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Simplicity, Brisket and Wine

September 8, 2013 27 comments

I recently came across the post by The Food and Wine Hedonist, where he was talking about the fundraiser party he cooked for. One of the dishes he made was beef brisket sandwiches (I think the name “pulled beef brisket” should be the most suitable). In the comment to that post, I mentioned that beef brisket is one of my favorite dishes to make, and promised to share the recipe in the near future.

Beef brisket is one of the traditional dishes on the menu for Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year which we celebrated a few days ago, hence I took the opportunity to take a few pictures and share the recipe.

One of my favorite things about cooking beef brisket is simplicity (this is why “simplicity” is a part of the title). The simplicity is associated with the cooking of beef brisket in many ways – it is both simple to prepare and simple to cook, with virtually no possibility of ruining it.

The recipe I’m talking about here is a dry rub based (there are many ways of cooking the beef brisket, of course). Basically, the cooking consist of a few simple steps – rub the brisket with spices ( anything goes!), wrap in foil, refrigerate overnight, take it out, put it in the oven for 6-7 hours at a low temperature, get it out and enjoy. That’s it. If you want a bit more details, here it is

  • Prep time – 10 minutes, cooking time – 3 – 6 hours
  • Beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat, any size – size will only be essential for the cooking time
  • Dry rub spices – anything your heart desires – garlic powder, chipotle, chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, etc – again, the amount should be proportional to the size of brisket
  • Dry fruit – dried apricots, figs, prunes
  • optional – baby carrots,
  • 1/2 to the whole bottle of red wine (can be replaced with broth or just water) – amount depends on how much brisket you are cooking.
  • cooking time – 45 min per pound, 300F

Cooking instructions: Take brisket, trim excessive fat. Rub with any spices or spice mixes you desire (see picture below – yes, I know, I went a little too far), wrap in the foil, refrigerate overnight. Take the brisket out of the fridge about 2 hours before cooking, just to let it warm up. Preheat oven to 300F. Take a cooking pan, put dried fruits and carrots (if using) on the bottom. Unwrap the brisket and put into the pan, fat side up. Add wine ( or any liquid you are using) – you need it to prevent brisket from drying up during the long cooking time. Cover baking dish with foil and put into the oven. Cook for about 45 minutes per pound. Take out of the oven periodically and braise the brisket with cooking liquid. When done, let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut brisket across the grain with the sharp knife. Serve with boiled potatoes or any other starch of your choice. Additionally, if you made too much brisket, you can use leftovers to make pulled brisket sliders – break it apart using fork or fingers, add BBQ sauce and put it on the buns.

Now, below are the same cooking instructions in the form of pictures:

Beef brisket, excessive fat trimmed

Beef brisket, excessive fat trimmed

Spices for dry rub - anything you have in your pantry

Spices for dry rub – anything you have in your pantry

Briket in the foil, covered with rub

Brisket in the foil, covered with rub

wrap completely in foil and refrigerate overnight

wrap completely in foil and refrigerate overnight

prepare the pan with dried fruit on the bottom

prepare the pan with dried fruit on the bottom

Put in brisket, and put more dried fruit on top. Add wine

Put in brisket, add dried fruit on top. Add wine

6 hours later ...done! Brisket is ready for your enjoyment

6 hours later …done! Brisket is ready for your enjoyment

I don’t know what you think, but this is a really simple recipe as far as I see it.

And of course there was wine:

wines

Recanati and Vitkin

Twice a year, my wine selection conundrum ( what to open, what to open) is resolved with ease – for Passover and Rosh Hashanah, the choice is simple – it should be an Israeli wine. This year I opened two bottles, from two well-known producers – Recanati and Vitkin.

2008 Recanati Red Wine – I don’t read Hebrew, and this wine came directly from Israel, so there is not a thing I can tell you about the grape composition of this wine. Red fruit on the nose, a touch of warm spices on the palate, some blackberries and plums, tannins are barely noticeable, medium finish. Okay wine, but really nothing special. Drinkability: 7

2006 Vitkin Cabernet Franc (14% ABV, 86% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petite Verdot, aged 14 months in small oak barrels) – outstanding. You know, some wines you define as “a lot going on”. And some wines demonstrate singular perfection. This Cabernet Franc wine had this singular perfection – Cassis all the way. A perfect bouquet of Cassis on the nose. Same on the palate – luscious, soft and rolling mouthfeel (this wine is unfiltered), pronounced Cassis notes with an addition of dark chocolate, supple tannins, firm structure and cutting acidity in the back, perfectly balanced, with the long finish. Definitely belongs to the “dangerous wines” category. Drinkability: 8+

And we are done here! While the wines might be difficult to find in the US (but Vitkin is definitely worth asking for by name), I hope that at least you can put a brisket recipe to good use. If you will decide to make it, drop me a note – I will be really curious to know what do you think. And until the next time – cheers!

Daily Glass: Kosher Wines and Other Updates

September 11, 2010 Leave a comment

As promised, here is an update on the Kosher wines we had during the Rosh Hashanah celebration. Starting with white, the first one was wine with a tricky name Chateneuf, coming from Bordeaux in France. This wine made out of the Semillon and Muscadelle grapes and stated to be semi-dry. When chilled to the ice-cold condition, the wine does show as semi-dry, but as it had some off flavor, borderline corked, so I would simply avoid rating this wine now.

The next wine came from Israeli producer called Teperberg. In one of the previous posts I already talked about Teperberg Malbec. This time we had a bottle of Teperberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – it was a nice wine, showing some good Cabernet Sauvignon flavors, like black currant and blueberries, but appearing a little weak on the palate. Still, the wine did drink well, so here is the verdict:

Drinkability: 7

Last, but definitely not least is Vitkin Carignan 2004. Vitkin is one of the best Israeli wine producers – but its wines are literally unavailable outside of Israel. Quick search on wine searcher produced no results for the USA, and even worldwide search showed Vitkin wines available only in one store in Germany, at least as it comes to buying the wine online. Therefore, you need to rely on your good friends in order to enjoy Vitkin and many other small production Israeli wines outside of Israel. This Vitkin Carignan 2004 showed deep purple color, very nice nose of spicy fruits and then showed pepper and earthy notes on the palate with layered complexity. Judging by the tannins and midpalate density, I opened this bottle about 4-5 years too soon, but oh well, I will have to rely on my dear friends in the hope to experience this wine again (hmmm, did that just sound needy?).

Drinkability: 8-

Talking about “other updates”: I undertook a small project of compiling a list of highly rated wines I kept the records of in my books (for more information regarding my record keeping you can refer to the About page), and this list is now available in the Wine Ratings page. This list comprises 8- and above rated wines, accumulated starting from 2003 (this is when I started keeping the labels and the notes) all the way until now. Take a look, I’m sure you will see some familiar names. I’m sure some wines in that list will raise an eyebrow or two – but I decided to simply comb through the books, find everything rated 8- and above, and not to second-guess myself. Subject of wine ratings will make it into a separate post I’m planning to write for a while, so until then – cheers!

Shana Tova and a Question: What Wine Will Be On Your Table Tomorrow?

September 7, 2010 3 comments

Tomorrow many of us will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Wine is (could you guess?) one of the important traditional elements of the Rosh Hashanah table.

I remember that about 10 years ago, if anyone would be talking “Kosher wines”, 9 out 10, if not more often, the only Kosher wine available in US would be Manishewitz, barely drinkable fruit juice. Today situation is soooo different. Israel produces tremendous number of great wines (absolute majority are Kosher) from various mainstream grapes, such as Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and more. Today Israel has its own boutique wineries, which have status similar to the California cult wineries, such as Screaming Eagle, Colgin and others – if not yet in price, definitely in availability. Try to find wines from the wineries such as Flam, Domaine du Castel, Yatir or Vitkin – and if you will succeed, make sure you will taste them as you will be very thankful you did. But even the mainstream Israeli wines, coming from the wineries such a Dalton, Galil Mountain, Benyamina, Tishbi, Yarden and many others (Israel has more than 200 wineries at this point), which are readily available in your neighbourhood wine store, will make a great addition to any table.

So what wine will be on your table tomorrow? If you didn’t decide yet, make an effort, find one of the Israeli wines and let me know how did you like it. If you plan to have any other wine, I’m still eager to know what will it be. And even if Rosh Hashanah is not your holiday, get your friends together, share the bottle ( wine meant to be shared!) and raise the glass to life.

L’chaim!

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