.

Rancho Gordo Posole.

The other day I happened to be at the Ferry Building during the day. Since there is a new Rancho Gordo store at the Ferry Building, I couldn’t resist taking a look at the products on display. Technically, I was shopping for Beans to use for Red Beans and Rice on Fat Tuesday, but I had a hard time resisting purchasing Posole.

I used to make Posole for Pasqual’s Southwestern Deli in Madison, Wisconsin back in the day, but I haven’t made it at home ever. Just seemed a little troublesome. Canned Posole kernels suck and the whole soaking and cooking thing for dried fresh hominy is time consuming.

But, we had some folks coming over for dinner, and I figured no time like the present.

I looked at a few recipes for Posole on the Internets, but didn’t see any that were exactly what I wanted to make: Chicken with fresh Poblanos and pureed dried chiles. So, I just sort of went with what I felt like making. FYI, the heat in this is mostly coming from the Poblanos, but they are highly variable. The ones I got this time were pretty zippy, but sometimes they are no spicier than green peppers. If you feel like you need some extra heat, add cayenne peppers either as powder or to the dried chile sauce.

It turned out well, so mostly writing it down here, so I don’t forget what I did, and in case someone who was over wants to make it themselves.

If anyone else is looking for something similar, and feels ambitious, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Posole, Finished

Posole, Finished

Chicken Posole

1 Chicken, Cut into quarters
1/2 Carrot, coarsely chopped
1/2 Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Stalk Celery, coarsely chopped
4 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
4 Sprig Thyme

1 Pound Posole

12 Guajillo Chiles, stemmed and seeded
8 Dried Cascabel Chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 Carrot
1 Onion
1 Stalk Celery
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Olive or other cooking oil

Cooked Chicken Meat, Chopped
8 Small Zucchini, Chopped and sauteed
8 Poblano Peppers, roasted, skinned, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Oregano, Chopped
Salt

Cilantro, chopped
Radish, thinly sliced
Avocado, slices
Lemon or lime wedges

METHOD:

The Day Before: Soak dried posole in plenty of water. Place cut up chicken, onions, celery, carrots, and spices in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a low simmer and continue to cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken meat from bones, cool, and refrigerate. Return bones and skin to pot. Continue to cook as long as time allows. Strain solids out of stock, cool, and refrigerate.

Drain posole and add to large pot. Cover with chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until it begins to be tender, about an hour and a half. When Posole is tender, salt generously.

While you are waiting for Posole to cook: Cover dried chiles with water, bring to a simmer, and cook until rehydrated. Puree cooked chiles in a blender or food processor and run through a sieve to catch seeds or large pieces of chile skin. Reserve chile puree. Sautee zucchini in oil and reserve. Sweat garlic, onions, celery, and carrots in oil until tender. Deglaze with dry white wine or vermouth and add to Posole pot. Add cooked and chopped chicken to Posole pot. Add Zucchini to Posole pot. Add Roasted Poblanos to Posole pot. Add Chile Puree to Posole pot. Simmer over low heat. Serve with Radish, Cilantro, Avocado, and Lemon wedges for garnish. It will be even better the next day. Makes about 5 Quarts.

Roasting Peppers.

Roasting Peppers.

Dried Chiles.

Dried Chiles.

Prep.

Prep.

Posole, Pot

Posole, Pot

Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving 2013

Mrs Flannestad sometimes tires of my relentless experimentation in the kitchen.

I seldom make the same dish more than once. I’m always tweaking.

“Can’t we just have the Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon and Pecans that you used to make?”

So, I gave it my best shot, even though I had no pecans (No Pecan Pie? Thank China, Rain, and Pigs, NYTIMES).

The filling is based on 2 Martha Stewart recipes and the crust from the NY Times. Note, the crust recipe makes enough for 2 pies. Save for another occasion or double the filling and topping.

Pumpkin Pie, 2013

Pumpkin Pie, 2013

Pumpkin Pie, Thanksgiving 2013

Crust:

290 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups), more for rolling out dough
35 grams cornmeal (about 1/4 cup)
35 grams sugar (about 3 tablespoons)
2 grams salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
12 tablespoons butter, unsalted, chilled, and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup Love, I mean LARD, chilled, and cut into small pieces

Filling:
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Half & Half
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Ground Allspice
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 15 oz Can Pumpkin
2 Tablespoons Bourbon Whiskey

Topping:

1/2 Cup Hazelnuts, crushed
1/2 Cup Sugar
Half & Half

METHOD:

1. Make the crust: blend flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening, then pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and blend until dough forms a ball, adding more ice water, a half-tablespoon at a time (up to 2 additional tablespoons), if dough is dry. Divide dough in half, flatten into two round disks, wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.

2. Whisk filling ingredients together until well combined.

3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out one dough round. Transfer rolled-out dough to a 9-inch pie pan and fill with pumpkin mixture. Reserve second dough disk for another use.

4. Place pie in the middle of oven and cook for 35 minutes. Combine hazelnuts and sugar and add half & half to loosen. Spread on top of center of pie and return to oven. Bake for another 20 minutes or until topping if browned and center of pie nearly firm. Cool on a wire rack and serve with whipped cream.

Poor Man’s Cane Rosso

One of my big rules for myself is to buy chickens whole and break them down.

They are usually so much tastier and less dry.

In the summer I usually grill, but in the winter, I roast.

When, I roast chickens, I usually spatchcock them, rub with herbs and olive oil, place them on my oven’s broiling tray, and then convection roast at 375 F.

However, at a couple of Bay Area restaurants, they do a cool thing where they cook their potatoes under the rotiseries where they roast chickens. The potatoes become saturated with delicious fat and meat juices. Mmmmm…

Leaving aside any issues of cross contamination, and a lack of pan gravy, I wondered if I couldn’t do something similar. Anyway, unlike myself, Mrs Flannestad isn’t a big fan of gravy.

Roli Roti Chicken

Preheat your oven to 400F (375F if convection).
Spatchcock and rub your chicken with oil and spices as desired. Cut up your potatoes and toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper. I’ve discovered the potatoes need a bit of a head start on the chicken, so put them in the dripping pan of your broiling rack and place in the oven for 15-20 mins or until they start to cook. After 15 mins, move the potatoes around a bit and then place the chicken on the broiling rack. Put the broiling rack on top of the dripping pan and potatoes. Cook until desired degree of doneness is reached (internal temp of around 150F). Remove chicken to rest. Remove potatoes from pan, scraping to get all the good stuff, carve chicken, and serve with a salad or other vegetable.

Chicken Dinner

For bonus points, serve Persimmon Pudding for dessert with Mitchell’s Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Persimmon Pudding