Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

October 13, 2009

Sweet-and-Sour Brisket

Filed under: beef, freezer, main dish, make ahead — Emily @ 8:48 am

This brisket is unbelievable. My husband actually said “this is the best meat dish I’ve ever eaten…” and yet, it is very easy to throw together. It is best if you make it a day or two in advance and let it marinate for awhile—it just continues to get better and better. After eating it for a day or two, buy some big, crusty sandwich rolls and enjoy it with a side of jus. Since it’s essentially just slabs of meat, the picture really doesn’t do it justice. But I promise, you will not regret making this dish.

Sweet-and-Sour Brisket

1/2 cup red wine

1 can (14 ounces) low-sodium beef broth

3/4 cup chili sauce, such as Heinz

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 brisket (about 5 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the sweet-and-sour sauce:

Combine the wine, broth, chili sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, and bay leaf in a medium bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the brisket:

Season the brisket on both sides with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 6-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the brisket, fat-side down, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the brisket over and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Place the brisket on top of the onions and cover with the sauce.

Cover the pot, place in the oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board, scrape off the excess fat, and cut across the grain of the meat into 1/8-1/4-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them. Spoon the sauce over the brisket, covering the meat well. Bake until the meat is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.

For the best flavor, let the brisket cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the brisket in a large pot and smother with the sweet-and-sour sauce to enhance the flavor and preserve moistness. Cover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tip: This brisket freezes beautifully. Because the flavors get better over time, we refrigerate the brisket for a day or two before freezing (if you can resist eating it!) Thaw the brisket before reheating it.

Source: Bride and Groom First and Forever

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October 1, 2009

Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce

Filed under: beef, freezer, main dish, pasta — Emily @ 9:52 am

This dish was definitely comfort food! It was creamy and delicious–and very easy to throw together quickly.

Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/2 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 12 oz. dried spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large saucepan or a dutch oven cook ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain. Stir in msuhroom soup, tomato soup, mushrooms, seasonings. Bring sauce to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer covered, for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over hot spaghetti. If desired, sprinkle each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Source: Carrie’s Sweet Life (originally from Better Homes and Gardens)

August 31, 2009

Chicken “Divine”

Filed under: chicken, freezer, main dish, make ahead, pasta — Emily @ 6:00 am

I got this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks that I received at a wedding shower—over 5 years ago! Even though I now live in California and grew up in Chicago, I still reminice fondly of our time in Nashville¬† and feel very connected to some of the Southern heritage and cooking! This is a spin on the classic Southern dish, Chicken Divan. This dish comes together very quick and can be made a day in advance. I saw a Paula Deen show once where she said that chicken divan should be in every wife’s repertoire. I’d never even had it before, so I figure I better get on it!

Chicken “Divine”

4 cups fresh broccoli florets, or 2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen broccoli florets, thawed

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine (I usually use 2 buck Chuck chardonnay)

1 jar (16 oz.) Alfredo sauce

2 cups (4 oz.) grated smoked Gouda or Edam cheese

1/2 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 cups cooked penne, macaroni or orecchiette (about 3 cups dried)

2 cups shredded roast chicken, home cooked or purchased

1/4 cup dry Italian-style bread crumbs

Paprika for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

If using fresh broccoli, cook the florets in a steamer until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and drain thoroughly. If using thawed frozen broccoli, squeeze out the excess liquid. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, kosher salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Alfredo sauce, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the milk, and nutmeg. Then stir in the cooked pasta, broccoli, and chicken and mix thoroughly.

Transfer to an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish. Top with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle with paprika, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.

Tip: This casserole can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated. It can also be assembled and then frozen. If the casserole was frozen, thaw in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Source: Bride & Groom First and Forever

One thing I love about this cookbook is that it has a lot of recipes with only 2-4 servings, so it’s perfect for a married couple or an intimate dinner party.

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