Thursday, November 02, 2006

Coffee'd brisket

Regina Schrambling recently published an article in the Los Angeles Times, Beyond the brew: Think you know coffee? Think again, which I found reprinted in this week's Food and Drink Newsletter from the Chicago Tribune. Apart from an aside about Ferran Adrià being commissioned to create a new "coffee you can eat" for the Italian coffee company LavAzza, her piece was noteworthy for bringing attention to an old American custom of using black coffee to deglaze pans, as for making "redeye gravy" for fried country ham. My friend Ruth also uses black coffee to marinate and baste leg of lamb during roasting. It adds a special depth to the flavor. I was taken with this recipe for beef brisket, but I think I might be inclined to try substituting a nice piece of chuck roast and cooking it in my Dansk dutch oven. I love the aroma that comes from a nice long stay in the oven!

Coffee'd brisket
(8-10 Servings)

1/4 cup top-quality coffee beans, ground for espresso
3 Tbsps. kosher salt
2 Tbsps. sugar
1 tsp. chipotle flakes or 1/2 tsp. chipotle chile pepper (or Italian hot red pepper flakes)
1 beef brisket, about 5 pounds, excess fat trimmed
2 large onions, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise into 3-by- 1/2 -inch strips
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup beef stock
1 1/2 cups strong brewed espresso
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

The night before cooking, combine the ground coffee, salt, sugar and chipotle flakes. Spread over both sides of the brisket. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the onions, carrots and thyme into a roasting pan just large enough to hold the meat. Rinse the coating off the brisket and lay it on top of the vegetables, fattier side up. Pour the stock and coffee around the meat. Cover tightly with a lid or with foil and bake 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat from the juices and place on a rimmed carving board. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a bowl. Pour the warm pan juices into a gravy separator.

To serve, slice the meat across the grain into very thin slices. Spoon some of the vegetables alongside. Season the warm defatted pan juices to taste and serve on the side.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that coffee is an ingredient in "red eye" gravy? Personally, I don't like the stuff, but it does seem to be a frontier relic invented to make gravy out of something left in the chuck wagon.


7:56 AM  
Blogger Willa Frank said...

dear n,

oh, yes, red-eye gravy! the only time i've ever had it was on a trip to bybee pottery--gee, was it with you and ...hmmm--when we stopped for breakfast at a little hole in the wall and i ordered country ham. [paroxysms of joy!] country ham. a subject for another time...

12:56 PM  

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