Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wine-braised brisket with tart cherries and carrots

Every year I host a Christmas Eve dinner with a group of families that have become our adopted family here in LA.  Usually I do fun, different versions of a So-Cal taco feast, but this year I am going to switch it up and make this wine-braised beef brisket.  It's going to be this, my Holiday mashed potatoes (you must try these babies if you haven't already) a bright, zesty salad and voila! - dinner is served.

It's fab for entertaining because you can make it a day or two ahead, if needed, and just reheat it before serving - it will actually be even tastier this way.  The braised meat with the tart cherries is beyond delicious and it also makes for a very pretty presentation.  

If you like short ribs, you will love this recipe - the braised meat is similar but there is much more of it and I actually like it better.  Plus, it's a great way to serve beef to a crowd.  I predict much plate-licking at my house on Christmas Eve! 

Happiest of holidays to you and yours!!

Serves 8

3 to 3 1/2 pound beef brisket
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
1 t. vegetable oil
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
2 whole sprigs of rosemary
3 whole sprigs of thyme
1 c. red wine
2 c. chicken broth

1 c. peeled & sliced carrots
juice of half a lemon
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar
1 t. kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 c. dried prunes
1 c. dried tart cherries

Season entire brisket generously with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat oil until very hot in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Sear brisket until deeply browned and caramelized on all sides - about 10 minutes total.  Remove brisket and set aside.  Wipe out excess fat with tongs and a paper towels, but leave the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.

Turn heat to medium and add onion.  Cook onions 5-7 minutes, stirring often, and then add garlic.  Cook for 1 minute more. Add wine, broth, whole herbs and return brisket to the pot.  (The leaves of the herbs will fall off their woody stems while cooking.)  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover.  Cook 2 hours at a gentle simmer, turning brisket once or twice.

After two hours, add the carrots, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt & pepper, prunes and dried tart cherries.  Stir to combine ingredients in the liquid.  Return to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook another 45 minutes.

Turn off heat, remove brisket and set aside. Remove woody stems left from the herbs.  Spoon any excess fat off the top of the liquid.  Bring the liquid in the pot to a rapid boil and allow to reduce 10 minutes. 

Cut the brisket across the grain into approximately 1/4 inch 

slices - it will be very tender.  Place on a platter and spoon the fruit and sauce on top of the meat.  Serve any extra sauce alongside the meat.  For a pretty presentation, garnish with fresh chopped herbs, if desired. 

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