My grandmother never threw anything away—including old coffee too bitter to drink, which she’d incorporate into various dishes, including her famous pears poached in coffee. As a child, I thought this was a little weird. But in fact, as coffee sits, its bitterness increases as its acids and tannins are developed. In other words, old coffee has some of the same qualities as dry wine, and so can enhance a dish in the same way. You don’t, by the way, need to use old coffee for this recipe, but it should be good and strong. Brisket is certainly one of the most versatile and universally appreciated cuts of meat, whether it’s part of a Kansas City or Texas barbecue, sliced for a Vietnamese pho, simmered for an Italian bollito misto, corned for St. Patrick’s Day, or pot roasted for Rosh Hashanah. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare this humble cut. Like most stews or braises, it’s even better reheated the next day.
Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. In a deep Dutch oven or casserole, heat
Add the remaining
Leaving the oven on, transfer just the meat from the pot to a cutting board. Puree the braising liquids and vegetables until smooth any way you can (an immersion blender is the easiest way, or you can transfer everything carefully to a food processor or blender, in batches if necessary). Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Return the pureed sauce to the pot, place the meat fat side up in the pot, and
© 2004 John Ash. All rights reserved.