Frugal eats: Delicious brisket served up 4 ways

On a budget but yearning to eat like you're not? Beef brisket can be the answer. Ivy Stark, executive chef at New York's Dos Caminos Mexican restaurant, shares smart ideas for making a frugal family feast that can be reinvented and transformed into additional meals.

Brisket costs about $1.25 a pound — so basically, under $1 a serving. The chile-rubbed brisket Stark prepares weighs about 7 to 8 pounds and costs less than $10. By making smart use of leftovers and putting Stark's ideas to use, you can get four entirely different meals from it — for breakfast, lunch and a whole other dinner.

Chile-rubbed brisket

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup chile powder
    • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
    • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
    • 6 cloves garlic
    • 2 teaspoons cumin, toasted and freshly ground
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon canela (Mexican cinnamon)
    • 1 piece center-cut beef brisket, surface fat trimmed
    • 4 medium onions, thinly sliced

Preparation

Baking Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chile powder with the wine, vinegar, garlic, cumin, oregano and canela and whisk until smooth.Season meat on both sides with salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and cover with chile mixture and onions. Seal pan tightly with aluminum foil and cover. Roast at 350 degrees for about 4 hours until brisket is very tender.

Brisket and poblano stew

Ingredients

    • 2 pounds cooked and shredded beef brisket
    • 2 garlic cloves (not peeled)
    • 1 pound whole peeled plum tomatoes
    • 4 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
    • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
    • 1 link dried palacios chorizo, finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon blended oil
    • 2 ounces crumbled queso fresco
    • Corn bread
    • Poached eggs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Heat a dry well-seasoned small cast-iron skillet over moderate heat until hot, then brown garlic and remaining 2 onion quarters on all sides, turning with tongs, about 5 minutes. Peel garlic and transfer with onion to a blender. Add tomatoes with juice, chiles and oregano, then purée until smooth. Cook chorizo in oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until fat is rendered, about 2 minutes. Carefully add purée (it will splatter and steam) and cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in shredded beef brisket and simmer 10 minutes. Serve in a cazuela over corn bread with a poached egg on top and sprinkled with cheese.

Grilled cheese and brisket torta

Ingredients

    • 1 whole wheat torta roll
    • 4 ounces shredded brisket
    • 2 ounces barbecue sauce
    • 2 ounces pickled red onions
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped chipotle chiles
    • 1 slice aged cheddar
    • 2 slices pickle
    • Lettuce leaf
    • Tomato slice
    • Sweet fries

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Spread one side of the torta roll with chipotle aioli. Toss brisket in barbecue sauce and place on the bottom half of the torta roll.Top with cheddar, pickle slices and pickled red onions.Toast on the griddle until golden brown, cut in half and place on the oval plate with lettuce and tomato.Serve with hot sweet potato fries.

Machacado breakfast tacos

Ingredients

    • 3 flour tortillas
    • 4 ounces beef brisket (prepared from recipe above), shredded as finely as possible
    • 1 ounce salsa Mexicana
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 tablespoons tomato, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon cilantro, chiffonade
    • 1/2 teaspoon serrano chile
    • 1 tablespoon onion, chopped
    • 3 slices aged cheddar

Preparation

Baking Directions:

On the griddle, brown the brisket well. Add 1 ounce salsa, cook for a minute to allow the liquid to cook out a bit, add tomato, cilantro, serrano and onion.  Saute for one more minute to combine ingredients. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper. Toss with spatula until eggs are just set.  Meanwhile, place three 6-inch flour tortillas on the griddle. Heat one side, flip and place a slice of the cheddar cheese on each and allow to melt slightly.Divide the mixture in thirds and fill the tortillas. Fold the tortillas over in half.  To plate: Line up the three tacos on an oval plate with lime "book ends" and serve with salsas and guacamole.

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