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Howdy everyone and happy last weekend without football for many, many months. Shit yes!
It is on this note that I have decided that today’s Sunday Gravy will be the last official Sunday Gravy until the Sunday before the Super Bowl. Now now, stop with the tears and the rending of garments. I do plan on posting through out the season I just haven’t come up with a structure for it yet. There is no sense trying to post on Sunday during the season and try to compete with football. Uh-Uh. Not going to even try. I was thinking about maybe posting on Saturdays and doing a quick Vikings game preview and maybe some tailgate/Sunday grilling suggestions. A couple of you mentioned maybe continuing Sunday Gravy but post during a slower time in the middle of the week and I might try that too. Basically what I’m saying is, I plan on having my ass planted in front of the television every Sunday for the next few months just like all of you and I won’t have the time nor the inclination to do one of these when the games are on. I may have mentioned before that these posts are somewhat time consuming to do. I am actually in the kitchen making these dishes while at the same time writing the posts, testing the recipes, taking the pictures and trying to make a few dick jokes at the same time. Shit ain’t easy. I do really enjoy doing them and I’ve been really happy with the commentistary (?) and the feedback from all of you.
Which brings us to this. I am going to break out the big fucking guns for you today. I have shared many of my favorites with you over the last few months but I’m pretty sure this dish gets the most “holy fucks per bite” (actual unit of measurement) of any dish I make. This baby rates from a “medium” to a more “advanced” difficulty mostly because of the time involved. It’s something anyone can do but it’s two days worth of work and the cost of the meat ain’t cheap. I do this only a couple of times a year but sweet Sonny Jesus is it tasty. This should be prepared for a family gathering or special occasion or whenever you want to impress the ever loving fuck out of someone. Today I’m having some of the family over. Two of my brothers, daughter #1, son-in-law and the two grand daughters. I actively recruited some help on the side dishes which freed me up to do the main dish. Daughter One is doing the apple sauce while Brother Two is doing the latkes and I’m doing the brisket. Part of the reason for the get together is for my daughter, son-in-law and grand babies to say good bye to Granddaddy for a few months because they know that during football season I am completely out to fucking lunch. Oh, I’ll see them during the holidays of course but my Sundays are fucking booked!
Slow Roasted Brisket:
I am not Jewish. I will put that out there right away just on the off chance I break the kosher laws during this preparation. I don’t want to piss anybody off. I had a good friend a few years ago who was Jewish and she made the most delicious brisket. It was great because we used to play poker with her and her husband every month and she always had brisket on hand. I think she used a jelly or preserve of some kind in hers because it had a sweet, fruit type taste that worked really well. I’m going straight up savory for mine. I tried a couple of basic recipes and stole an idea here and there and after several attempts I arrived with this. I am more than happy with these results.
1 5 pound brisket, trimmed.
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 large onions, roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 cups of beef stock (you can use the stuff from the store, it’s OK)
1/2 cup of red wine, I’m using a Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon today.
1 tablespoon tomato paste.
1/2 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
Let’s get this out of the way first: brisket is fatty as all hell, there’s no way around that. I do a pretty fair trim of the fat before getting started but don’t worry there will be a couple of more occasions to trim later. I don’t know if you caught the mention up top but this recipes take two days. TWO DAYS! We can and will trim again.
Heat your oven to 375. Place a large dutch oven with 1 tablespoon of oil into the preheated oven for ten minutes. Salt and pepper the brisket well and after the ten minutes are up place the seasoned brisket into the hot pan. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes. While the brisket is cooking start sauteing the onions, yes all of them, in the remaining two tablespoons of oil. Get them a light brown color and cook for about 20-25 minutes. We want these caramelized and a nice rich golden color. When the onions have sauteed, add in the paprika, garlic, salt, pepper and tomato paste. Cook for about a minute until the tomato paste has been incorporated into the onion mixture. Now add in the wine and 3 cups of the beef stock and bring to a gentle boil. Remove the brisket from the oven, reduce the heat to 350 and ladle the onion mixture all over the brisket. Quick safety note, there is a strong burn potential with this baby because you are moving around big hot pans with molten substances in them while taking them in and out of the oven. Did I tell you this because I burned my finger during this stage? Yes, yes I did dammit. It’s also why I have an aloe plant growing on my balcony. Cover the baking dish with a lid that is partially askew and cook in the 350 oven for 3 1/2 – 4 hours. You will baste the brisket every hour or so and make sure the liquid level doesn’t get too low, if it does add more beef stock.
After enduring up to four hours of outright olfactory torture you can now remove the brisket from the oven. But you don’t get to eat it! HA! Not until tomorrow. Let it cool for an hour, remove the brisket from the pan while scraping the onion mixture off of the brisket and back into the pan. Wrap the brisket up in aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. Take the leftover onion, fat, juice mixture and place into a covered dish and also refrigerate overnight.
Drink many adult beverages, watch some games, drink some more, play some air guitar and get some sleep.
Next day preheat the oven to 350. Remove the brisket from the foil and trim as needed. If you’ve worked with brisket before you know that it’s separated into two parts, the lower part or the “flat” is the leaner denser part while the top part or “cap” or “point” is a little fattier and a little more flavorful. If you wanted to just slice the whole thing straight thru both parts you certainly could or if you want to separate the two sections down the middle you could do that too. This will also give you a chance to trim more if you would like. Don’t remove all of the fat! Fat is a delicious flavor. Slice thick or thin depending on preference, I would do some thicker some thin and figure out which you prefer when you are done. Slice up all of the brisket. Put the slices back into the dutch oven that you probably just finished washing.
Remove the onion mixture from the fridge and skim off the fat. It will be right around this moment when you will realize that you spent an entire day cooking something that is roughly 20% fat. You can high five yourself now. Once you removed the fat from the mixture add enough beef stock, if you have any left over or even some water to equal about 3-4 cups. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Heat this newly created onion gravy up in a saucepan until bubbly and pour over the brisket slices. Put the entire thing back into the oven and cook for about 45 minutes.
Hey! You can have some now.
3 large russet potatoes peeled
1 medium onion
2-3 eggs slightly beaten
2-3 tablespoons flour (or matzo meal for authenticity)
oil for cooking, we will use a mix of melted butter and olive oil
Place a bowl on the counter and grab your grater, using the larger opening on the grater grate a potato over the bowl, grate part of the onion, grate another potato, grate a little more onion, grate the last potato and the last of the onion. Get another bowl and a paper towel and press out the excess liquid from the potato onion mixture into the other bowl. Let that liquid stand for a couple of minutes and carefully pour out the liquid at the top of the bowl and try to keep the sticky potato starch at the bottom of the bowl, add this back into the potato mixture along with the eggs and the flour. I want to explain the vagueness with the 2-3 eggs, 2-3 tablespoons of flour. The recipe isn’t hard and fast and guaranteed. Some times you will add another egg, sometimes you may need a little more flower. The guide line is not too thick not too thin. How is that for fucking vague? Just try it a few times and see for yourself. Once you’ve added the proper amounts of egg and flour, mix the ingredients together and let rest. You can even make a day in advance if you want. When ready to go, heat up some oil in a skillet and make some damn pancakes. The burning question I’m sure is driving everyone insane is; what is the difference between a latke and a potato pancake? Not a goddamn thing! Just the language used. Cook the latkes about 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and delicious. Cover the cooked latkes with a paper towel. If you are making a bunch you can keep these warm in a 200 degree oven until they are all done. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.
Applesauce: in Daughter One’s own words