Easter Sunday Brisket + Butternut Squash Tutorial

My father and my step-mother visited recently, and while she was here, I was able to wrangle her mother’s brisket recipe out of her, much to my great pleasure, having enjoyed when she made it on several occasions. So, since J considers Easter a valid reason to make a nice big dinner, I thought it would be a good excuse to try the recipe. G&T joined us as well and so did L. For appetizer/nibbly bits, G&T brought cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto and blue corn tortilla chips and hummus, as well as some red wine and dessert.

The recipe calls for 4 lbs of beef brisket, sliced onions, black pepper, Heinz chili sauce and bay leaves, and it takes over 4 hours to cook altogether, so I started it early in the afternoon. It takes lots of steps, but it’s worth the effort- it practically melts in your mouth! As well, I made a big tossed garden salad (G helped!), with tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and mixed baby greens, with my homemade vinaigrette dressing, and some brown jasmine rice, cooked in mushroom stock and then tossed with the mushrooms that made the stock, after they were sautéed in olive oil with some garlic and fresh thyme from the garden.

At the same time that I started the brisket, I also baked a butternut squash, which lately has become one of my favorite squashes, much less foods, to my great surprise. Of course, the way I make it, it’s pretty much irresistible:

Mini tutorial: Butternut Squash

  1. Peel and de-seed it and cut it up into small pieces
  2. Layer it in a Pyrex dish with a bunch of sliced pats of butter (almost a stick) and cover liberally with five-spice powder, salt and black pepper.
  3. Bake covered at 350°F for 45 mins or until it falls apart when poked with a fork
  4. Let it cool some, and blend it in a Cuisinart / food processor with a little milk or butter until it reaches the desired consistency
  5. Keep warm for an hour or two before serving… the longer you can let it stand before serving, the more the flavor develops. Reheat before serving if you can’t keep it warm the whole time.

YUM! For dessert, a big creamy peach Boston cream pie/cake concoction. Not the traditional Easter Ham by any means, but who’s complaining? Not like there were any leftovers!

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