Sunday Dinners

It's a Brisket kind of day. Well, to me, most Sundays in the winter are Brisket kind of days. Dinner that I can put in the oven and forget about. We can go sledding, curl up with a book, or even get some quilting in and I have to do nothing but boil and mash potatoes close to dinner time. Then, when we sit down to eat, it feels like I put a good effort in because we have this rich, comforting dinner.

For those of you who may not know, A Month of Sundays includes recipes for a full Sunday dinner. It was really important to me to have the recipes in the book. For one, food is an important aspect of my life. I love to cook, I put myself through school, in part, by cooking, and working as a food writer is how my books came to be. Food and writing about food is just a fundamental part of me.

Secondly, I strongly believe in the power of the family meal. Sitting down together, whether it is over something as simple as bread and cheese or as big as the Sunday dinner is one of the best ways to be as a family. In our house dinners are loud, messy, and sometimes frustrating, but it is the moment when we all take a breath and just be. And we do that together. The girls open up about their day, The Garbage Truck opens his mouth and shovels it all in, my Husband and I decompress a little together. Whether it is wine or milk, we drink in the company and the conversations.

Finally, food, good food, is just damn good. And taking the time to make good food is always worth it. Even if it means a little less quilting time on the weekends.

Our dining room table sees all our dinners. It is where I wrote both books, where I quilted everything until this past year. It is even where all three of our kids spent the first six months of their lives sleeping. My life really is ruled from the Dining Room Empire.

I nearly put a Brisket recipe in the book. This is the one I make often, the one my family asks for. And if they don't ask for it there is often a little involuntary jump and clapping of hands when they realize what we're having. Usually after the smell hits them when they come in the door. It is dead easy. Brisket is a cut of meat that needs to be braised - cooked long and low in liquids. At the end of the afternoon it is fall apart tender and full of flavour. If you have any sauce left after dinner use it for Monday leftovers on pasta, meat optional.

Maple Cider Brisket
Serves 4-6 (depending on appetite)

1 large onion
1tbsp bacon drippings or oil
5 cloves garlic
2 1/2 - 3 pounds beef brisket
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup tomato sauce or 1 large tomato chopped
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 water or broth
1 tbsp dijon mustard

Cut the onion in half then slice into strips. Heat the bacon drippings or oil in a large oven proof pan with a tight fitting lid, like a braiser or a dutch oven. (If you don't have a pan that fits the bill, use what you have and transfer everything to a baking dish that you can cover with foil.) Cook the onions for 5-6 minutes until soft and slightly golden.

While the onions are cooking finely chop 3 cloves of garlic. Thinly slice the remaining two cloves. Cut slits all over the brisket and poke the garlic slices into them. Season the brisket well with salt and pepper. Set the brisket aside for the time being.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the onions are soft, stir in the chopped garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Add the brisket to the sauce. Cover with the lid of  the pan and place in the oven. Braise for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 275 degrees F and continue to braise for 4 hours.

Let the meat rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the sauce.

This is the last post for entering the giveaways which will come next week. Think books, fabric, and treats. 

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