Brisket with Caramelized Onions and Merlot Sauce

  • 1 first or flat-cut brisket, 4 to 5 pounds
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) plum tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 cups Merlot or other full-bodied red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For the caramelized onions
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup pitted dried cherries

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Season the brisket on all sides with salt and pepper. in a Dutch oven or a large, wide ovenproof pan with a tight-fitting lid, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the brisket and brown well on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and carrot to the pan and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté  until softened, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and juices, 1 cup of the wine and the bay leaf. Mix well and bring to a boil. Return the brisket to the pan, cover and place in the oven.

Cook, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until the brisket is fork tender, about 3 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool in the juices. Carefully life the brisket from the juices and transfer i to a deep platter. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Let the pan juices cool, then pass through a food mill or press through a sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids and refrigerate the juices until ready to use.

Just before serving, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Cut the brisket across the grain into thin slices. Arrange the slices, slightly overlapping, on an ovenproof serving platter. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes to heat through.

Meanwhile, cook the onions: In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. While the onions are cooking, pour the remaining 1 cup wine into a saucepan over high heat. Add ¼ cup of the dried cherries and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed brisket juices and return to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the brisket from the oven. Pour the sauce evenly over the top. Top with the caramelized onions and the remaining ¼ cup dried cherries. Serve immediately.


Recipe type: 

Burrito Meat

  • beef roast
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ⅔ cup Pepsi Cola

Rub the roast (preferably rump roast) with lots of garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Place in crock pot and add the cola. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours, turning occasionally, then low 2 hours.


Recipe type: 

Bœuf Bourguignon

Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 pounds round steak
  • 2 cups (or ½ bottle) zinfandel
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (or ⅓ tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, halved
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut meat into 1 ½ to 2 inch pieces and combine ingredients from wine to ½ tsp salt. Marinate the meat in the mixture —overnight if possible. Drain beef and vegetables separately, reserving liquid. Pat beef dry. Sauté bacon in Dutch oven. Remove bacon, then brown beef in the fat (in batches so it fries, not steams). Remove each batch as it is browned (the inside will still be raw). After finishing with the meat, sauté the vegetables until lightly browned. Add the flour, cook until it is lightly browned (about 1 minute). Return the meat and bacon along with any juices that have accumulated to the pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low until meat is tender—1 ½ to 2 hours. Alternatively, once the mix has come to a boil, place it covered in a preheated 275°F oven (a foolproof way to simmer it). After the meat is done, add the mushrooms and cook another 20 minutes. Add ¼ cup parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over boiled new potatoes.


Recipe type: 

Capellini with Bay Scallops

Serves 4 to 6

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound capellini
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 8 shallots, sliced fine
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup puréed canned plum tomatoes
  • 12 ounces clam juice
  • ½ tsp fennel seed
  • pepper
  • salt

Marinate the bay scallops in the juice of ½ lemon for 30 minutes.

Prepare the sauce first. In a skillet, heat the oil and butter and sauté the shallots until they begin to turn color. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain and sauté the scallops in 1 Tbsp each olive oil and butter over high heat for 3 minutes. Add to the cooked sauce.

Cook the pasta until al dente, and return it to the pot in which it cooked. Add the sauce with the scallops, the parsley, lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and serve immediately.


Recipe type: 

Cheddary Beer Soup

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh cabbage, shredded for coleslaw
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 (10¼ ounce) cans chicken stock
  • ½ cup beer
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups half-and-half, heated
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound fully-cooked smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized chunks

Melt butter in large heavy saucepan. Add onion and cabbage. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until vegetables are translucent.

Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Add broth, beer and mustard. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Add hot half-and-half, cheese and sausage. Warm gently until heated through and cheese melts.

Makes 8 servings.


Recipe type: 

Cheese-Filled Manicotti

  • 1 package (8 oz.) manicotti shells
  • 1 container  (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups (16 oz.) spaghetti sauce

Prepare pasta as directed on package; drain. Rinse with cold water, drain and arrange in single layer to fill. Meanwhile, mix ricotta cheese, 1 ½ cup ricotta cheese

Prepare pasta as directed on package; drain. Rinse with cold water, drain and arrange in single layer to fill. Meanwhile, mix ricotta cheese, 1 ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, the egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Spoon mixture into manicotti shells, using at least ⅓ cup per shell. Place filled manicotti shells in a single layer in greased 13x9–inch baking pan. Pour spaghetti sauce over manicotti shells. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until hot. Makes 4 servings.

Advanced Preparation: Complete all other steps but do not bake. Cover baking dish tightly with plastic wrap; then foil. Freeze up to 2 months. Remove foil and plastic wrap; replace foil. Bake at 350°F for 1 ½ hours or until hot and bubbly.

Per serving: 742 calories, 35g fat, 40g protein, 68g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 1.3g sodium.


Recipe type: 

Chile Cheese Rice Bake

Serves 6

  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded jack cheese
  • ½ cup (2 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Mix everything but cheddar cheese together. Place in greased casserole. Bake at 350°F oven 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.


Recipe type: 


  • 3-4 pounds chuck roast
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 poblano chiles and/or green bell peppers
  • 6 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) can lager-style beer
  • ¼ cup tequila
  • 3-6 chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 cans (14 oz) beef stock
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp masa harina (optional)

The hottest version is with 5 poblano peppers and 6 chipotle chiles. I like it with 5 poblano peppers and 3 chipotle chiles—it’s still definitely spicy but not overwhelming. To reduce the heat further, substitute bell peppers for the poblano chiles. For each poblano chile omitted, add one bell pepper so the total count remains at 5.

Prepare the poblanos or green bell peppers by roasting over an open flame or under a broiler until the skin is blackened, turning the peppers to char the entire skin. Leave the peppers in a paper bag to cool while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. After preparing the other vegetables, peel off the charred skin of the peppers, remove stem and seeds, and dice.

In one bowl combine the onion, garlic, chiles, bell peppers, and chili powder, In a second bowl (small), combine the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, place the tomatoes. In a fourth, dice the chipotles, add the adobo sauce they were in, and add the tequila.

After finishing the prep on all the other ingredients, trim off all the fat and gristle from the chuck roast (save the fat), and dice the chuck roast into small cubes (less than ¼ inch on the side) or grind coarsely. Then, in a broad pan (a chicken fryer works great), place the fat from the chuck roast and heat over medium heat until some of the fat is rendered. Discard the pieces but leave the rendered oil in the pan. Add the beef and sauté over high heat until the pieces are seared on each side and any liquid is gone. There should be dark brown crusty pieces on the meat. Add the bowl containing the onion mixture, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the onions are soft and just barely browning, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cumin mixture, and cook about 30 seconds, until the spices are fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat for 1 minute, until the tomatoes have softened. Add the beer and the tequila mixture, and deglaze the pan. If your pan is getting full, transfer the mixture to a dutch oven for the rest of the cooking time.

Add the cans of beef stock, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes too thick, add water to thin.

Taste for salt, then, if you want it thicker, turn the heat up to a slow boil, add 4 Tbsp masa harina and stir to combine. More masa can be added if needed.


Recipe type: 

Chili (per Beth)

Serves 6

  • 2 lbs. hamburger (I use lean.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large can tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 oz.) pinto beans
  • 1 small can tomato paste or 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder (to taste)
  • ½ tsp black pepper (to taste)

Brown meat, onion, and bell pepper until meat is brown. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes with juice, beans with juice, sauce or paste, salt, chili powder, and pepper. Add 2-3 cans water to desired thickness. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes while cooking cornbread!


Recipe type: 

Chili (per Rory)

Serves 4

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 can pinto beans (or cook up 1 c dried pinto beans)
  • 1 (2 lb) can tomatoes
  • ½ lb bell pepper
  • ½ lb onion
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1–2 cloves garlic
  • 5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • black pepper
  • 1/8–¼ tsp dried red chili peppers, crushed

Brown meat with chopped bell pepper and chopped onion and crushed garlic. Drain most of the fat. Add spices. Cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Add flour and let it brown. Add cooked beans and tomatoes and cook until flavors blend. If more liquid is needed, add bean liquid.

Instead of flour, can use masa flour (masa harina) for thickening. If so, wait until chili is done, then add and simmer for a few minutes until thickened.


Recipe type: 


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