Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And in this corner............

With Passover and Easter coming up, one can't help but have a few jitters; there is the family anxiety and there is the food anxiety.  Will Uncle Fester show up and fall asleep in the soup, or Auntie Grace bring that detestable puce colored jello mold and expect you to eat every bit on your plate........it's all in store for many of us, as we invite family to celebrate a holiday.  Sometimes holiday dinners may look like this....

Rather than this.....
As I tell my students, I can help you with the food anxiety, but you will need medication and therapy to help with the family anxiety.  Just think of it this way, you only see these people a few times a year; take the time to enjoy the moment, we never know what the future will bring.

As I said yesterday, I wanted to share a few do-ahead recipes for you to try this Easter---they are tested, and work every time, so I'm confident that your holiday meal will be a great one.  If you are celebrating Passover, this is a dynamite brisket recipe, serve it with rice, or noodles to soak up the sauce.

Braised Brisket with Dried Fruits
 Serves 8
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Dijon mustard
\¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
One 3 to 4-pound beef (first cut or flat cut) brisket, trimmed of as much fat as possible
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large sweet yellow onions sliced thinly
2 teaspoons dried thyme
½ cup red wine
½ cup beef broth
1 cup dried figs, cut in half
½ cup dried plums cut in half
½ cup dried apricots, cut in half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, mustard, and brown sugar.   
  2. Pat the mixture onto the brisket. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat, and brown the brisket on each side.   
  3. Remove the brisket from the pan and add the onions and thyme sautéing for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are softened. 
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine and broth, swirling the pan and bringing the liquid to a boil.   
  5. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker insert, top with the dried fruits and the brisket.  Cover the insert and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is fork tender.
  6. Remove the brisket and fruits from the insert, cover with and pour the liquid into a saucepan or saucier.   
  7. Remove any excess fat from the top of the sauce.   
  8. Bring the liquid to a boil, and add the cornstarch, stirring until it returns to a boil.  Taste the sauce for seasoning and correct with salt and pepper if necessary.  
  9. Remove any fat from the brisket, and slice the brisket thinly against the grain.  Serve the brisket surrounded with the fruit and napped with some of the sauce, serving additional sauce on the side. 

 I'll be back with some more ideas tomorrow, until then enjoy your evening. 

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