April 19, 2006
Bad Brisket! Bad!

Spiced_Brisket_Apricots_jf.jpgI know, I know. I should have just used my mom's recipe for brisket this Passover. But I wanted to try out some of the recipes in the Bon Appétit (that is why we get a subscription isn't it?) so I pulled the following recipe after being drawn in by the picture.

I don't know if we've every steered you away from making something here on our website, but in the spirit of full disclosure, not every last thing we make turns out to be Restaurant Quality. Part of the problem was that the cut I had was extremely uneven, resulting in a piece of meat that was tender (more or less) in some areas and tough in others. That you can probably avoid, but the sauce, in my opinion, was very disappointing. It was just too winey and one-dimentional. The only part I really thought was good were the apricots, so maybe next year I'll throw some of them into my mom's recipe.

And Meg, because I know you're wondering what I'm doing with a meat recipe, we have a Cultural Exception to the vegetarian kitchen. It's Passover, so you got to have brisket and matzo ball chicken soup (that recipe, worth making, to be posted soon).

So, anyhow, try this at your own risk (my less-than-appetizing photo itself ought to turn you off). Others at the table liked it (so you may too), but I had been cooking for about three straight days so they probably knew better than to criticize anything.

Spiced Brisket with Leeks and Dried Apricots

2 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 4 1/2- to 5 1/2-pound flat-cut (first-cut) brisket, well-trimmed

2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
24 whole dried apricots, divided
10 garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 Turkish bay leaves
2 cups dry red wine

1 tablespoon matzo cake meal

Chopped fresh cilantro

Stir first 8 ingredients in small bowl. Arrange brisket in large roasting pan; spread spice mixture evenly over both sides. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat broiler. Uncover brisket. Broil until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Turn brisket fat side up in pan.

Set oven temperature to 325°F. Sprinkle leeks, onion, 12 apricots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves around brisket. Pour wine over. Cover pan with heavy-duty foil and bake brisket until tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Uncover; cool 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer brisket to work surface. Pour juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat, reserving 1 tablespoon. Thinly slice brisket across grain on slight diagonal; overlap slices in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 cup degreased pan juices over brisket; cover with foil. Stir reserved 1 tablespoon fat and matzo cake meal in medium saucepan over medium heat 3 minutes. Add remaining degreased pan juices; add remaining 12 apricots. Simmer until sauce thickens and boils, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover brisket and sauce separately and chill.) Rewarm covered brisket in 350°F oven 30 minutes or 45 minutes if chilled. Rewarm sauce over low heat.

Sprinkle brisket with cilantro and serve with sauce.

Posted by Justin in Bogotá at April 19, 2006 11:06 AM Print-friendly version

Justin, I guessed there was an exception to the meatless rule - Barrett and the Redhead have a few too. (Including the When Meg is In Town And Wants A Steak At Gibson's rule, which allows Barrett to also order a big thick juicy steak - yay!) I have to say that the recipe sounds very tasty, so I can understand why you were tempted into trying it. I've had mixed results from the epicurious site myself. Over time I've come to the conclusion that it's a good place to look for inspiration (apricots) but not necessarily for recipes. Seems like you are in the same place!

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 19, 2006 at 1:56 PM

It sounds so good, I know. To me, it's a shame that all those spices get overpowered by the wine. Maybe I'd be happy if I used a cup of wine and one of broth?

Posted by Justin on April 19, 2006 at 2:46 PM

Justin, I made another brisket recipe that I found on a popular food website. It was entitled Wine Braised Brisket and is one of Wolfgang Puck's recipes. I just had to replace the flour with matzo meal for Passover. It was elegant, tender and delicious and everyone raved about it.

Posted by donna on April 19, 2006 at 5:33 PM

Oh, this is an easy one, DER. How come you didn't call?

There's no WAY IN HELL a brisket will be any where near done that soon. Can't happen.

Please redo the recipe as shown, knock the temp to 300 and cook for no less than 5 hours for a 6lb brisket. 6lbs is maybe half of a full brisket.

It's like pot roast, it can't be done in 2.5 hours or even 3. Sorry. They lied.

How do I know? Because of the wine and the toughness of the meat. If it was done correctly, all flavors would have mellowed and you wouldn't have cooked all the fat out of the brisket.

Feh, you're doing fine.

Let me know how the second one comes out.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on April 20, 2006 at 9:12 PM
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