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Cozy and inviting, a beef dinner from Alsace.

WITH THE GLUT OF fancy food during the holidays, diners (and cooks) often yearn for a home-cooked meal with plain, simple flavors. This beef brisket dinner, typical of Alsace and based on one we sampled at the Taverne du Vigneron in Guebwiller, provides such a meal, worthy of family or friends.

Slowly oven-braise a beef brisket with broth and seasonings until tender. As the meat cooks unattended, make an assortment of vegetable salads, all with a mustard vinaigrette. Once the beef is done, its cooking broth becomes a rich-flavored soup to sip with the meal.


Alsatian Beef Brisket with Broth

Marinated Vegetable Platter

Crusty Bread Butter

Oranges in Brandy

Pinot Noir or Sparkling Water

Meat and salads can be prepared up to a day ahead; or assemble salads as the meat cooks.

With the meal, you might serve a Pinot Noir, such as Domaines Schlumberger from Alsace or one from Oregon or Washington.

Alsatian Beef Brisket with Broth
1 beef brisket (4 to 4 1/2 lb.)
1 large (8 oz.) onion, thinly sliced
2 dried bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 small dried hot red chili
6 sprigs parsley
 About 3 quarts regular-strength beef broth
 Coarse salt
 Prepared horseradish
 Dijon mustard

Trim surface fat from beef. In a 12- by 14-inch roasting pan (at least 2 1/2 in. deep), combine beef, onion, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, cloves, chili, parsley, and 3 cups broth.

Cover tightly with foil. Bake in a 325|degrees~ oven until very tender when pierced, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. (If making ahead, cool, cover, and chill up to a day. Lift off and discard fat. Reheat meat, tightly covered, in a 325|degrees~ oven until hot, about 45 minutes.)

Lift out meat and place on a platter; keep warm. Pour pan juices, a portion at a time, through a fine strainer into a 1- to 2-quart glass measure. Skim off fat. Measure juices and pour into a 4- to 5-quart pan; add broth to make 10 to 12 cups total. Bring broth to a boil. To serve, pour into an attractive tea kettle, pitcher, or tureen.

Slice beef across grain. Offer salt, horseradish, and mustard to add to taste. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Per serving: 302 cal. (40 percent from fat); 39 g protein; 13 g fat (4.7 g sat.); 3.8 g carbo.; 149 mg sodium; 113 mg chol.

Marinated Vegetable Platter
4 or 5 large (about 2 lb. total) leeks
 Dijon dressing (recipe follows)
 About 2 pounds (about 3 large) celery root
1/4 cup reduced-calorie or regular mayonnaise
3 cups (about 10 oz.) shredded carrots
1 large (about 1 1/4 lb.) European cucumber, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 large (16 oz.) and 1 small (8 1/4 oz.) can julienne
beets, drained
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Trim root ends and dark green tops off leeks. Split leeks in half lengthwise; rinse well. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on high heat, bring about 1 inch water to a boil. Add leeks and simmer, uncovered, until tender when pierced, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and immerse in cold water. When cold, drain. Place in a rimmed dish. Moisten with 3 tablespoons of the Dijon dressing.

Trim stems and peel celery root; rinse well. Mix mayonnaise with 6 tablespoons dressing. Coarsely shred enough celery root to make 3 cups; at once, mix with mayonnaise mixture (exposed to air, root quickly discolors).

Mix shredded carrots with 1/2 cup dressing.

Thinly slice cucumber. Mix cucumber with salt; let stand until limp, about 30 minutes. Rinse and drain well. Mix with 1/4 cup dressing.

Mix beets with 1/4 cup dressing.

(If making ahead, cover and chill salads, separately, up to a day.) Arrange on a platter; sprinkle celery root with parsley. Serves 8 to 10. Per serving: 197 cal. (63 percent from fat); 2.3 g protein; 14 g fat (2 g sat.); 18 g carbo.; 417 mg sodium; 1.7 mg chol.

Dijon dressing. Stir together 2/3 cup olive oil, 2/3 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced.

Oranges in Brandy
6 large (about 4 3/4 lb. total) oranges
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed
1 1/2 cups pitted prunes
1 cup plum brandy or regular brandy

Finely shred enough peel from oranges to make 1 tablespoon; set aside.

With a sharp knife, cut peel and white membrane from oranges. Over a bowl, cut between membranes to remove segments; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl. Drain juice from oranges into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan. Cover; chill segments.

To pan add peel, sugar, coriander, and 1 cup water. Stir over high heat to dissolve sugar. Add prunes. Cover; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add brandy. Cool. Gently mix orange segments with prunes. Serve, or cover and chill up to a day. Serves 8 to 10.

Per serving: 237 cal. (1.9 percent from fat); 1.8 g protein; 0.5 g fat (0 g sat.); 51 g carbo.; 1.1 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes; Alsace, France
Author:Anusasananan, Linda Lau
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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