Passover is coming up this weekend. It brought up memories of one of the most successful meals we’ve ever cooked.
And quite honestly, one of the easiest dinners we ever made. If you have the slightest qualms about your skills in the kitchen, put them to rest and put these recipes to work for you. There’s a Brisket of Beef that requires chopping and slicing onions and turning the meat a couple of times. You will be rewarded with a meltingly tender brisket in its own onion gravy with big beautiful onion slices to top it off. With it, there’s a recipe for fingerling potatoes from Alex Guarnaschelli of Food Network fame. It’s so simple, you will be amazed how much taste you’ll get out of the potatoes. Finally, maple-glazed carrots are poached, buttered, and glazed in all of about 10 minutes. Buy something store-bought for dessert, crack open a bottle of red wine and astonish all your friends at your cooking prowess.
Brisket of beef could very well be the ultimate in Jewish cooking.
Brisket is traditionally served as a holiday main course for Rosh Hashannah and Passover. It’s part of many a Shabbat supper the rest of the year. The brisket recipe I’m giving you today even gave my friend Jay Feinberg’s grandmother’s recipe a run for the money. But it didn’t come from a Jewish kitchen. Its author hailed from Mississippi and he started quite a revolution in cookbooks.
In 1983, Lee Bailey published two seminal cookbooks: “City Food” and “Country Weekends”.
Although Lee called himself a designer, he was also a masterful entertainer and he knew everyone—myself included. One look at the acknowledgments that accompanied “Country Weekends” was a look into Who’s Who of the 80s in New York. From Nora Ephron to Liz Smith, Lee Bailey befriended bold-faced names and pretty much everyone else as well. With his business partner, Dick Huebner, he owned a Design Shop in what was then Henri Bendel’s wildly fashionable store on 57th Street. The pair even opened a branch in Southampton, where their customers flocked in summer. Lee had great style and great taste. And he brought the Lifestyle cookbook into being.
Lee Bailey’s books were beautifully photographed.
“City Food” was very sleek, modern, bling-y, and looks quite dated now. “Country Weekends” looks as fresh as ever, thanks to the timelessness of its subject matter. There are picnics on docks and on beaches, lunches in the open-air–everything looking not just beautiful, but attainable. The books were a huge success. And you can still buy them. This recipe is from “Country Weekends” and it really is effortless. Please share this with anyone who says they can’t cook.
Allow 3 hours for the brisket—about 10 minutes of which will involve actually doing anything.
Put the potatoes in a casserole along the way. About half an hour before you are going to serve dinner, put the potatoes in the oven, make the incredibly easy Horseradish Cream, glaze the carrots and that’s it. You’re done. Dinner for 4 was never so easy. Here are all the recipes:
Braised and Potted Brisket of Beef
Brisket of Beef at its most fork-tender with rich onion gravy and sliced onions to top the beef.
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- 4 lbs of first-cut Fresh Brisket of Beef
- 1 tsp. fresh Thyme leaves (no stems)
- 4 large sweet onions (2 chopped to medium dice, 2 cut into slices)
- 1 cup red wine.
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Step 2 Salt and Pepper the meat generously. Put it, fat side facing up, into a Dutch oven in which the meat fits tightly. Sprinkle with half of the thyme and pack the top with the chopped onions. Cover and put into the oven. Turn after 1 hour.
- Step 3 Add the balance of the thyme and more salt and pepper and continue cooking for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Step 4 Put the onion rings or top and add the red wine. Cover tightly and cook for an additional 45 minutes. It should be fork-tender. When serving, slice against the grain of the meat and spoon gravy over the meat. Serve with horseradish cream.
- Step 5
An ideal sauce for any cut of beef.
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- 4 tbsp. Bottled Horseradish
- Step 1 In a bowl, combine sour cream and horseradish. Stir. Serve
Wonderfully aromatic fingerling potatoes come buttered to the table
- 2 pounds small fingerling potatoes, washed and dried
- Pinch coarse sea salt – very important
- 15 bay leaves
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- Step 1 Add the potatoes to a casserole with a fitted lid that is just big enough to hold the potatoes. Toss them with some sea salt and the bay leaves. Cover the casserole and put it in the center of the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Step 2 When the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, remove the casserole from the oven and discard the bay leaves.
- Step 3 Add 4 tbsp. butter to the casserole, return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
Maple Glazed Carrots
The sweetness of carrots magnified with the addition of the all-natural sweetness of Maple Syrup
- 24 Carrots
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. Maple Syrup
- Step 1 Put the carrots in a saucepan and fill it with cold water to cover.
- Step 2 Turn heat on the burner to high and cook carrots for 8 to10 minutes.
- Step 3 Turn heat down to medium, drain carrots, add butter and when it is melted, add maple syrup. Swish carrots in syrup. Serve.