Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Delicious dishes from the holidays

Although I've been making brisket for almost 50 years, I found a new recipe that may be the best of the bunch.  I made it for the first night that all of my family was here for the holidays, and everyone loved it.  It was delicious hot at dinner, and delicious cold on sandwiches the next day.  That it was mindlessly simple made it all the better.

And although one would think I have enough chicken recipes to feed the world, I found yet another one that hits the spot.  It's in a wonderful book by Marion Burros.  Actually it's a re-issue of her "Elegant but Easy" cookbook from 1960, the one I used constantly as a young bride.  She and her co-author updated it, eliminating the Cheez Whiz, canned onion rings, cream of mushroom soup and other staples of mid-century cookery.  But the recipes are still wildly simple and tasty to boot.

So here goes.

Chicken Gloriosa from Marion Burros's "The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook"

2 lbs skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs
3 T lime juice
2 T canola oil
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 slices very ripe fresh pineapple,, cut into bite-size wedges (save the juices if you can)
1/2 c coarse bread crumbs
1/4 t or more hot red pepper flakes
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/4 c tomato paste
1/2 c dry sherry
1 c orange juice
2 large or 3 small seedless tangerines, peeled and segmented

Wash and dry chicken; cut breasts into quarters.  Sprinkle chicken with 2 T lime juicem s&p, and allow sit sit in refrigerator for 2 hours or more

Drain and reserve the juices.  Saute chicken pieces in nonstick pan in hot oil, browning well on both sides.  About 30 seconds before removing chicken from pan, add garlic and saute.  In a 9 x 11" pan, arrange chicken and garlic.

Stir pineapple wedges and bread crumbs into pan in which chicken was cooked; add remaining 1 T lime juice, any pineapple juice from the cut-up pineapple, hot pepper flakes, cranberries, tomato paste, sherry, and oj.  Spoon this mixture over the chicken pieces.  Strew tangerine segments around chicken, and cover with aluminum foil.  Refrigerate, if desired.

To serve, preheat oven to 350 and bake chicken for about 1 hour.  Serve with saffron rice.

As a side note, I didn't have "coarse" bread crumbs, just the usual ones from a can.  They thickened the sauce nicely, almost as if I'd added cornstarch.  I served this over my new fave, pearl couscous, instead of saffron rice.  For what it's worth, this reheats really well when you can't finish all you made.

Brisket Texas Style (from who knows where)

2 large yellow onions, sliced and peeled
2.5 pound brisket
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup strong black coffee
¼ cup liquid smoke
¼ cup A1 steak sauce
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Scatter the onions on the bottom of a roasting pan that is just large enough to hold the brisket. Place the brisket on top of the onions with the fat side up. Salt and pepper the brisket.

Place in a roasting pan and roast tightly covered, for 2-½ hours to 3-½ hours depending on the size of the brisket you choose.  You want it to come out fork-tender.

Remove roasting pan from oven and transfer brisket to a cutting board. Tent with foil.

Make a gravy by blending the cooked onions and a little of the liquid from the roasting pan. Blend until smooth. Leaving it a little chunky would be tasty too. Set aside.

Slice meat across the grain. Serve with the onion gravy.  It's delish.

I made it the day before, mostly to get the fat off easily, and because I've come to believe that you need to cook brisket and pulled pork the day before serving.

Happy and healthy new year!