Saturday, February 22, 2014

Amazing Beef Barbacoa

A-brisket a-tasket
A green and yellow basket…

Isn't that how it goes?

We know the Superbowl can make us do crazy things. People splurge on ginormous TVs. Companies pay $4 million for a 30-second commercial. Americans eat 10 million pounds of guacamole. Danielle buys a brisket (gasp!).

It was my very first brisket. I saw a recipe for barbacoa nachos, which I decided must be our Superbowl grub. The nachos were complete with tender, tangy brisket, homemade cheese sauce, pickled red onions, and more. And even after the nachos we had several pounds of barbacoa leftover to make dinners throughout the week. You can use the meat in quesadillas, wraps, tacos, over polenta, etc.  Or you can eat it cold with a fork like my husband!

A before shot of my $20 slab of brisket bathing in its marinade:

An after shot, ready to be pulled:

Cooking meat like this (low and slow) is as easy as it can get — and you can eat for a week off of it! A little work goes a long way on this one...

Beef Barbacoa (makes a LOT — how's that for exact?!)
Adapted from Serious Eats

3-4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of fat and shiny silver sinew
16 oz. diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. ancho chile powder
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 whole chipotle chile en adobo
1 tbsp. adobo sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

The night before: Place brisket in a large resealable bag. In a blender, combine tomatoes with juice, cumin, chile powder, cocoa powder, oregano, vinegar, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour marinade into the bag over brisket, making sure that all sides are coated. Seal bag tightly, removing as much air as possible, and place it in a baking dish (in case anything leaks). Place in the refrigerator overnight, turning at least once.

The next day: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place brisket and marinade in a Dutch oven. Add bay leaves. On the stove, bring just to a simmer over high heat. Then cover and place in the oven. Cook for about 4 hours, until meat is fork tender and shreds easily.

Remove meat from the cooking liquid (reserve), discard bay leaves, and allow meat to cool for about 15 minutes. Shred the brisket with two forks, and transfer to a bowl. Skim any fat off of the top of the cooking liquid and then pour about 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the meat to keep it moist.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies

Let's address the elephant in the room. It's been a year since I've posted anything. Yeah, so there's that. During that time, though, I have been happily preoccupied with this little cutie...

…my sweet little girl who is now a budding, running, talking, giggling toddler.

It's not that I stopped cooking. It's just that I've been leaning more on the "old reliables" rather than experimenting with new ideas and recipes. I've also been working hard to shed the last of my pregnancy pounds, so I've tried to fall out of love with food just a little. Just for a minute.

So the brownies.

It was my dad's birthday. I wanted to make him something delicious for dessert. But it's a little intimidating because my dad's a food snob (he means well!). Bless him and his tempered eggs, his braised and smoked everything, his mirepoix, and his mise en place. He started cooking maybe 10-15 years ago, and he never looked back. It was amazing that as a middle-aged husband, he suddenly found a passion for food (frankly I have enjoyed supporting this passion!!).

I finally got out of him that he wanted something that was chocolate and sea salt for dessert, so I started looking for ideas on Pinterest (aka my favorite website ever). I found a recipe for Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies — bingo! I made some modifications and served up these beauties.

These brownies are special, simple, rich, and fabulous! There's only 1 cup of flour 3 eggs in the recipe, if that's any indication of how fudgy they are. 


The best endorsement for the recipe? My dad called over a week later and said that they were still enjoying the leftovers. He may or may not have mentioned that they were the best brownies he's ever had. 

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies (makes 16 squares)
Adapted from here

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened dark cocoa powder (Hershey's makes this)
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. instant coffee or espresso granules
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
3/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter or use cooking spray on a 9-inch square metal cake pan. Line the pan with a piece of parchment (foil works too), leaving the edges hanging over the sides. Then butter/spray the top of the parchment.

In a saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. When melted, set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and instant coffee/espresso. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla to dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Then slowly mix in the chocolate/butter mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly with a spatula (batter will be thick). Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the surface of the brownies, and gently swirl the salt into the batter.

Bake the brownies in the center of the oven for 35-38 minutes. You want the edges to be set and the center to be slightly fudgy and soft — when a toothpick is inserted into the center, it should come out coated with a little bit of batter. 

Let the brownies cool to room temp. and then refrigerate for at least an hour. Lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into 16 squares. Serve at room temperature.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...