Stever Kerzner and culinary student stirring pots at the stove.

Three Dishes, One Late-Winter Meal from Chef Stephen Kerzner

With the variety of ingredients available through “Schoharie Fresh” Online Farmers’ Market, and at the Carriage House Café and General Store, you do not need to be a professional chef to create a meal every night of the week, in every season of the year. If you happen to be a chef, and an instructor in SUNY Cobleskill’s Culinary Arts Program, you have a bit of an advantage.

Chef Stephen Kerzner has those advantages, though for home cooks he has designed a late-winter meal made from ingredients available at SUNY Cobleskill. While winter freezes local crops, many, like potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and celery, are available throughout the winter, resulting in a variety of side dish possibilities to pair with a beef brisket, pasture-raised and available on SchoharieFresh.com.

“Beef brisket has a lot of marbling,” says Chef Kerzner, making it one of his favorite cuts. Seared until brown before it is braised, and finished with a full-bodied red wine, Chef Kerzner’s recipe calls for an untrimmed brisket, generous seasoning, and approximately four hours total cooking time.

To accompany his brisket, Chef Kerzner suggests Delmonico Potatoes, created at the New York City eatery of the same name, and Brussels sprouts prepared with brown sugar and bacon.

“Delmonico potatoes are very cheesy and rich, with a crispy top,” says Chef Kerzner. “When the brisket goes on top, the potatoes soak in the juices.”

Brussels sprouts with bacon and brown sugar cut the brisket’s acidity. As important as cooking the vegetable, says Chef Kerzner, is “shocking” the Brussels sprouts in ice water as soon as they become fork-tender. “This stops the cooking and keeps them green,” he says, noting Brussels sprouts’ potential to mush.

Chef Kerzner’s recipe calls for dark brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, covering the Brussels sprouts with a sweet coating.

Feature photo: Chef Instructor Stephen Kerzner (background) has created a late-winter meal made from ingredients found here at SUNY Cobleskill.


Chef Kerzner’s Red Wine Braised Brisket

10-12 Portions

  • 1 5-lb. untrimmed, flat-cut brisket
  • Kosher salt, ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 Tbl. tomato paste
  • 1 750-ml bottle full-bodied red wine
  • 8 small carrots

Preparation

  • Preheat oven, 350 degrees. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook brisket, turning occasionally, until browned all over, eight to 10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Pour off fat from pot; discard.
  • Place onions, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine in pot and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top, fat side up. Cover and braise in oven, spooning juices, onions, and tomatoes over brisket every 30 minutes, until meat is fork-tender, three to three and a half hours.
  • Uncover pot, nestle carrots around brisket, and cook until tender, top of brisket is browned and crisp, and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Remove brisket from pot and slice against the grain to serve.
  • If not serving immediately, transfer brisket to a large bowl and pour braising liquid over; let cool in sauce. Cover and chill, at least four hours and up to four days. To serve, preheat oven, 325 degrees. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Cover and reheat brisket in sauce, one to one and a half hours.

Delmonico Potatoes

8 Portions

  • 2 lbs. potatoes, hash-browned
  • 8 oz. cheese, cubed if possible (many varieties of cheese work for this recipe)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbs. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Peel and shred potatoes. Place in a large bowl, filled with cold water, until water becomes cloudy. Drain; pat potatoes dry with paper towel; cover.
  • Heat 3 Tbs. butter over medium. Sprinkle potatoes into melting butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are brown and crusted, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • In separate pan, heat remaining butter and cheese over medium-low, until melted. Blend in half-and-half.
  • Preheat oven, 350 degrees. Place potatoes in baking dish, approx. 13 x 9-in.
  • Pour cheese mixture over potatoes, cover with foil, and bake, approx. 45 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Remove foil. Bake an additional 15 minutes if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

Brown Sugar-Bacon Brussels Sprouts

2 Portions

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 5 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2-4 Tbs. brown sugar (dark or light, though Chef Kerzner prefers dark)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper as-needed

Preparation

  • Cut off the root-ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any outer leaves; halve.
  • In a large skillet, render fat from bacon over low to medium-low heat. Once fat has mostly melted down, turn up heat and brown until caramelized and crunchy. Set aside to drain on paper towel. Remove all but two Tbs. of bacon fat from pan.
  • In same skillet, add Brussels and let caramelize on one side. Deglaze pan with the balsamic vinegar, using a spatula to scrape up any brown bits. Incorporate them with Brussels. Continue to sauté Brussels on high heat for a few minutes, shaking pan, until they soften a bit. Add bacon back to pan with two Tbs. of the brown sugar. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved and evenly coats the Brussels.
  • Taste; add remaining brown sugar if desired, allowing it to dissolve before removing pan from the heat. Add Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.