"It's About Time: Great Recipes for Everyday Life," the first book from award-winning Boston chef Michael Schlow, is filled with sophisticated recipes that are surprisingly easy for cooks at home to pull off.
The book is divided into eight "times," or moods, such as "How to Get the Family Together" and "Time to Look Like a Pro." Recipes are accompanied by a brief essay from Schlow.
Red Wine-Braised Brisket With Mushrooms, Tomato and Rosemary
This brisket is good home cooking at its finest. It is one of those ultimate comfort foods -- everyone around the table will feel safe and secure when they taste it. All is good in the world tonight.
The recipe can be prepared several days ahead, and the brisket freezes beautifully. It's nice to have things like this tucked away for those days when you really don't feel like cooking. Serve it with just about anything: potato puree, buttered noodles, more vegetables.
When slicing meats, always try to cut across the grain of the meat, and remember to let the meat rest a few minutes (or more) before you slice into it. Why? As meats finish roasting, their juices are rolling around like boiling water in a pot. After the meat rests briefly, the juices cool and settle into place, attached to the strands of protein in the meat. If you let meats rest after cooking, the juices will not leak out onto the counter when the meat is sliced. They will stay put, making the meat more flavorful, juicy and tender.
Note: Choose a pan with high sides for this recipe. It must be deep enough to hold the brisket, the vegetables, and the sauce. You also have to remember where you stashed the lid to the pan, or you can cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
1 large brisket (3 to 4 pounds) trimmed of excess fat
Salt and pepper
½ clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 onion, cut into medium dice
1 large carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 stalk celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup flour
2 cups red wine
28 ounces canned Italian peeled tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup quartered large button mushrooms
Preheat oven to 300° F.
Put the olive oil in a roasting pan or a large, ovenproof sauté pan and place over high heat. Season brisket generously with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, gently sear the meat on all sides until good and golden brown. Remove meat from the pan and set aside on serving platter.
Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, still on high heat.
Add the rosemary and a bit more salt and pepper. Add the butter and cook until melted.
Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the red wine, raise the heat to high, and cook for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan so the ingredients do not stick.
Add the tomatoes, crushing them a bit with your hands -- yes your hands -- as you put them into the pan. Add the chicken stock and the quartered button mushrooms, and stir everything around the pan.
Return the brisket to the pan and cover with the lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven and braise gently for 2 to 3 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the liquid is not boiling.
The meat should be very tender, almost "falling off the bone," and the sauce will have thickened slightly. Turn off the heat, but leave the pan undisturbed inside the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the meat to a cutting board, slice across the grain into thin slices, and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with the sauce and vegetables from the pan and serve.
Recipe from "It's About Time," by Michael Schlow