Why did the brisket cross the road?

by Lauren Mote

Well if it was up to this “piece of meat” I am sure it would’ve been quite content to stay all cooped up in the Urban Fare “beef display” but unfortunately I had bigger plans for this little guy… he was called brisket, and gosh darn-it, he was going to be delicious.

So to answer the original question, the brisket didn’t cross the road as it has no legs, but I certainly helped by carrying the bag across Pacific Blvd.

The brisket crossed the road to meet a fabulous recipe by Iron Chef Michael Symon, delicious side dishes, and an apartment filled with hungry people for an “untraditional Thanksgiving Dinner” – we will pay our “thanks” to the brisket. The Jewish Mama’s Cookbook, that housed my original brisket recipe, before she was overthrown by the Iron Chef, explained the importance in keeping the oven on and the “brisket-a-braising” for at least 12 hours. Yikes.

At home, my new pet brisket was introduced to its recipe, along with salt and pepper, and then after 20 minutes, it made new friends with red wine, chicken stock, mirepoix, and bay leaf. As it braised away in the hot oven for 4 hours, I realized that this is unconventional for a couple of reasons: who makes brisket on Thanksgiving, and who starts making brisket at 7:30 with aspirations of dining at 11:30? We are the stranger ones of the restaurant industry… we celebrate no matter what, even if that means when the last addition to dinner finishes work at 11:15. Night hawks. I recall an instance in Toronto making steak au poivre and mashed potatoes at 11:30. This kind of thing just happens.

Along with our buddy-brisket, a root vegetable gratin, made with heavy cream, garlic, butter, emmenthal cheese, freshly grated nutmeg, sweet potatoes (not to be confused with the orange yam impostors – I am using white tubers), celery root and russet potatoes. This is going to be great – cream is reduced in a large pot with garlic, butter and the thinly sliced root vegetables – using a mandolin or similar culinary device is the best choice, unless you have a steady hand, consistent slices and no chance of “boredom”, as you’ll be standing here for a while. Once all of the water in the cream has evaporated, add your cheese. Stir just to combine, and make sure that your root vegetables are cooked (they should be tender at this point – doesn’t take long when the slices are this thin). Transfer to a pre-buttered baking dish, about 2 inches deep, and toss into a hot oven. After about 15 minutes set the over to a hot broil and brown the top – now it officially becomes a “gratin”.

Vegetables are required – thinly “julienned” brussel sprouts, double-smoked bacon, sherry vinegar and butter – that sounds perfect.

We ended up on a high note – the dinner was homely, delicious and really, really late; 12:30. Wow. It was worth the wait, and happily there are no leftovers; Thanksgiving at our place become giving thanks to our brisket, and all his fixings. But if only it were that simple: brisket is untraditional to some, but to others Thanksgiving is spent the following day at a birthday party, celebrating the 28th year of cousin Vanessa, with bacon wrapped scallops, seared salmon, scalloped potatoes and ice-cream cake –  it may be ridiculously untraditional, but I welcome the change and the experience!

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About Lauren Mote

Lauren has been an intricate part of the food industry for many years. Whether it’s behind the bar, in the kitchen, tasting and learning about wine, or sitting with her laptop writing food stories and reviews at the local coffee house, it was clear at an early age that Lauren’s professional and personal life would be completely consumed by the joy and passion of edibles.
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