Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baked Beef Brisket with Gems of Fruit

On Rosh Hashanah, it's customary to enjoy sweet dishes in hopes of a sweet year.  This Rosh Hashanah, we enjoyed this baked brisket with a sauce full of sweet, dried gems of fruit.  This brisket is a delightful variation on the traditional baked brisket.  It makes a beautiful presentation for guests and is surprisingly easy to prepare for family.  You can bake the brisket the day before and finish off the dish with the sauce the next day.

My husband was very serious about how his brisket was carved and would always take issue with a restaurant that didn't slice it properly.  He was right....if it's not sliced against the grain, it becomes stringy and a whole different piece of meat that isn't nearly as good as when it's properly cut.

                                              Perfectly Sliced...
                                             How Sweet It Is!

Adapted from Atlanta Caterer Annette Marcus' recipe, Jeweled Beef Brisket, as published in the AJC 9/15/09

Serves approx. 6


The Brisket
  • 3 lbs. flat cut beef brisket, butcher trimmed
  • 4 TB dry onion soup mix (one 1 oz. envelope)
  • non-stick cooking spray  
  • 2 c. warm water
The Sauce with Gems of Fruit
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3 TB firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 TB grated lemon rind (takes about 2 or 3 lemons--reserve 1/2 of a lemon for juice)
  • 1/3 c. honey (I use whipped clover honey--fancy pure white honey--Kroger has a good price on their brand)*
  • 3 TB orange marmalade*
  • 1 TB lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 TB brandy (or 1/2 tsp. brandy extract)
  • 1 (12 oz.) can or bottle of beer
  • 1 c. (6 oz.) dried, pitted plums
  • 1 c. (6 oz.) dried apricots
  • 1 c. (about 1 oz.) dried apples
The Garnish
  • Sprigs of either rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley or similar fresh herbs
For easier release, wet your measuring utensils with cold water before measuring sticky ingredients such as honey or marmalade.


The Brisket
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Pat the brisket dry with a paper towel on both sides.  Lay the meat onto an 18" x 24" sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, fat side down, and sprinkle with the soup mix.  Bring the foil up around the brisket and wrap in a tight package.
  3. Coat the inside of a roasting pan with the cooking spray.  Pour the warm water into the pan and place the brisket package into the pan.  Cover the pan tightly with the lid to the roaster or a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Bake for 3 hours or until a meat fork slides easily in and out of the meat.  Remove the brisket from the oven.
  4. Transfer the hot brisket package from the roaster onto a shallow baking pan with sides. Carefully open the package, as steam will escape, and remove the brisket to a large, shallow container and let it rest.  
  5. Pour accumulated natural gravy into a large measuring cup and cover.  Chill the gravy in the refrigerator so the fat will rise to the top.  Cover the brisket and chill in the refrigerator also.  For best results, keep the brisket and the gravy overnight in the refrigerator.  Otherwise, let the meat cool completely in the refrigerator before carving.
The Sauce with Gems of Fruit

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Worcestershire sauce, ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon, pepper, lemon rind, honey, marmalade, lemon juice and brandy.  Stir in the beer.  Gently fold in the dried plums, apricots and apples.  Set aside.

Return To The Brisket
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Remove the natural gravy from the refrigerator and discard the fat that has risen to the top.  Set aside.
  3. Transfer the brisket onto a carving board.  Slice the brisket against the grain into desired thickness, keeping the original shape of the brisket best as possible. (Carving brisket against the grain is very important.  For cutting ease and uniformity of slices, I prefer using an electric carving knife, and I like to carve the meat into about 1/4" thick slices.)
  4. Using a large spatula in each hand, and maintaining the brisket's original shape best as possible, carefully lift the carved brisket and place it into a small roasting pan.  Pour the sauce with the gems of fruit and one cup of the natural gravy over the meat.  Cover the pan tightly with the lid or a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  5. Place the brisket in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until thoroughly heated.
  6. Remove the brisket from the oven.  Lift the meat from the roaster, here again, keeping it's original shape best as possible, and place it onto a serving platter.  With a slotted spoon, scatter the fruit over the brisket and cover with the sauce from the pan, reserving some of the sauce to serve on the side.  Garnish the platter with your choice of fresh herbs.

I wish those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a very Happy New Year...L'Shanah Tovah!  Sorry I didn't get this post up in time for your Rosh Hashanah dinner...maybe you'll try it next year.  It's so good, it still makes a great fall and winter dish and definitely a wonderful company why wait!  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chili with Character ~ No Beans or Beans and Tailgates!

Football season is here and that means need some chili with character!  With terrific seasoning and coarsely chopped vegetables, this chili is full of character and the best I've ever had!  I've adapted this recipe from one introduced to me by my daughter a while back.  (She has a propensity for recognizing a good recipe when she sees one!)  I've cut the original recipe in half for family meals; but if you want to make it for a tailgate or large crowd, just double it.

My family is accustomed to an all-beef chili, so I didn't use beans or sausage.  However, if you would like to add Italian sausage or chili beans, just check out the original recipe:  Boilermaker Tailgate Chili I also exchanged the green chile peppers (click here for the different varieties and heat of green chile peppers) for jalapeno, which gives the chili just enough bite for most people without being too spicy.  In other words, you can just make this chili your own!  (Keep it easy and use your food processor for the vegetables.) 

Prepare the chili on the weekend, and you can enjoy it throughout the week for lunch or dinner. You could double the recipe for a tailgate, or double and freeze half of it for another family meal later!  For even more fun, add my Dixie Girl Makes Yankee Cornbread (which freezes well also)!

                                           I'll Just Sneak A Little...
                                         Before That Tailgate!
Serves 6

  • 1 lb. ground beef chuck (or lean ground beef--chuck will offer the most flavor)
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can premium diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 oz. (1/2 of a 6 oz. can) premium tomato paste (hint: freeze by the TB leftover tomato paste)
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned & coarsely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, cleaned, cored, seeded & coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, cleaned, cored, seeded & coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, cleaned, cored, seeded & minced
  • 1/2 TB bacon bits
  • 2 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1/4 c. beer
  • 1/8 c. chili powder
  • 1/2 TB Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 TB minced garlic
  • 1/2 TB dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™ sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar

Suggested Garnishes and Sides

  1. Over medium-high heat, in a 4 qt. or larger stock pot, brown the ground beef with the onion, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon as you go.  Drain any excess grease. (With the lean ground beef, if there's any fat at all, you may want to keep it for flavor.)
  2. Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.  Add the celery, green and red bell peppers, jalapeno, bacon bits, bouillon and beer.  Season with the remaining ingredients.  Stir to blend, cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  
  3. Adjust the salt, pepper and chili powder to taste (I like the recipe just as it is!).  The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste.  Enjoy hot...refrigerate leftovers; freezes well.
When you're not tailgating, do you let everyone just dish their chili from the stove, or dish it for them in bowls?  Or do you place it on the table, or serve it on a buffet?  However you serve your chili, everyone will have fun choosing their favorite goodies from garnishes and sides served in individual dishes. (A lazy susan would be nice for this.)

By the way, do you enjoy your chili on nachos, a salad, a hot dog, or a baked potato?  Or like me:  Just give me a big bowl of chili...

                                              With All The Goodies...
                                            And I'm A Happy Chick!

Printable Recipe