Monday, December 13, 2010

So..Brisket it is!

As it seems, the majority of readers are looking forward to a deliciously robust, holiday Brisket. The poll results don't lie. Never mind the caviar, truffles or edible gold, a good chunk'a'meat ought to do it!
We have roughly 18 people in town for Christmas eve dinner. Traditionally, our family always throws a party on Christmas eve, and Christmas day is a more mellow affair. We'll be buying our 10+ pound brisket from Charles' Meats - my favourite abattoir. I'm planning on using one of Lucy Waverman's recipes, titled "The Ultimate Brisket," from her latest cookbook called Friday Night Dinners. About a year ago, I had the chance to meet Lucy, and she told me that her book's style was the comforting, family style dinners with Jewish and Arabic influences. The brisket is coated in a fragrant mixture of fennel and coriander and dried herbs and slowly cooked over a 2-3 day process. It is braised in a rich mixture of tomato, soy sauce and stock. I made it last year for Christmas Eve, and the unique flavour combination has been tugging at me all year, begging to be made and enjoyed all over again. I was secretly hoping it would win this week's poll. And I'm so glad you all agreed with me :)

Lucy's Ultimate Brisket

2 tablespoons cracked fennel seeds
2 tablespoons cracked coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
5-pound brisket
Kosher salt to taste
2 cups sliced onions
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken or beef stock
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Combine fennel seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns. Sprinkle over fatty side of the brisket, then salt to taste.
Place in a roasting pan, cover with foil and a lid if you have one and roast for 4 hours.
Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle the onions into juices, replace foil and return to oven for 1½ to 2 hours, or until meat is very tender and onions are soft.
Remove brisket from pan and reserve. Skim fat from juices and discard.
Place roasting pan on stovetop over high heat. Stir tomato paste into onions and juices. Add stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Carve brisket against the grain and reheat sliced brisket in the sauce when needed. Serves 6.

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