Monday, September 14, 2009

Kosher Beef Bourguignon (a.k.a. Rosh Hashanah Brisket!)

Someone said to me recently that I should think about kosher-izing Julia Child's famous beef bourguignon recipe, which has bacon in it. But when I looked on the Internet for the recipe, I realized that beef bourguignon really includes most of the flavors of what us Yids know simply as brisket. It's perhaps not on the Shabbat table every Friday night, beef costs being what they are these days, but it's certainly something that graces the table on special occasions, like Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

So here's a way to fancy up your brisket recipe this year. I like add some layers of flavor to meals on the Chagim anyway, to make the holiday more special. A few simple additions to a basic brisket recipe can really dress it up and add that Julia Child-esque flair. I suggest adding red wine and fresh thyme to your regular brisket recipe, which you can certainly leave out if you want that traditional brisket taste. I also did not include tomato paste when I cooked mine, but it is certainly a welcome staple that adds a lot of traditional flavor.

Also, another major difference between brisket and beef bourguignon is that beef bourguignon is usually identified by the beef cut, which is in stew-like chunks. And of course brisket wouldn't be brisket if it weren't sliced very thinly, and as always, against the grain.

1 top of the rib beef brisket (1/2 pound uncooked per adult)
5 shallots or 2 large onions (chopped)
3 parsnips (roughly chopped)
3 carrots (roughly chopped)
3 cloves garlic
2 cups beef stock or beef broth (low sodium preferred)
2 cups red wine (burgundy or a similar deep ruby red wine: I used a Teal Lake Petit Verdot/Cab mixture, because of the price point and because I personally don't use it as a drinking wine, but think it's great for cooking).
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
5 oz. can of tomato paste (or tomato sauce, or chopped tomatoes)
1 cup frozen or canned pearl onions
1 box baby bella or sliced portobello mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste

Saute your onions or shallots in a large deep pot with garlic. Add your meat and brown it on both sides, until there is a crust but not burned. Remove the beef and let it sit while you add your chopped parsnips, carrots and let them infuse some flavor and color. Then add back your meat, and add your beef stock, wine, thyme, bay leaf and tomato product. Simmer on the stove, covered for one hour. Transfer the pot to the oven (at 300 degrees for a least two hours). Make sure it's tightly covered. About half an hour before it's done, take the meat out and slice it and add it back to the gravy. Add your mushrooms and pearl onions and return the whole thing to the oven for at least a half hour.

Bon Appetit!

P.S. The longer brisket sits on a hot plate, the softer and more moist it becomes. That's why it's a perfect dish for a holiday meal!

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