12/01/17

Mexican Beef Brisket

Mexican Beef Brisket

Brisket is easy to cook and great to have on hand for a comforting winter meal. The chipotle chiles add a pleasant mouth-tingling sensation that is not at all overpowering. Serve this beef brisket with smashed potatoes for a special holiday supper. It reheats beautifully for sandwiches and weeknight suppers. For sandwiches, reheat thinly sliced beef brisket in its sauce.

Serves 6

3 1/2 pounds beef brisket
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
flour for dredging
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 medium onions, chopped
10 garlic cloves, peeled
3 dried chipotle chiles
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 quarts chicken stock or water
5 bay leaves
salt to taste
1 cup Pickled Red Onions, (see recipe below), for garnish
4 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sprinkle the brisket with coarse salt and pepper. Dredge in flour to coat and shake off any excess.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Sear the meat until browned on all sides, and remove. Reduce the heat to moderate and add the carrots and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes longer. Return the meat to the pan along with all the remaining ingredients except the salt and garnishes. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2 1/4 hours, or until the meat slips off a fork when pierced.

Lift out the brisket and place on a cutting board. Cover with a damp towel. Pour the broth with the vegetables into a tall container and skim off the layer of fat that rises. Remove and discard the bay leaves and chiles. Pour the broth and vegetables into a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree until smooth, add salt to taste and strain. Reheat the sauce.

Slice the brisket against the grain and arrange on a platter. Pour the warm sauce over it, sprinkle with pickled onions and sliced scallions and serve.

Pickled Red Onions

Makes 5 1/2 cups

1 pound red onions, thinly sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon roughly chopped cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 beet, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 8 wedges

Place the onions in a medium saucepan and pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat. Strain and set the onions aside.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Add the blanched onions and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a container, cover, and refrigerate at least a day before serving. Pickled onions will keep in the refrigerator up to a month.

12/01/17

Squash and Carrot Bisque

Carrot and Squash Bisque

Photo: Lance Booth

Makes 10 servings

1 kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut in half, seeds removed (acorn, butternut, delicate are also fine)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika (sweet, spicy or smoked: to your taste)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 thyme sprigs
4 cloves garlic
2 medium onions, sliced (about 2 cups)
5 cups fresh carrot juice, from the refrigerated section
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup Spiced Pepitas (see recipe), for garnish
Crispy Flour Tortilla Flatbreads (see recipe), for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat squash halves with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle with the paprika of your choice. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil with cut side facing up. Place garlic cloves and thyme sprigs in each seed hollow. Roast until completely tender and lightly browned in spots, about 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Discard thyme stems, keeping the leaves and carefully scrape flesh away from skin. Discard skin.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until completely tender and nicely browned, about 15 minutes total. Add cooked squash flesh (discarding the skin) along with garlic cloves and thyme leaves. Stir to combine. Add carrot juice and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, skimming and discarding the foam. Remove from heat and blend until smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve piping hot, garnishing with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon Spiced Pepitas per bowl and Crispy Flour Tortilla Flatbreads.

Spiced Pepitas

Makes 1/2 cup, 10 servings

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
A pinch of cayenne, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup raw pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds), unsalted
In a small bowl, combine lime juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir until dissolved. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pepitas and toast, tossing frequently, until seeds begin to expand and turn a light golden color. Add seasoned lime juice and stir well to coat all seeds. Remove from heat and cool in the pan. Serve at room temperature.

Crispy Flour Tortilla Flatbreads

Makes 10

2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 12-inch flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Dissolve salt in lime juice, and then stir in paprika, cayenne and oil.

Brush 1 side of each tortilla with oil lime mixture. Cut each tortilla into 8 to 10-inch long, thin triangles with a sharp knife. Bake until crisp and lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes total. Transfer to racks to cool.

12/01/17

Tomato Pudding

Tomato-Pudding

Photo: Ariana Lindquist

This simple, savory side of baked tomatoes, bread, and cheese is a colorful and comforting addition to the holiday table.

1 (1-lb.) loaf country bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons roughly chopped thyme
1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes in purée, crushed by hand
1 (16-oz.) can tomato purée

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, place soft bread, brown sugar and melted butter.

Pour out cans of tomato puree and tomato soup into bread mixture. In each empty can, pour about 1 tablespoon of warm water to rinse out the can, then pour water into bread mixture.

Using your hands or a spatula, gently mix everything together until thoroughly combined. Pour into casserole dish and bake for 1 hour. Serve immediately.

11/16/17

Turkey Tamales with Fresh Cranberry Salsa       

Turkey Tamale

These tamales are the perfect dish for spicing up your Thanksgiving leftovers. Turn leftover dark turkey meat, orange yams, and caramelized onion into light fluffy tamales topped with a crisp cranberry salsa.

Makes 10 to 12 tamales

1 package dried corn husks
1 cup richly flavored chicken stock, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds ground masa for tamales, chilled
1/2 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
1 pound orange yams, cut into 1/2-inch dice, seared in butter until lightly golden and fork tender, chilled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, julienned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 to 2 roasted turkey thighs, shredded, about 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Fresh Cranberry Salsa (see recipe), for serving

Soak the dried corn husks in hot water, weighted with a plate to keep husks submerged, 2 hours or overnight.

Mix together chicken stock, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Place the masa in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle and beat at medium speed until light in texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly add the chicken stock mixture, while beating continuously at medium-high speed. Turn the mixer speed up to medium high and add the lard or vegetable shortening, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating and scraping down the bowl until mixture is light and fluffy, about 15 minutes total. Test for lightness by dropping one tablespoon of masa into ice water: If it floats, the mixture is light enough. If not, continue beating at high speed a few minutes longer.  Gently fold in the chilled, seared, diced yams.

Meanwhile, heat butter over medium heat in a sauté pan and add julienned onion and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook stirring often until limp and slightly golden.  Add shredded turkey and parsley, taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Cool to room temperature.

To make the tamales, spread 1 large or 2 small corn husks on a counter, with the narrow end pointing away from you. Leaving 2 inches bare at the top, spread about 4 tablespoons of the masa mixture over the center and one side of husk. Top with turkey mixture. Fold the side covered with masa over to enclose the filling and fold over the bare side of the husk.  Fold the top down and place on a square of foil. Wrap to enclose. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

To cook, line a steamer with corn husks and fill with tamales. Steam over simmering water for 1 hour, or until the husks just pull away from the masa without sticking. Unwrap tamales and serve hot topped with Fresh Cranberry Salsa.

 

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