Posts Tagged ‘Sandwiches’

A brisket for all seasons

February 19, 2013

BrisketSand1

Who doesn’t love beef brisket?

Here on the East Coast, most people know and like it brined (corned beef). In Texas, it is a prime cut for long slow cooking (smoked). And then, of course, the ultimate brined and smoked brisket that is steamed (pastrami).

Years ago during one of our trips to New Orleans, we dined at Tujague’s. Reportedly the second oldest restaurant in a city known for all levels of dining, Tujague’s is more of a local favorite than a “tourists must visit” kind of place. It is not often written about in the foodie mags. It is, in its own way, a classic and one that in my opinion is worth seeking out.

One of the house specialties at Tujague’s is their “boiled brisket.” Nothing could be more humble in name yet more superlative in flavor.

Sometime after that trip, I discovered, on the restaurant’s website, their recipe for this dish. Since that time, I have made this brisket at least once year, usually served with latkes as part of my Hanukkah celebration honoring the Jewish part of my heritage. It amuses me that I prepare a New Orleans Creole brisket recipe to celebrate Hanukkah. This provides a rare opportunity for me to combine my love of New Orleans, my French (my maternal great-great-grandparents entered this country at the port of New Orleans) and my Jewish family.

Recently, I had been overtaken by a strong craving for the brisket and so we purchased a seven pounder from the local BJ’s and I cooked it up for Sunday dinner with friends.

Preparing for our trip next month, yesterday I happened to be checking NOLA.com, the website of the New Orleans Times Picayune. In one of those quirky little coincidences,. I came across a story about the passing of one Steven Latter, the proprietor of Tujague’s It was interesting to read about how he and his brother took over the restaurant without any real food service experience and preserved this treasure.  Mr. Slatter (who, by the way, was Jewish) eventually bought his brother out to become the sole owner. Reading about him made me a little sad that I hadn’t actually met him as I think we might have enjoyed each other’s company.

I read the story and was contemplating what it might mean for the future of the restaurant. Sometimes, owners can be more than just the “boss” at a restaurant; they may provide the very soul of the establishment. As I mused on this, I noticed a link to a story from last year that talked about how great the “brisket sandwich” was. The sandwich was basically a roast beef poor boy/po’boy (the New Orleans version of a “hoagie” or “sub”) made with the house brisket and available only at the bar.

Aha!  Now I knew what I would do with some of the leftovers from Sunday’s brisket.

This noon, I ran out to Italian Peoples’ Bakery and picked up a loaf of their stick bread.

Back home, I made the sandwich and I was not disappointed.

Thank you, Mr. Slatter, for keeping Tujague’s traditions. 

 BrisketSand2

Boiled Brisket Po’ Boy

  • 12” length of good French or Italian stick bread sliced almost but not quite all the way through and opened up.
  • 5 ounces of leftover boiled brisket (see recipe below) warmed, slightly
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Fresh tomato slices
  • 2 Tbs Creole mustard (or dark, coarse grained mustard)
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs prepared horseradish (or two taste)

“Dress” the bread with the mustard, mayo and horseradish. Add slices of tomato in one layer, then a light layer of lettuce. Cover evenly with slices of brisket (I warmed mine for one minute in the microwave). Close bread, using back edge of long knife to kind of stuff the filling back in while pressing down on the top of the bread with the palm of your free hand. Cut into two lengths and enjoy.  (I ate this myself but it would probably feed two normal people)

Boiled Brisket ala Tujague’s

  • Fresh beef brisket (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tbs. salt
  • 12 whole black peppercorns

Put the beef brisket in a coup pot, having trimmed excess fat. Add the onions, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until brisket is very tender. When the brisket is ready, remove it form the pot, drain, and slice to serve. Serve brisket with horseradish sauce on the side.

Horseradish sauce

  • ½ cup horseradish
  • ½ cup Creole mustard
  • 1 cup Catsup.

Blend and chill.

 

Waste not

November 16, 2010

Ann’s brother and sister-in-law were visiting the other day and after a great afternoon touring the Grounds for Sculpture, we returned home for a dinner of roasted beef tenderloin, caramelized onions in red wine sauce, green beans and mashed potatoes.

When I buy tenderloins I trim them myself and cut into filets or roasts as the menu dictates.  This always leaves me with the “chain,” the ends and various odd sized pieces of good meat that I hate to waste.

I also had a stick of Italian bread, some peppers and some mushrooms in the fridge (I’d forgotten about them when making dinner for us) and some provolone cheese. For lunch today, I decided to put those trimmings to good use and make a version of a cheese steak*.

In a large skillet I heated a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  To that I added one Italian frying (Cubanelle) pepper and one jalapeno pepper, both sliced lengthwise.  In went a small yellow onion sliced thinly.  I hit them with a little salt and pepper and tossed them in the oil for three or four minutes. 

In the meantime, I took the stems off of the shitake mushrooms and cut the toughest parts off of the oyster mushrooms.  The peppers and onion got pushed to one side and I added the mushrooms to the pan.  Another sprinkle of salt and pepper was laid over the mushrooms and they were stirred occasionally.

While the mushrooms cooked, I made sure the beef trimmings were free of fat, silver skin and any other undesirables.  Then I sliced the bigger pieces very thinly (as if for stir fry…and this would have been easier if I had thought to partially freeze the meat first. Oh well).  The smaller pieces were just rough chopped into bite size pieces. 

Mixing the mushrooms in the pan with the peppers and onion, I then pushed everything to the side and added the meat.  More salt and pepper and frequent stirring to brown the beef on all sides followed. 

Once the meat was done, I mixed it up with the mushrooms, peppers and onion and laid two slices of provolone cheese over the top.  Once the cheese melted into the mixture, I loaded it all into the bread, which had been sliced lengthwise. 

It wasn’t as pretty as it should have been, but it was a tasty use of “leftovers” fit for a king.

Take that “Pat’s,” “Geno’s,” “Jim’s,” “Rick’s,” et al!

*Remind me sometime to share the story that lays claim to Trenton as the home of the steak sandwich.

Another all day sandwich

October 23, 2010

Salame and eggs doesn’t seem to be as common or popular as when I was younger, but it still makes a great anytime sandwich.

Follow the directions for the pepper and egg sandwich, substitutinng about 4 ounces of kosher or hard salame for the cubanelle peppers.