Slow-cooked brisket with rich goat-cheese polenta underneath.
For the brisket confit:
- 3 lb brisket flat, cut into 2” cubes
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 5 good sprigs fresh thyme
- ¼ tsp paprika (smoked, if you like)
- 4 bay leaves, crumbled
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
- enough light olive oil or rendered fat to cover the meat, about 1 1/2 quarts—we used rendered brisket fat
- 1/2 cup dried polenta or cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 4 oz fresh goat cheese (chevre)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp fresh minced parsley
- Salt to taste
Day before cooking:
- Cut brisket into short-rib sized chunks—about 2″ square.
- Combine salt and dried spices. Toss spice mixture, garlic, fresh thyme, and bay leaves together with beef.
- Place in refrigerator uncovered overnight to cure.
Day of cooking:
Make the confit
- Preheat your oven to 225°F (107°C).
- Lightly rinse the excess salt and spices off the meat, reserving the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and garlic to add to the oil with the meat.
- Heat the oil/fat in a sauté pan or dutch oven large enough to hold the meat comfortably.
- Heat the oil to 200°F (93°C) (verified on your ChefAlarm or with your Thermapen ONE.)
- Add the meat to the oil. If, after all the meat is added, the oil doesn’t cover the meat, add more fat or oil until the meat is submerged.
- Insert a probe into one of the largest pieces of meat, using a pot clip to keep the probe from falling into the hot oil.
- Adding meat to the oil will make the temperature drop dramatically. Heat it some more to bring it back up to 200°F (93°C).
- Place the pot in the oven, running the probe cord out the door to your ChefAlarm.
- Set the high-temp alarm on your Chef Alarm for 203°F (95°C). Cook.
- When the alarm sounds, set a timer for 3 hours. Check the tenderness after that timer sounds.
- If tender, remove the pot from the oven, otherwise cook for another half hour and check again.
- Either let the pot cool, covered, on the counter, until it can be stored in the refrigerator, or serve the meat right away.
- Before serving the meat, brown the cubes in some of the reserved fat in a pan.
To make the polenta:
- When the confit is nearly finished, combine the half-and-half, salt, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil.
- Add the cornmeal while whisking. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often.
- When the polenta thickens, turn down the heat and continue to stir, scraping the edges and bottom of the pan.
- When the polenta is thick and starts to pull away from the edge of the pan, turn off the heat.
- Add the goat cheese and the parsley and stir to combine.
- Add the butter and stir to combine. This will give the polenta a nice glossy sheen.
Serve the confit on a bed of polenta, and rejoice in the warmth of cold-weather food.