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Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Braised Brisket with Matzo Tart

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


Braised brisket with matzo tart

Brisket is a cut of beef — taken from the breast and fore shank of the animal below the first five ribs. Brisket is usually sold without the bone, and comes in one of two sections: flat cut, with less fat and a higher price, and the point cut. Because it is a tough piece of meat, brisket requires long, slow cooking to break down the connective tissues and the connective muscle that makes it tough. The flavor makes it worth the wait. In this recipe I used the point cut which has more flavor due to a bit of extra fat called the deckel. Brisket can be identified as colder month’s food, however is also very good spring and summer at room temperature if thinly sliced and flavored with extra virgin olive oil and 2 year old Balsamic vinegar.

Braised Brisket


Servings: 8

• 5 lb beef breast (point cut)

• 1 bottle Chianti wine or preferred red

• 1 medium onion, diced

• 1 medium carrot, diced

• 1 stalk celery, diced

• 2 bay leaves

• 1 sprig rosemary

• 5 whole peppercorns, crushed

• 2 ounces unsalted butter

• Potato starch to taste

• 2 cloves of garlic, sliced

• Coarse salt to taste


• 30 minutes preparation + 2 hours and 30 minutes cooking

• Place the meat in a pot, large enough for it to fit snugly. Pour an entire bottle of Chianti on top. Add onion, carrots and celery, the bay leaves and a couple of black peppercorns.

• Let the meat marinate for 24 hours, turning it 3 or 4 times. After marinating, remove the meat from the wine and tie it up using butcher’s twine.

• Place a wide, low pot on the stove. Add the butter and, as soon as it has melted, add the garlic and rosemary. After 2 minutes, add the meat and brown it evenly on all sides, about 5-6 minutes.

• In the meantime, filter the wine from the marinade through a sieve to separate out the herbs and vegetables.

• Season the meat with a pinch of salt, and then baste multiple times with the wine. Cover and cook over medium heat. Use a ladle to skim off the fat from the sauce. Then, thicken the sauce with a couple tablespoons of potato starch dissolved in a little water. After about 3 hours once the meat is cooked (insert fork to check for doneness), cut off the twine and place the meat on a serving dish.

• Carefully slice the braised beef shoulder and serve it with its sauce. You can also pair it with potato puree or soft polenta enhanced with Gorgonzola cheese.

Matzo and onion tart


• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 3 large onions, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)

• 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

• 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• 8 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese (1 cups)

• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

• 5 (6 inch by 6 inch) lightly salted matzo


• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook onion on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

• Add parsley, and cook, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon for about 15 seconds. Remove from heat, and stir in ricotta, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

• Meanwhile, place matzo in a large bowl. Cover with 6 cups water. Add remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain matzo and squeeze most of the water.

• Combine matzo with the onion, eggs and ricotta mixture. Brush with olive oil a cast-iron pan about 9” in diameter. Pour in the mixture and bake at 325F for 30 minutes until dry in the center when a tooth pick is inserted. Cool, and slice in wedges. Serve next to brisket or as a light lunch accompanied by a crispy salad.


Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well”. www.chefwalter.com / http://www.chefwalter.blog.com/


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