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Brisket with Vidalia Onion Puree and Meme's Braised Cabbage

Brisket with Vidalia Onion Puree and Meme's Braised Cabbage Recipe

  • Brisket is tough, and it is best suited for braising and slow cooking, which tenderizes the meat from within by dissolving the cuts plentiful collagen and fat. Brisket is very often smoked in the South; in fact, barbecue means brisket in Texas, as barbecue means pork in the Southeast. Buy fresh brisket (not corned or brined), ideally the flat or first cut, which is leaner than point or second cut, and has a layer of fat running across it to help keep it moist.
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 (31/2- to 4-pound) beef brisket, preferably first cut (see headnote)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 onions, preferably Vidalia, thickly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 12 ounces dark beer or ale
  • 2 cups beef stock (page 227) or low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth, plus more if needed
  • This is another example of simple country cooking that would be equally at home cooked in a cast-iron skillet in the South or simmered in a cocotte on grandmres stovetop in France. Cabbage is an inexpensive vegetable, and if stored properly, will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. Once again, bacon drippings was Memes fat of choice, but you can substitute butter. Other oils do not give the dish the richness it needs. (Before you make any comments about Memes arteries, she lived to be ninety-two!)
  • Try this dish with Memes Fried Fatback (page 84) and her Cornmeal Griddle Cakes (page 216). You will be glad you did.
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or unsalted butter
  • 1 medium head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (page 227) or low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
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