Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn Abundance

Tonight's menu-

Tender slices of braised corned beef served over creamy saffron infused risotto, topped with caramelized cabbage drizzled with a Dijon and natural juice reduction with brandied apricots.

The oven was set very low. 225°F. On a shallow baking pan overlayed with a big sheet of foil , a rack is made from vegetables. Their flavor will add depth to the broth.

An offering of flat cut corned beef brisket is laid upon it. The foil is sealed like tissue paper over a gift. Into the oven it goes for a few hours.

Dried apricots are allowed to plump in a baptism of brandy.

An uncovered saucepan is the vessel into which olive oil and butter are melted before weighing out the Arborio rice; sizzling it for just a handful of moments.

I calculate the white wine and chicken broth needed to simmer soft the pearly grains

The liquid is almost absorbed, but the rice is not tender.

The rice is anointed with more broth.

Saffron is sprinkled about, clothing the individual hulls with its goldenrod hue.

When it is almost ready- the stove is turned off and the rice waits for the brisket to finish

Briefly, the brisket was taken from the oven.Unwrapped.

Dijon mustard were mixed in equal measure with apricot preserves: this masque slathered on the upturned face of the meat.
The plumped apricots and their brandy bath is poured around the meat. The package resealed and returned to the oven- which is turned up to 350°F until the salty broth bubbles free of the meat which is fork tender. About 1 more hour.

Wedges of cabbage are caramelized in butter with shallot, a sprinkling of pepper flakes and a dash of butter.

While the finished meat rests, the broth is poured off with a spoonful more of Dijon mustard stirred in, the liquid reduced by half as it simmers. Drizled across the platter- words do not need to be said.

Yes, it would be easier to have stacked all the ingredients into a crock pot. But it would not have been nearly so GOOD.

This is not just Autumn on the calendar. It is the autumn of our marriage. Of the time we will get to spend here on earth. In all of these, it is a season to celebrate the abundance with which we are graced.

When God says "yes" to prayers for gentle rain, it is time to thank Him for abundance by showing our pleasure. On days like today, when the heavens kiss the earth with wet kisses, I am compelled to go in the kitchen to show my appreciation by using His gifts.

When it rains, I play in the kitchen with no recipe> Just an idea of what I want the house to smell like when my hero returns home from work. I want it to smell like there is no effort I would not spare to spoil my partner of over three decades.


Anonymous said...

Oh Lydia,
I was nearly drooling on the keyboard! Oh heavenly indeed! Corned beef is one of my favorite dinners. I have always boiled it or cooked in the crock but never like that in the oven. Do you place the foil bundle on a pan incase of escaping juices?
You and Sue are so alike when it comes to the culinary. Ohhh wish I could be like that too but don't have the talent in the kitchen.
Sadly my Cordon Blue grad son is now on the unemoloyment rolls. Layed off due to closing of the high end Burlingame store. Maybe I should give him a job of cooking for us?:):)

XO Trisha

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOSH !! Your commentary and photos had me drooling all over my desk! You cooked up some Heaven. Beautiful presentation too. Then you said, "the Autumn of our marriage" and I lost it. If only my 'hero' would walk through that door for dinner ... just one more time! Sorry. Sniffle snuffle sniffle..... Now my dose is tuffy. Loved your blog!!!
xoxo Orygun Sue

Lydia said...

Trisha- You are 100% right- braising the corned beef allows it to self baste- creating a richer broth than when boiled.

Sue- I was thinking yesterday about how long my Gerry and I have been married. Hopefully, it isn't the winter of our years together. When you write of your enduring love for your departed husband- I lose it alittle. Hugs for reminding me not to take love for granted.