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Braised Brisket, Roasted Beet Salad

BRAISED BRISKET

Reheating time: 7-10 minutes

When you think of brisket, you probably think thick slabs of smoked beef. Well, we’re here to change that. Once upon a time, while strolling down a rainy street in New York, I popped into a cozy restaurant for a drink and a bite. The restaurant was called Terroir, a little wine bar nestled into the east village. To give you an idea of how much I liked the meal, I ended up working there. They poured me a glass of really nice sherry, and I ordered the braised beef with polenta. It was a revelation. The kitchen (if you could call it that) was basically a few induction burners, a toaster oven type thing, and some low boy refrigerators. I had to ask the cook what was going on here. He simply replied, brisket. Braised brisket. Since then, I have converted to shreddy brisket. Yes, if you have a smoker and about 14 hours of idle time, smoked brisket cannot be beat. But, when you want something warm and homey, braised brisket is the way to go. You’ll see. Get in there!

For the beef:

We reduced the braising liquid down and reincorporated it into the shredded brisket for maximum flavor concentration, and ease of reheating. To warm, simply place the brisket in a small saucepot, and add a splash or two of water. Warm over medium heat until it begins to steam and simmer, stirring a lot. If you want super saucy, add some more water- if you would rather it be tight, reduce it down a bit. Give it a taste to check for seasoning, adjust to compensate for dilution, and set aside till you’re ready to plate.  

For the polenta:

The trick to heating up polenta correctly is just patience. It can sometimes take a while. If you are super impatient, you can just microwave the whole container (lid off) for a minute or two to take the chill off. Your call. Pop the polenta in a large saucepan and break it up into small chunks with a spoon. Over medium heat, stir, adding milk or water as you stir to thin it out. The polenta will absorb it and become more and more fluid with every addition of liquid, so keep this in mind. Much easier to add liquid than remove it, so small increments work best. Once it’s beginning to steam and bubble, it’s almost ready. Smoosh any clumpy parts with the back of the spoon, and stir aggressively to prevent scorching. Give it a taste and a season once it’s hot, and set it aside till you’re ready to plate. 

For the leaves:

Gem lettuce is like the best of mesclun and the best of romaine all wrapped into one. Buttery, slightly bitter leaves with a potent crunch. With shaved root veggies, it’s the perfect vessel for the green goddess dressing. Toss everything in a bowl with some salt and pepper, and drizzle the green goddess dressing around the sides of the bowl. Give it a taste, adjust seasoning as necessary, and get ready to plate!

To plate:

I would use bowls for this. Spread the polenta on the bottom of the bowl and make an indent for the beef to rest in. Scoop some beef into the polenta nest, get some sauce in there, and finish it off with a dollop of the whipped ricotta. Enjoy the leaves on the side. Let me know what you think 🙂

ROASTED BEET SALAD

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Roasted beet salads have been a staple in contemporary American cuisine since the 80’s. I wasn’t around back then, so I don’t know what started it. Quite frankly, I don’t really care. I believe in having a unique experience with ingredients every day- keeping our predispositions and personal/associative history out of the picture. In my moonlighting career as a food philosopher, I like to call this transcendentalist cuisine. But now I’m just coming off like a pretentious asshole, so I’ll shut up. Seriously though, no matter how many times you’ve eaten an ingredient, or seen photos of a dish, or even cooked it yourself, each time should be different. That’s part of what makes WECO so fun. Yeah, we may do similar menu items from time to time, but each time we execute something, I encourage everyone on the team to see it through a fresh set of goggles.Take off your old beet goggles, put on new ones. This salad may sound familiar, but it’s fresh, fun, and new. Salt baked beets, gold quinoa, pesto, nothing else to say here. I would just mix all these goodies together in a big bowl with the pesto and go at it. Maybe give it a crack of fresh black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt. You could heat it up but I wouldn’t. These fresh flavors want to be cold! Enjoy 🙂

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