Sunday, January 29, 2012

DO-AHEAD BEEF BRISKET DINNER MENU

We had some friends over last night for beef brisket and it was such a fun, relaxing evening! Everything I served, I made up in advance. We had cook-in-the-oven Texas-style beef brisket, garlic mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes (we still have frozen mashed sweet potatoes from my husband’s 2010 garden to use up!), and cornbread with whipped honey butter. I asked my guests to bring a warm veggie dish and tossed salad (I just provided the carbs and protein!).

I made up all my dishes on Friday and then kept them in the refrigerator until Saturday. Yesterday morning, I put the brisket in the oven. It cooked at a low temperature all day (kind of like you would do with a slow cooker, but the slow cooking in the oven doesn’t turn the meat into mush; it just makes it very tender.). Then I put the cornbread, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes in our second oven about 30 minutes before our guests arrived. There was nothing else that needed to be done all day to get ready for the meal (I had already made a dessert the day before, which was still in the fridge. One of our guests was bringing a second dessert.). After our friends arrived, I was in the family room, sipping on wine and munching on appetizers (crackers and cheese/dips), while we waited for the dishes to finish cooking in the oven. I wasn’t having to rush around the kitchen doing all this last-minute food prep. I love easy meals like this. And the brisket (something I discovered since moving to Texas) is something people always seem to enjoy.

Really, this is the ideal meal for a Friday night or other weekday evening dinner, when you’re at work and away from home all day. You can put the beef brisket in the oven when you leave in the morning, and it’ll be ready when you get home. The other items can be cooked for 30 minutes after you get home—about the time you’re getting the brisket out of the oven to “rest” for a bit before cutting. It’s also a good meal to serve up after church; you can come home with your company and dinner’s just about ready. When your guests ask, “Is there anything I can do to help?” there really isn’t; everything’s already done. It’s one of those meals that generates a super-relaxing atmosphere, because as the hostess, I’m not running around like a “chicken with its head cut off.” My husband and sons really appreciate that.

Here are last night’s recipes:

COOK-IN-THE-OVEN TEXAS BEEF BRISKET

Rub, for 8 to 10 pounds of beef brisket:

4 T. chili powder
2 T. salt
2 T. garlic powder
2 T. onion powder
1 T. ground black pepper
2 T. granulated sugar
1 T. plus 1 tsp. dry mustard
3 bay leaves, crushed
4 cups beef stock or beef broth

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Trim excess fat on brisket. Mix the dry rub ingredients together, and season the brisket on both sides with the rub. Place the brisket on rack in a roasting pan, fat side up. Add beef stock to yield about ½ inch of liquid in the roasting pan (just enough so that the broth is really close to coming in contact with meat, but not quite). Put roaster lid on. Bake 8-10 hours (1 hour per pound of meat, after fat is trimmed). When done cooking, leave out at room temperature 15-20 minutes before cutting. Then slice the meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan, or serve with warm barbecue sauce on the side.

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all of the above and pour into buttered 1 ½ quart glass casserole dish. Then, mix the following together until crumbly, and sprinkle on top of mashed sweet potato mixture:

½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter
½ cup chopped pecans

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until center is heated through.


MAKE-AHEAD MASHED POTATOES

5 lbs. Russet Potatoes, peeled
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup chives, rinsed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-2 tsp. salt (to taste)
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika

Cook potatoes in boiling water about 30 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes and mash. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add potatoes and remaining ingredients except the paprika, beat just until combined. Spoon the mixture into a lightly buttered 2-quart casserole, sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before baking. Uncover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated through. Serves 8 to 10. When baked in the oven like this, these potatoes get a “crust” on top and they’re light and fluffy inside….and they go fast when served.

SWEET CORNBREAD

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cornmeal
3 tsp. baking powder
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening, chilled
2 cups milk
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut in shortening until crumbly. Add milk and eggs and stir just until all the ingredients are well combined. Bake in a 7 X 11-inch greased baking pan for about 30 minutes. Serve with whipped honey butter. (For last night’s dinner, I made up the batter the day before, put it in a baking dish, covered it with plastic wrap, and then kept it in the refrigerator until baking. I like making up the batter ahead of time and baking it right before eating it. To me, cornbread always tastes best fresh out of the oven, rather than baked a day in advance.)

WHIPPED HONEY BUTTER

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ to 1/3 cup honey (to taste)

Using a hand mixer, whip butter and honey together until light and fluffy.

Have a good rest of your weekend!
~Becky

4 comments:

  1. I'm going to have to try that beef brisket recipe. Thanks for posting it!

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  2. Im telling my mom about this. All of your food is awesome!

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  3. type of meal my guys would go for ...

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  4. A yummy delicious recipe.I should definitely try this.
    Beef brisket recipes

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