(Poitrine de Boeuf Braisée au Gingembre et Coriandre)
From French Classics Made Easy By Richard Grausman,
Founder & Chairman, C-CAP
Prepared by Carla Contreras
This recipe is a wonderful example of how ingredients not normally associated with classic French cooking can be used to bring new life to a traditional dish.
I really should call this recipe Boeuf Braisé Deborah, for it was created on the evening my wife gave birth to our second daughter, Deborah. One of the nurses who attended to my wife was from the British West Indies and a food enthusiast. When she found out my profession, she asked me for my chocolate mousse recipe. In return she gave me her favorite recipe, chicken cooked with fresh ginger, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, and hot pepper.
When I returned home, I took out the brisket of beef I had in the refrigerator and started to prepare a classic braised beef. Finding a piece of ginger in the vegetable drawer, I thought of the nurse’s chicken recipe. Although I did not have cilantro (fresh coriander), I did have ground coriander (the seeds of the coriander plant) and dried hot peppers. My older daughter, Jennifer, and my gourmet mother-in-law were both so pleased with the results that I have been cooking this recipe ever since. As it turned out Deborah was born a “super taster” like her mother, so both find this dish too spicy. Jennifer and I still love it.
From French Classics Made Easy. Buy the book.
Braised Brisket with Ginger and Coriander
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 to 4 pounds breast of beef (first-cut brisket)
2 onions, halved and thickly sliced
4 large carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, sliced, or more to taste
2 cups dry red wine
1 1/2 cups beef stock, homemade or canned
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 to 2 dried red chili peppers (optional), to taste
Bouquet Garni (** see note below)
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 to 16 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1. In a flameproof casserole or large Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. Add the meat when the oil is hot and brown it, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove the meat.
2. Add the onions and carrots and cook over high heat until they are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, shallots, and ginger, and stir for 10 seconds before adding all of the remaining ingredients except the potatoes.
5. Return the meat to the casserole, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until tender, 2½ to 3 hours. This can be done on top of the stove or in a 300°F to 350°F oven.
6. Add the potatoes during the last hour of cooking. If your casserole is too small to hold them, boil or steam them separately.
7. When the meat is tender, discard the bouquet garni. Reserving all of the cooked vegetables, strain the cooking liquid, which will have thickened to form a sauce, through a fine-mesh sieve. Skim to remove all fat. (This recipe can be prepared to this point in advance. Reheat the meat and vegetables before serving.)
8. Slice the brisket and serve it with the potatoes and vegetables. Spoon some of the sauce over all and serve the remaining sauce separately.
** To create Bouquet Garni
A bouquet garni consists of 4 to 5 sprigs of parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried leaves), which I tie up in a celery rib cut in half. The reason for tying the ingredients together is to enable you to discard them easily once the cooking is finished. If you plan to strain the stock or sauce in which the bouquet garni has been cooking, it is not necessary for you to tie up the ingredients, although it makes skimming easier.
Start with an Endive and Pink Grapefruit Salad or a green vegetable as a first course. For dessert, serve a Crème Caramel. (Recipes available in French Classics Made Easy)
Serve with a dry red.
Braised Beef [Boeuf Braisé]
Omit the ginger, coriander, and chili peppers and you have my basic braised beef recipe.
Braised Beef a l’Hongroise [Boeuf Braisé à l’Hongroise]
Use the basic Braised Beef (above) and omit the carrot, add another onion and 1 tablespoon of paprika.
Alsatian-Style Braised Beef [Boeuf Braisé à l’Alsacienne]
Omit the coriander and chili pepper. In place of the ginger, use 15 juniper berries. Add a whole head of cabbage cut into wedges at the same time as the potatoes in step 6.