Plum Braised Beef Roast is perfect in the summer, when plums are at the height of sweetness and available many places locally. Cooking with the Muse was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This post uses affiliate links to link to items I am discussing.
I would love to swear that my posting is going to get back on track now that I am back in Ohio–but let’s face it, it probably will not be on track until the end of the summer, when we are completely moved into our place in Pittsburgh.
Yes the move is happening–now that I am back from vacation I need to accept that it really and truly is. But I am trying to fit some cooking in all the same. This dish was a no brainer. The publisher sent me a copy of Cooking with the Muse: A Sumptuous Gathering of Seasonal Recipes, Culinary Poetry, and Literary Fare, and I was so excited to discover that–unlike most cookbooks–it included a braised meat dish under the “Summer” section because of the plums. My kind of food!
But first some words about the cookbook. I requested Cooking with the Muse for review as soon as I read about it. I love the intersection of food and literature (truthfully I love the intersection of literature and just about anything). An entire book devoted to recipes inspired by literature, especially literature inspired by food. Heaven. The plentiful dishes (150 recipes are included in the book) are seasonal, globally inspired and sure to inspire any taste buds. The “headnotes” for each recipe include original and reproduced poetry, as well as essays ruminating on the ingredients used and their appearance in literature. Honestly the book is difficult to sum up–but easy to recommend. It is full of color photographs and would make an excellent coffee table book, as well as genuine inspiration in the kitchen. And for the thinking cook, it inspires us to slow down and appreciate what we are working with in the kitchen.
As mentioned I found this Plum Braised Beef Roast in the summer chapter, under a section devoted to plums. It is for Plum Brisket, but I only had chuck, and as I have mentioned I am currently devoted to using up everything in my freezer. Chuck substitutes quite nicely for brisket, although it does not slice as beautifully once done. My main additional change was to add potatoes during the last hour of cooking, which we really enjoyed.
Plums are not an ingredient I reach for very often, and I ended up very grateful that this recipe had me seeking out local plums. Sammy especially went crazy over them. If you are curious, here is one of the poems included for this recipe, reprinted here with permission:
Black horses have a deep blue tint
to their eyes;
in the plum-dark night
they hang in the depths of sleep;
and like the sheen of an equine haunch,
the fruit’s black skin magnetizes touch, misted
veil of questions broken
by the press of my thumb.
I would bite
into this sweet, cool planet, red coal
within, right down
to the hard grooved stone
through flesh as dense
as the gallop of blood in the lungs, pulse
of the heart
within the heart, here under fetlock
and throat-latch of the Horsehead
all thirst and murmur
to savor, rivering the tongue, parting
lips too absorbed to ask,
while consuming the universe,
do I dare?
- 1 whole beef brisket preferably second cut
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons aroma-free coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups thin sauté-sliced onions page 35
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes 13.5 ounce
- 1 cups to 2 beef chicken, or lamb stock, or water
- 2 pounds Italian plums halved and pitted, or 1 cup halved pitted prunes
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Have ready a baking dish or roasting pan large enough to hold the brisket.
Rub the brisket with sumac, mint, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the brisket, fat side down first, until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to the baking dish.
Pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the onions, garlic, and a sprinkling of salt. Cook, scraping up any brown bits back into the onions, until the onions are softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the pomegranate molasses, tomatoes, 1 cup of the stock, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a rapid simmer and cook for 5 minutes to marry the flavors.
Pour the liquidy onions over the brisket. Distribute the plums around the pan along with the bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly with foil and transfer to the oven.
Roast, flipping the brisket every half hour or so, until the meat is completely tender, 3 1/2 to 5 hours, depending on the size. (Test by inserting a fork into the brisket.) If you are using a large roasting pan, add the second cup of stock or water after an hour or so. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Cool, skim any fat off the top, and slice the meat against the grain. Reheat in the gravy to serve.
I played with different backgrounds for this recipe–do you prefer the red accents or the green?
Looking for a fancy collage to pin?
Please put it on my Christmas list!