Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brisket of Beef with Fingerling Potatoes and Maple-Glazed Carrots

I am quite serious when I say that this is the easiest dinner you will ever make. If you have any qualms about your skills in the kitchen, put them to rest and put these recipes to work for you.  They virtually cook themselves.  There’s a brisket of beef that requires chopping and slicing some onions, and turning the meat a couple of times and that’s it.  Honestly.  With it, a recipe for fingerling potatoes from Alex Guarnaschelli, the chef at Butter and a frequent visitor on Food Network TV.  This is so simple, it will amaze you at how much taste you’ll get out of the potatoes.  Finally, maple-glazed carrots that are poached, buttered and glazed in all of about 10 minutes.  Buy something store-bought for dessert, crack open a bottle of Cabernet and astonish all your friends at your cooking prowess.  And I'll even show you how to make the most delicious sandwich from the leftovers.

If you live in New York, you may think of Brisket of beef as being the ultimate in Jewish cooking.  Brisket is traditionally served as a holiday main course for Rosh Hashannah and Passover and it’s part of many a Shabbat supper the rest of the year.  The brisket recipe I’m giving you today even gave my friend Jay Feinberg’s grandmother’s recipe a run for the money. But it didn’t come from a Jewish kitchen. Its author hailed from Mississippi and he started quite a revolution in cookbooks.
In 1983, Lee Bailey published two seminal cookbooks: “City Food” and “Country Weekends”.  Although Lee called himself a designer, he was also a masterful entertainer and he knew everyone—myself included.  One look at the Acknowledgements that accompanied “Country Weekends” was a look into Who’s Who of the 80s in New York.  From Nora Ephron to Liz Smith, Lee Bailey befriended the bold-faced and pretty much everyone else as well.  He owned a Design Shop in what was then Henri Bendel’s wildly fashionable store on 57th Street.  He had great style and great taste.  And he brought the Lifestyle cookbook into being. 
Lee’s books were beautifully photographed.  “City Food” was very sleek, modern, bling-y and looks quite dated now.  “Country Weekends” looks as fresh as ever, thanks to the timelessness of its subject matter.  There are picnics on docks and on beaches, lunches in the open air--everything looking not just beautiful, but attainable.  Lee Bailey's books were a huge success.    And you can still buy them—as a matter of fact, right here.

This recipe is from "Country Weekends" and it really is effortless. Please share this with anyone who says they can't cook.  

Allow 3 hours to cook the brisket—about 10 minutes of which will involve actually doing anything.  Put the potatoes in a casserole along the way.  About a half an hour before you are going to serve dinner, put the potatoes in the oven, make the incredibly easy Horseradish Cream, glaze the carrots and that’s it. You’re done. Dinner for 4 was never so easy.

Recipe for Braised and Potted Brisket of Beef

Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
4 lbs of first-cut Fresh Brisket of Beef
1 tsp. fresh Thyme leaves (no stems)
4 large sweet onions (2 chopped to medium dice, 2 cut into slices)
1 cup red wine.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Salt and Pepper the meat generously. Put it, with the fat side facing  up into a Dutch oven in which the meat fits tightly. Sprinkle with half of the thyme and pack the top with the chopped onions. Cover and put into the oven.  Turn after 1 hour.
  3. Add the balance of the thyme and more salt and pepper and continue cooking for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  4. Put the onion rings or top and add the red wine. Cover tightly and cook for an additional 45 minutes. It should be fork tender.  When serving, slice against the grain of the meat and spoon gravy over the meat.  Serve with horseradish cream.

Recipe for Horseradish Cream:

½ cup Sour Cream     
2 tbsp. Bottled Horseradish

In a bowl, combine sour cream and horseradish.  Stir. Serve

Recipe for Fingerling Potatoes:

1 1/2 pounds small fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
Pinch coarse sea salt – very important
15 bay leaves
     4 tbsp. unsalted butter

  1. Add the potatoes to a casserole with a fitted lid that is just big enough to hold the potatoes. Toss them with some sea salt and the bay leaves. Cover the casserole and put in the center of the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. When the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, remove the casserole from the oven and discard the bay leaves.
  3. Add 4 tbsp. butter to casserole, return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

2 bunches of carrots, peeled and trimmed
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. Maple Syrup

  1. Put the carrots in a saucepan and fill it with cold water to cover.
  2. Turn heat on burner to high and cook carrots 8 to10 minutes.
  3. Turn heat down to medium, drain carrots, add butter and when it is melted, add maple syrup.  Swish carrots in syrup.  Serve.

About those leftovers....Here's that sandwich I promised you...

Slice some crusty peasant bread into 1/2 inch slices.
Toast bread lightly, then top with a swipe of mayonaisse
and a couple of slices of brisket. 
Cut some whole milk mozzarella cheese into thin slices
and top the sandwich with them.  If you have some crumbled
bacon, you can also top the sandwich with that.
Broil in the toaster over or broiler.
Set sandwich on a bed of arugula tossed in olive oil.  Serve at once.


  1. A friend sent this along but didn't know quite how to post it. So I'm doing it for her! And a sincere thank you to LT for it! Monte

    "I made this brisket for Gary's birthday dinner, it was awesome and it took every fibre of our collective beings NOT eat it all in one sitting. I added a slew of sliced torpedo shallots to the onion rings, just because I had them, and I don't think it hurt the recipe one bit.

    Please note, I have an allergic reaction to onions, in that they make me groggy/sleepy..,,,.which can be dangerous if we're road-tripping and I'm driving and I forget to ask the waitress to hold the onions. In this case, after chopping all those onions and sliding this into the oven, I fell asleep and woke up 2 hrs later and thought OH the brisket! But it was totally fine, I just added a bit more wine to the pot than your recipe called for, and went back to sleep for another hour. So tell everyone this recipe is so easy you can sleep through it."

  2. recipe for horse radish cream never heard of but did copy it. question what would be the acompaning dishes with it ?