Comfort foods: Braised brisket and sauteed kale

Ease the January blues with a good dose of comfort food. New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark shares her recipes for braised brisket and sauteed kale

Braised brisket with sweet peppers and red wine

Ingredients

    • 1 3 1/2 pound brisket
    • 3 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, more as needed
    • 1 teaspoons black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    • 3 thyme sprigs
    • 2 rosemary sprigs
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers, diced
    • 2 white onions, diced
    • 2 celery stalks, diced
    • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
    • Thyme or parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Season the brisket all over with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper and paprika. Let meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Tie the herbs and bay leaves in a bundle with kitchen string. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Place the brisket in the pot and cook, without moving, until golden brown, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining oil to the pot and let heat for 20 seconds. Add peppers, onions, celery and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until golden brown around the edges and very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Pour in wine and add the bouquet garni. Bring the wine mixture to a simmer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Nestle the meat on top of vegetables. Add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the meat. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning every 30 minutes, until the meat is completely fork tender, about 3 hours. After 2 1/2 hours, uncover the pot so some of the liquid can evaporate and the sauce can thicken. Remove bouquet garni.If you have time, let brisket cool completely, then refrigerate overnight. This makes it easier to remove the fat from the top. Reheat the meat in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes before serving if necessary. If the sauce seems thin, remove meat from the pot and bring the liquid to a simmer. Let cook until it’s reduced to taste. Slice meat and serve with the vegetables and sauce, garnished with thyme leaves if you like.

Sauteed kale with garlic and chile

Ingredients

    • 2 bunches Tuscan kale
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 anchovy filets, topional
    • 2 to 3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Kosher or coarse sea salt, if needed

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Remove the center ribs from the kale and discard. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Rinse well but do not dry. You want the moisture on the leaves to help them steam as they cook. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Stir in the anchovies if using and cook until dissolved, about 1 minute. Stir in the garlic and red chili flakes and cook until the garlic is slightly softened, about 1 minute. Add the damp kale a handful at a time, letting each handful wilt slightly before adding more. Toss well. Cook until the greens are completely wilted, about 5 minutes. If the kale is still tough but the pan is dry, splash in a little more water and let cook. For very tough greens, you might need to repeat this. Season the kale with pepper and salt to taste before serving.

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