Posted by: Todd and Diane
The flavors, colors, sounds and seasonal trimmings of the holiday season are un-deniably our favorite part of the year. The combination of the warmth and spirit of giving along with warm foods that pour out of the kitchen reflects everything that we love so much. The moments that revolve around this season are some of the most memorable and are always filled with stories that we continuously share year-after-year.
Our holiday table is set almost every weekend in December, not just on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We do our best to gather with dear friends throughout the month because we all have other family obligations that keep us from celebrating with every friend that we adore. The menu is always diverse, varied and interesting with our eclectic guests.
Two dishes that always satisfy different appetites during the holidays include our braised beef with dried fruit and Brussel sprouts latkes. These two recipes never fail to please – even the pickiest of eaters.
The braised beef brisket is baked in our reliable Thermador oven for a few hours and the result is a tender, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth savory delicacy. Cooked super-tender, this braised beef has all the flavors of the seasons with dried fruit and herbs. The texture and flavor of the brisket pairs perfectly with our favorite bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Old Vine Zinfandel.
We’ve even taken the classic potato latke to the next level by adding a seasonal favorite – brussels sprouts. During the holiday season, brussels sprouts are so plentiful it’s hard not to include them into our Christmas dinner, even after a filling Thanksgiving meal. We could eat brussels sprouts every single week!
Combined with the classic crispy potato latkes, including thinly shaved brussels sprouts adds wonderful texture and flavor. These latkes are addicting and can be prepared to eat a few, meaning 3-4 latkes per person. When dipped in cool and refreshing crème fraiche, all you can do is wash it down with your favorite red wine. And if you’re a white wine drinker? No problem because these latkes pair perfectly with a crisp white wine as well.
There’s always something for everybody at our holiday table and one of the hardest things is to limit ourselves in the kitchen because it’s so much fun to cook a delicious feast for 20 people. But alas, everyone has limits on how much they can eat so we’ll just have to save the new recipe ideas for next year. Happy Holidays everyone!
For the rub spices:
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground chipotle
1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
For the Brisket
4 pounds brisket, first cut
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
¼ cup dried apricots, minced
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped dried apple
salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat your Thermador oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine the rub spices: brown sugar, granulated garlic, ground mustard, paprika, ground chipotle, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat and sear each side of the brisket until a crust forms, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the brisket from the Dutch oven pot, then add the onions, can of tomatoes, apricots, raisins and dried apple to the same pot. Bring the sauce to a low boil.
Place the brisket back into the pot with the sauce and make sure the brisket is covered with the sauce. Place the cover back on the Dutch oven pot and transfer to the oven.
Bake the brisket for about 3 hours or until tender. When finished cooking, remove the brisket from the sauce and cover with foil to let rest for about 5 minutes. When ready to serve, slice the brisket into thin slices and top with the sauce.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
½ pound brussels sprouts, shredded
½ pound russet potatoes, peeled, grated and moisture squeezed out with paper towels
½ teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
Sea salt and pepper to taste
About ½ cup crème fraiche for dipping
1 tablespoon minced chives (optional topping for crème fraiche)
Oil for frying
In large bowl, combine shredded brussels sprouts, grated potatoes, paprika, egg, sea salt and pepper.
In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, heat about 1/2-inch of oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of the latke mixture and gently place in hot oil. Press down on the latkes until they are flat. Repeat this process with the latkes until the pan is full, but not crowded with the latkes.
Fry the latkes until crispy on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side. When crispy, remove the latkes and place them on a paper towel to drain. Serve the latkes warm with the side of crème fraiche topped with minced chives.