Archive for February, 2010



12
Feb
10

El Gaucho Steakhouse


Walking into El Gaucho Steakhouse, (4102 18th Avenue; Brooklyn, New York 11218; Telephone: 718.438.3006) brought back many fond memories from my childhood in Montevideo, Uruguay. The authentic decor, the food, the aromas… ah…

A detail of the wall mural

The meal consisted of some favorites from my childhood and adolescent years… yeap, these dishes were just as good as I remembered them… maybe even better!

I started out with their Empanada Casera de Carne. A turnover with beef and criolla sauce and a salad. It has a crispy exterior, and a very flavorful interior.

I followed with a Chorizo Parillero.

Chorizo Parillero and the authentic ambiance at El Gaucho Steakhouse

It was juicy and very aromatic!

For the main I ordered their mock Filet Mignon.

Filet Mignon

This cut is made from the eye of the ribeye, I ordered it medium. It was served with potato puree and mushroom sauce, garnished with minced scallions and mixed vegetables.

For dessert, I ordered their cake of the day.

Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

It consisted of a hot molten chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream with chocolate topping. A fitting crown for a meal filled with memories and tastes of yesteryear. A true delight for decadent pleasures!

I washed it all down with a very good 2006 Layla Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.

El Gaucho Steakhouse has a well stacked cellar with a nice selection of Argentine, Italian, American, French, Israeli and Australian wines, all kept at the proper temperature.  Mr. David the owner got his education in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have a large Argentinian parrillador (grill) on premises and the Chef himself is from Argentina.

The food was delectable, the memories came flooding amidst the decor and the aromas… I’ll be back!!

CS

12
Feb
10

Valentine’s Day Specials


T Fusion Steakhouse (3223 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, NY 11234 — Telephone 718.998.0002 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              718.998.0002      end_of_the_skype_highlighting). is extending their Valentine’s Day Special Prix Fix Menu through Tuesday, the 16th of February.

Chicken Lollipos

“Valentine’s Day Menu”

Please select one from each course:

STARTER

House Salad
Mixed greens, tomatoes, Julienne cucumber, carrots, onions topped with balsamic

Roasted Beet Salad
Arugula, roasted beets, red pepper, candied walnuts, and granny smith apples with cider vinaigrette dressing

Chicken Lollipops
Corn flake crumb crusted chicken drumsticks served with sweet & sour sauce

ENTRÉE

Cowboy Steak
(16oz)Bone-in prime rib cut with cowboy seasoning served with house fries & Garlic

Roasted Chicken
Half roasted chicken, slowly cooked, served with rice and mixed garden vegetables

Fillet Salad
Sliced filled steak strips served over romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and avocado topped with honey mustard dressing

Pan Seared Salmon
Served with fresh lemon and homemade yellow rice

DESSERT

Red Velvet
Layers of red velvet and non-dairy cream cheese Valentine’s Day cake

Duo Fondue
Perfect for the couple: array of fruits, and sweets for chocolate dipping

Chocolate Soufflé
Freshly baked and served with ice cream

Sorbet
Raspberry/ Strawberry/ Fresh Mint

$55 per Person plus Tax & Gratuity

Valid Until Tuesday Feb. 16th, 2001

***Complimentary Glass of Wine & Chocolate Covered Strawberries**

T Fusion Steakhouse
3223 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, NY 11234 — Telephone 718.998.0002

12
Feb
10

Luscious and Pareve Lemon Bars


Easy, but delicious recipe. The grandkids loved it and so did my own sweet tooth! I just had to reprint it from from the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts Pro Baking and Pastry Professional Program blog.

CKCA director Jesse Blonder recently took this gorgeous picture of the Pro Baking and Pastry class’s lemon bar creations. Such a picture deserves applause, and everyone who has seen the photo is asking for the recipe. So here is the CKCA version of the incomparable lemon bar.

Dough:

3 cups unsalted margarine
2 and 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 pint pasteurized egg substitute
1 egg yolk
2 whole eggs
7 cups flour

Cream the margarine and powdered sugar. Combine all egg products, and slowly add to the creamed sugar mixture and incorporate. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour. Do not overmix.

Dust a pan with flour, cover with parchment paper, and pack the dough with your fingers into the pan evenly and refrigerate for at least one hour. Prick the surface with a fork and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.

Filling:

8 eggs
2 and 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
11 fluid oz. lemon juice
5 fluid oz. almond milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Whip the sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the pastry flour, then add the liquid ingredients and salt. Pour the filling into the baked dough, and bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, until set. Cool, and then dust with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

It was easy to prepare and tasted great. We decided to make them again, for this Shabbos. Based on Tuesday’s experience, I know we’ll enjoy them

CS

10
Feb
10

Mike’s Bistro


Mike’s Bistro (228, West 72nd Street; New York, NY 10023; Telephone: 212.799.391) is an elegant eatery serving wholesome, delicious gourmet fare. SYR and I recently enjoyed a great evening there.

SYR started with a delicious Portobello and Arugula Salad which came with Ceasar style dressing, drizzled with a port wine reduction, red onions, enoki mushrooms and fresh chives. The combination of two types of mushrooms and the port wine was incredibly flavorful.

I had a Beet Salad.

Beet Salad

It was made with roasted and marinated beet, shaved endives, chervil, candied walnuts, fresh orange slices and beet vinaigrette. It looked great and tasted better! I liked the contrast soft beets and the harder walnuts.

At Richard, the waiter’s, suggestion we then shared a Hawaiian Ahi and Citrus Crudo.

Hawaiian Ahi in Citrus Crudo

This Hawaiian tuna comes with shaved fennel and a citrus salad. Not only were the colors artistically combined, only a master chef using the freshest ingredients could have made such a perfect dish.

She followed with Braised Boneless Short Ribs

Braised Boneless Short Ribs

The ribs came with a barbecue glaze, cauliflower, and potato mash, braised kale, cilantro, and celery root sauce. Tender, juicy and full of flavor!

I had the Slow Roasted Lamb Chops.

Slow Roasted Lamb Chops

It came with freshly combined ratatouille, black bean puree, meyer lemon zest, aromatic spicy oil and cilantro. Flavorful and Juicy! Absolutely delicious!

SYR capped the meal with their Sorbet Sampler which came with a superb blueberry and cream, an interesting citron, an excellent raspberry, a great mango and very good passion fruit. I had the Sour Cherry, Bread Pudding. It comes with cherry and vanilla sauce, citrus segments and vanilla ice cream. Sweet without being overpowering, just perfect!

There are restaurants where the presentation is far better than the food’s taste, there are others where the taste is great but the presentation is mediocre. At Mike’s Bistro the presentation and the dish’ taste are just right!

CS

Mike's Bistro on Urbanspoon

***UPDATE***

Mike’s Pizzeria Italian Kitchen (654 Amsterdam Ave; New York, NY 10025; Telephone:212.362.0700) will now offer fresh Sushi, FOR DELIVERY ONLY. Not the gimmicky type of rolls that look great yet give you nothing, but wholesome, healthy, fresh, nutritious sushi rolls. Call them, you won’t regret it!

09
Feb
10

Enjoying your Wines – Part 3 – Storing


What is the appropriate method for storing wine?

If wine doesn’t sit around long in your house, you don’t worry about storing it. But maybe you want to take advantage of your wine shop’s cheaper-by-the-case policy, or you’ve come into a few bottles of good wine that need aging. If so, it’s time to make some decisions about storing your wine.

First, you have to understand what you are trying to accomplish. How much and what type of wine are you going to store? Where are you going to store it? How often do you buy wine? How often do you drink wine?

Careful storage will be rewarded with a better wine when it is finally opened.

Temperature, light, humidity and vibration all affect how a bottle of wine matures. The longer a bottle is kept, the more impact those factors will have.

Temperature

Storing at too cool a temperature will retard maturing, while storing at too warm a temperature will accelerate it. Keeping the temperature consistent is also critical. Changing the temp levels will affect the wine’s aging process.

Light

Long-term exposure to light can accelerate aging and even damage the wine.

Humidity

Humidity comes into play in keeping the cork moist. Too dry an environment will dry and shrink the cork, permitting air to seep into the bottle.>

Vibration

Bottles shouldn’t be disturbed in any way as they age. Vibration interferes with the biochemical process of aging.

You should consider all four of these factors when choosing the appropriate method for storing your wine.

Start by storing wine on its side. Except for screw-cap bottles, which can be kept upright, this benefits any wine, whether you drink it soon or hold onto it for years.

Bottles should be stored or stacked on their side to keep the cork moist, thus fully swollen and airtight, avoiding oxidation

To reduce vibration and to secure bottles on their sides, even a casual wine drinker may want to invest in a wine rack. Wine racks can be small and simple or large and elaborate. The size should depend on how many bottles you intend to store, as well as where the rack will sit. Keeping bottles in a wine rack in a shadowy corner of the den or in a closet is fine for a few weeks, but bottles stored long term need temperatures that are cool and consistent.

Wine should be stored between 53 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit In some areas of the country this can be achieved by storing bottles in a cool, dark basement. In Florida, though, that means refrigeration. Wines need to rest peacefully and that can’t happen in an environment that is constantly being disturbed. The best solution is a refrigerator engineered specifically for storing wine.

Aaron Zimmerman

[Mr Zimmerman owns and operates Liquors Galore, 1418 Avenue J (between 12th and 13th Streets); Brooklyn, NY 11230-3702; Telephone: 718.338.4166. The above post is part of a multi-part series we’ll be posting once a week on these pages]

RELATED POSTS

Enjoying your Wines – Part 2 – Tasting

Enjoying your Wines Part 1 Buying

07
Feb
10

2010 Kosher Restaurant & Wine Experience – The Event


Last week Monday, February the first, Pier 60 at the Chelsea Piers in Manhattan hosted the Royal Wine Corporation’s organized the 2010 Kosher Restaurant & Wine Experience. Restaurants, a caterer, a supermarket, a salsa manufacturer presented some of their food creations while dozens of wine producers from around the world showed off  their potables.

Some of the early crowd, a couple of hours before the the 6:30pm general admission

In the back of the room in the photo above, behind the restaurants, between two glassed walls and directly overlooking the Hudson River Nesher Caterers (4023 13th Ave; Brooklyn, NY  11218-3501; Telephone: 718.437.3631). Their huge display sporting chairs and tables consisted of a full fare with many choices of appetizers, fish, meat, salads and desserts. The food was delicious and I walked away convinced Nesher should be a natural choice for anyone’s simcha.

Pomegranate had a huge display I sampled all their meat selections, the Heimische Brisket however was among the best I ever tasted. Juicy, tender and oh, so flavorful!

Abigael’s, Carlos & Gabby, China Glatt, Cho-Sen, ClubHouse Cafe, Colbeh, Dougie’s, El Gaucho Steakhouse, etc steakhouse, Fumio, Glatt A La Carte, Le Marais, Noah’s Ark, Nesher, Noi Due, Tevere. were the restaurants represented at this venue. Each eatery, offered tantalizing samples of some of their favorite dishes.

While most preferred posed shots, I opted for candids…

Hard at work, warming up some of those delectable Cho-Sen Lo-Mein Noodles

Jose Mireilles, owner of Les Marais and Clubhouse Cafe, taking orders...

I discovered some delicious salsas at My Brother Bobby’s Salsa booth, their recently introduced Bruschetta topping was superb. It’s no wonder they won so many accolades in various upstate fairs. Valerie and Robert Gropper, the owners, are a very energetic couple with an infectious – yet fully justified – enthusiasm for their excellent products. Their fresh products include: Original Red Salsa, Tropical Black Bean Salsa, Hot Tomatillo with Corn Salsa and Bruschetta topping. Selected “Best Bruschetta 2008″ and “Best Salsa 2009″ by Hudson Valley Magazine.

Giving out samples, talking product

If I can ever find these products in Brooklyn or Manhattan I’ll have to do an in-depth review. They tasted great!

There were more than 200 wine selections from around the world, the French Collection by Pierre Miodovnick attracted a lot of attention. I sampled two white sweet ones, 2001 Chateau Piada and a 1999 Chateau Guiraud, made from grape from the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux.

The Chateau Piada – from Semillon grape – was sweet, luscious and full flavored, with a long, lingering finish. I could see it being served with full flavored cheeses and sweet desserts. The Chateau Guiraud was even better as it also includes some Sauvignon Blanc, which made it less sweet and more delightful to my palate.

For a dry French wine I tried a 2003 Chateau Pontet-Canet Paulliac, it has an intense color, strong on the nose with blackberries, rapberries well balanced with liquorice and other wooden tones. It’s made up of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. This one will certainly occupy a place of honor in the pantheon of the best wines I’ve ever tasted!

There were some Israeli wines that I also liked, notably a 2006 Petit Castel, 2006 Yatir Cabernet Sauvignon (quite fruity and with subtle vanilla tones), Alexander Gaston Reserve (40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 30% Shiraz), the 2006 Alexander Syrah (90% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) and, of course, my all time favorite Israeli wine… 2005 Benyamina The Cave!

Before leaving I attended a session by Pierre Miodovnick where he explained about the great wine producing chateaus and their wines. After him, Jay Buchsbaum explained some wine terms and how to read a wine label.

Pierre Miodovnick, Jay Buchsbaum

This event proved informative and delicious, I can barely wait until next year!

CS

SIMILAR POSTS FROM AROUND THE WEB

Thoughts and Musings on the 2010 Kosher Restaurant & Wine Experience

05
Feb
10

Le Marais


For the last 15 years, Le Marais has been the yardstick by which all other kosher restaurants are measured, I’ve been there a few times over the years but this time I was determined to speak with José Mireilles. I wanted to understand what makes a good successful restaurateur.

The restaurant has its own full service butcher shop on premises, where the meat is always fresh and the cuts European in style. As a confirmed carnivore I find it hard to pass by without looking over the meat showcase. It affords me a glimpse of the superb dishes to come.

Monsieur Mireilles is Portuguese, he came to this country at the age of 24 to travel for a couple of years before going back to Portugal. Instead he stayed on, graduated from the famed French Culinary Institute and opened various successful restaurants.

I started lunch with Belgian Duvel draft beer, served European style – at room temperature and with over a half inch of head, So unlike the standard American way of no head and chilled. The differences in flavor are appreciable. This beer clings to the glass in almost a marbleized pattern. Outstanding flavor!

For my first dish, I had a Salade de Bettraves.

Salade de Bettraves

It consists of marinated beets with range salad. While I’ve never been a huge fan of beets, these were deliciously juicy and interplayed nicely with the orange pieces for a perfect combination of flavors.

I followed this with Les Rillettes du Boucher.

Les Rillettes de Boucher

Homemade duck and veal spread are cooked together for a long time, then shredded and mashed to a paste, delicately flavored, delightful to the taste! Simple but elegant presentation, designed not to dazzle you visually but merely to enhance the taste experience.

For the main course I had La Surprise.

La Surprise

The cut came from the deckel of the ribeye. This is the steak that every kosher meat restaurant tries to imitate, so far I found the original’s the best! The steak was tender and juicy, the frites crispy, flavorful and lacked the greasiness so characteristic of some other establishments. The salad had a subtle but delightful vinaigrette dressing.

I finished the meal with a delightful dessert, Ananas Caramélisée.

Ananas Caramélisée

Caramelized pineapple with coconut mousse. W hat an amazingly delicious combination!

When I’m at a restaurant, I write down my taste impressions as I eat. There was so much to write about each dish here, about the restaurant itself…  Both José Mireilles and Chef Mark Hennessey’s, passion for food perfection is all too obvious.

The meal amidst an elegant French décor was a memorable one, it’s easy to understand why Le Marais is the standard everyone else is measured by.

CS

Le Marais on Urbanspoon

03
Feb
10

Enjoying your Wines – Part 2 – Tasting


What is the “Right Way” to taste a wine?

Learning how to taste wines is a straightforward adventure that will deepen your appreciation for both wines and winemakers. Look, smell, taste – starting with your basic senses and expanding from there you will learn how to taste wines like the pros in no time! Keep in mind that you can smell thousands of unique scents, but your taste perception is limited to salty, sweet, sour and bitter. It is the combination of smell and taste that allows you to discern flavor.

Look: Check out the Color and Clarity.

Pour a glass of wine into a suitable wine glass. Then take a good look at the wine. Tilt the glass away from you and check out the “color” of the wine from the rim edges to the middle of the glass. What color is it? Look beyond red, white or blush. If it’s a red wine is the color maroon, purple, ruby, garnet, red, brick or even brownish? If it’s a white wine is it clear, pale yellow, straw-like, light green, golden, amber or brown in appearance?

Still looking? Move on to the wine’s opacity. Is the wine watery or dark, translucent or opaque, dull or brilliant, cloudy or clear? Can you see sediment? Tilt your glass a bit, give it a little swirl – look again, is there sediment, bits of cork or any other floaters? An older red wine will be more translucent than younger red wines.

Smell

Our sense of smell is critical in properly analyzing a glass of wine. To get a good impression of your wine’s aroma gently swirl your glass (this helps vaporize some of the wine’s alcohol and release more of its natural aromas) and then take a quick whiff to gain a first impression.

Still Smelling. Now stick your nose down into the glass and take a deep inhale through your nose. What are your second impressions? Do you smell oak, berry, flowers, vanilla or citrus? A wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics. Gently swirl the wine and let the aromas mix and mingle, and sniff again.

Taste

Finally, take a taste. Start with a small sip and let it roll around your tongue. There are three stages of taste: the Attack phase, the Evolution phase and the Finish.

The Attack Phase, is the initial impression that the wine makes on your palate. The Attack is comprised of four pieces of the wine puzzle: alcohol content, tannin levels, acidity and residual sugar. These four puzzle pieces display initial sensations on the palate. Ideally these components will be well-balanced one piece will not be more prominent than the others. These four pieces do not display a specific flavor per se, they meld together to offer impressions in intensity and complexity, soft or firm, light or heavy, crisp or creamy, sweet or dry, but not necessarily true flavors like fruit or spice.

The Evolution Phase is next, also called the mid-palate or middle range phase, this is the wine’s actual taste on the palate. In this phase you are looking to discern the flavor profile of the wine. If it’s a red wine you may start noting fruit – berry, plum, prune or fig; perhaps some spice – pepper, clove, cinnamon, or maybe a woody flavor like oak, cedar, or a detectable smokiness. If you are in the Evolution Phase of a white wine you may taste apple, pear, tropical or citrus fruits, or the taste may be more floral in nature or consist of honey, butter, herbs or a bit of earthiness.

The Finish is appropriately labeled as the final phase. The wine’s finish is how long the flavor impression lasts after it is swallowed. This is where the wine culminates, where the aftertaste comes into play. Did it last several seconds? Was it light-bodied (like water) or full-bodied (like the consistency of milk)? Can you taste the remnant of the wine on the back of your mouth and throat? Do you want another sip or was the wine too bitter at the end? What was your last flavor impression – fruit, butter, oak? Does the taste persist or is it short-lived?

After you have taken the time to taste your wine, you might record some of your impressions. Did you like the wine overall? Was it sweet, sour or bitter? How was the wine’s acidity? Was it well balanced? Does it taste better with cheese, bread or a heavy meal? Will you buy it again? If so, jot the wine’s name, producer and vintage year down for future reference.

Why do I need to let my wine “Breathe”?

The whole concept of letting wine breathe, or aerate, is simply maximizing your wine’s exposure to the surrounding air. By allowing wine to mix and mingle with air, the wine will typically warm up and the wine’s aromas will open up, the flavor profile will soften and mellow out a bit and the overall flavor characteristics should improve.

Which Wines Need to Breathe?

Typically red wines are the ones to benefit most from breathing before serving. However, there are select whites that will also improve with a little air exposure. In general, most wines will improve with as little as 15-20 minutes of air time. However, if the wine is young with high tannin levels, it will need more time to aerate before enjoying. For example, a young cabernet Sauvignon will likely require around an hour for proper aeration and flavor softening to take place. Not that you cannot drink it as soon as it is uncorked, but to put its best foot forward give it more time to breathe. Mature wines are another story all together. These wines will benefit most from decanting and then will only have a small window of aeration opportunity before the flavor profiles begin to deteriorate.

Some erroneously believe that merely uncorking a bottle of wine and allowing it to sit for a bit is all it takes to aerate. This method is futile, as there is simply not enough room (read: surface area) at the top of the bottle to permit adequate amounts of air to make contact with the wine. So what’s a Wine Lover to do? You have two options: Decanter or Wine Glass.

Decanter – use a decanter with a wide opening at the top to pour your bottle of wine into. The increased surface area is the key to allowing more air to make contact with your wine. Keep this in mind while setting up proper “breathing” techniques for your favorite wine.

The Wine Glass – Pour your wine into wine glasses and let it aerate. This is certainly the low-maintenance method and typically works quite well. Just be sure to keep the glass away from the kitchen commotion, while it breathes in peace. A good tip for pouring wine into glasses make sure that you pour into the center of the glass with a good 6-10 inches of “fall” from bottle to glass to allow for further aeration during the actual pour.

In general, the Aeration Rule of Thumb: the more tannins a wine has the more time it will need to aerate. Lighter-bodied red wines that have lower tannin levels, will need little if any time to breathe.

How do I know if my wine is “corked”?

Fresh picked blueberries, juicy peach, toasted vanilla bean, or mold, which one does not belong? The first three flavors are great descriptors for wine; unfortunately, the last one is a pretty accurate descriptor for a corked bottle of wine. Nuances of mildew, no matter how slight, are an indication of TCA, a bleach-loving mold that infects corks and bottling facilities. As revolting as a corked bottle can taste, TCA starts out as a loss of fruitiness with no ill flavor. So that highly recommended, highly disappointing bottle may still be a great wine, just not the one you opened.

Even though it tastes like it could kill you, you can drink the wine. A faint cardboard flavor can be tolerated when the wine is still tasty enough to drink. When you encounter a bottle that is too far gone don’t dump the wine down the drain. Pour it back into the bottle, put the cork back in, and return it to the store where you purchased it. Retailers get credit for bad bottles of wine. Some experts estimate that one bottle in twelve is tainted with TCA. Just because one bottle has it, doesn’t mean that another bottle from the same case does too. TCA mold takes effect by coming in contact with the wine in the bottle. Mold on the top of the cork is usually not an indication that the bottle is corked.

Aaron Zimmerman

[Mr Zimmerman owns and operates Liquors Galore, 1418 Avenue J (between 12th and 13th Streets); Brooklyn, NY 11230-3702; Telephone: 718.338.4166. The above post is part of a multi-part series we’ll be posting once a week on these pages]

RELATED POSTS

Enjoying Your Wines – Part 1 – Buying

03
Feb
10

Practical but Delicious!


Chef Jeff Nathan is a celebrity in his own right. Yet… like his first, this second cookbook is not only easy to follow, unpretentious in tone, but above all, the results are delicious!

Cooking for the family, even on a normal weekday, is fun again. Yes, the recipes are kosher but they have that international flair that only someone of Chef Jeff Nathan’s caliber, imagination, mastery of the mysteries of food preparation and understanding of the delicate flavor nuances of the various ingredients, could produce.

I’ve tried many of these book’s recipes and liked them, to pick one as an example here is not easy. I’ll find something that illustrates how well the New Jewish Cuisine has become a superb blend of the old traditions and the newest trends.

The recipes in this book have a relatively short cooking time, yet their tastes are not compromised. Everything we’ve tried was delicious!

So… what to choose to feature on this pages? I’ve tried the soup recipes like the Tuscan Vegetable Soup, the Chilled sweet Pepper and Pineapple Soup, the Sherried Cream of Mushroom Soup, any of these easily attests to the author’s passion for food.  But… I am basically a carnivore to the core, I will therefore give you one of the many mouthwatering meat recipes here.

Since hardly anything is more heimisch than a good brisket, I chose the following… heimisch yes, but with a twist. As I always liked cooking with wine or liqueur, this one’s is my newest favorite:

Brisket with Port Wine and Mushrooms Sauce

Makes 7 to 10 Servings

Tender melt-in-your-mouth brisket is one of my favorite dishes to serve to friends and family. Every time I make it home I make it differently. My latest version simmers the meat in rich port wine with lots of mushrooms, so much the better for a deep, dark sauce that is made for pouring over noodles. It’s a waste of time to make only a three pound brisket, so this recipe makes enough for precious leftovers. If you have the time, make the brisket the day ahead, which makes it easier to to slice thinly.

3 tablespoons canola oil
Two 3-pond first-cut beef briskets, trimmed
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
8 garlic cloves, halved
13/4 cups tawny or ruby port
2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced or quartered, depending on size
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat at 325° F

2. Heat the oil in a very large, deep Dutch oven over medium-high heat.One at a time, add the briskets and cook. turning once, until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a platter.

3. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the port, mushrooms, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in a pot with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes. Return the briskets and any pieces on the platter to the pot. Add enough cold water to barely cover the briskets and bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and bake until the briskets are fork-tender, about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

4. Uncover and let the brisket cool in the pot. Cover and refrigerate until the next day.

5. Scrape off and discard any hardened fat on the on the surface of the cooking liquid’ Transfer the briskets to a carving board and slice thinly across the grain.

6. Meanwhile bring the cooking liquid to a boil over high heat. Taste, and if the flavor needs concentrating, boil for a few minutes to evaporate excess liquid.

7. Whisk the flower and water together in a medium bowl to dissolve the flour. Whisk in about 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Whisk this liquid into the pot.. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the the sauce thickens and has no raw flour taste, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the sliced briskets to the sauce, and simmer until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot with the sauce.

Enjoy, we certainly did!

CS




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