Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Orleans Style Boiled Brisket of Beef

On with my quest to finish my beef.  Only two cuts of brisket come off each cow, and this year, I was lucky enough to get one of them.  I think the other sharers of cow would be disappointed to know that I am preparing my brisket this way instead of a more traditional smoked-with-barbecue-sauce style, but my thought process is there are lots of places in Portland I can go eat really good smoked-with-barbecue-sauce style brisket and probably nowhere I can eat it New Orleans boiled style.  So, here we are.

When Borders went out of business last fall, I went to check out what deals were to be had and spotted "The New Orleans Cookbook".  The cover says it is "the most authentic and reliable gathering of great cajun and creole recipes from the city's grand restaurants and modest cafes, from mansions and from country kitchens".  Being one inclined to judge a book by its cover and being one to not pass up a $2 cookbook, I bought it.  It is filled with recipes I will probably never try, like the entire chapter on crawfish (where would I get crawfish in Oregon besides catching them myself) and hogshead cheese (though I suppose I could request the pigs head this winter when I get my pork), but I still like having a New Orleans cookbook around.

1 brisket of beef (5 to 6 lbs)
2 Creole (beefsteak or Jersey work too) tomatoes, cut in quarters
2 medium onions, cut in quarters
6 carrots, cut in half across, then in quarters
6 shallots (or scallions, or for the shallot and scallion adverse, garlic) roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, cut in half across, then quartered
8 to 10 sprigs parsley, stems included, torn into 2- to 3-inch lengths
2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 whole bay leaves, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp mace
2 qt water, approximately

Place the brisket in a deep heavy kettle or stock pot (like usual, I used my cast iron dutch oven) of about 5- to 6-quart capacity.  Place the vegetables and parsley on top of and around the brisket (the brisket and vegetables should be crowded in the bottom of the pot), then add seasonings and enough water to just cover the meat.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.  Serve sliced with Cream Horseradish Sauce (recipe follows) on the side.  Save the broth and vegetables and serve as a soup course.

Cream Horseradish Sauce

6 Tbsp prepared white horseradish, preferably Zatarain's
1 Tbsp Creole mustard
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Combine all ingredients except the cream in a gravy boat or deep sauce dish.  Mix thoroughly and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then add the heavy cream slowly, stirring constantly.  cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

I have eaten some portion of this dish for every meal since I made it.  The soup makes a fabulous light lunch, the brisket is delicious shredded and doused with the horseradish sauce on a sandwich, or just warming up some brisket on a plate.  It is a seriously fantastic dish.

Bon appetit.


  1. So impressed by your cooking skills. This looks so fancy!

  2. S, did you read the recipe? All you do is throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and let it simmer. It's so easy!