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Squab & Brisket with Favas, Plums & Smoke

Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Nick Sullivan / May 2011

For 4 servings

Brisket:
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 1 beef brisket, trimmed into 1 lb. slice
• 2 Tbsps. canola oil
• 1 sm. onion, cut into sm. dice
• 1/2 cup chicken or beef stock
• 3 oz. sun-dried tomatoes
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tsps. cider vinegar
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
• 1 tsp. brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp. peppercorns
• 2 bay leaves

  1. Season brisket; reserve.
  2. Heat oil in cast-iron skillet set over high heat; add brisket; cook, turning, until brown on all sides; remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
  3. Place brisket in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; add remaining ingredients; vacuum seal; cook sous-vide, maintaining water temperature at 152°F, 24 hours; remove from water bath; remove from bag; cut into 4 oz. slices; reserve.
  4. Strain liquid through fine chinois into clean saucepan; bring to a boil; cook until reduced to syrup consistency; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

Squab:
• 2 squabs, breasts and legs removed
• 1 cup chicken stock
• salt
• black pepper, freshly ground
• 2 Tbsps. olive oil
• 1 lb. fava beans, shelled, blanched, and skins removed
• 1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1 tsp. thyme, roughly chopped

  1. Bone breasts; reserve.
  2. Place legs and stock in large pot set over medium-low heat; cover with tight-fitting lid; cook 30 minutes; remove from heat; remove legs from liquid; place on serving platter; season; shred; reserve (keep warm).
  3. Heat oil in large sauté pan set over medium heat; add fava beans and onion; cook until onions are translucent (4 to 5 minutes); add wine and 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil; reduce until pan is almost dry; stir in butter and thyme; remove from heat; place in a blender, reserving a few fava beans for serving; blend until ingredients are just incorporated and still chunky; season; place in airtight container; reserve.

Smoke fluid gel:
• 2 cups ice
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 1/4 tsps. agar-agar
• 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (see note below)

  1. Heat a smoker.
  2. Place ice in hotel pan; smoke until melted halfway; remove from smoker; add sugar and salt; let stand until melted; whisk in agar-agar; pour in saucepan; bring to a boil; pour into clean hotel pan; let stand until set (about 20 minutes).
  3. Place gel in a blender; blend until smooth; with motor running, add xanthan gum; blend 1 minute; place in squeeze bottle; reserve.

Assembly:
• 2 1/4 cups damson plums, halved and pitted
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 1/4 tsps. Ultratex 3 (see note below)
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 2 Tbsps. peanut oil
• cilantro leaves (for serving)
• pickled shallots (for serving)
• micro greens (for serving)

  1. Place plums and sugar in a vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; vacuum seal; cook sous-vide, maintaining water temperature at 185°F, 30 minutes; remove from water bath; remove from bag; place in blender; blend until very smooth; add Ultratex and salt; blend 1 minute; place in squeeze bottle; reserve.
  2. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat; add reserved brisket slices in batches; cook, turning halfway through, until brown on all sides; remove from heat; place on paper towels to drain; reserve (keep warm).
  3. Add squab breasts skin side down to pan; cook until brown; turn off heat; flip; cook 1 minute; remove from heat; place on paper towels to drain; reserve (keep warm).
  4. To serve, place a slice of brisket 2/3 down on left side of each serving plate; spoon a little braising sauce just above brisket; spoon fava bean puree in a line, starting at brisket and running along bottom 2/3 of plate; sprinkle brisket and puree with cilantro, shallots, and micro greens; place a small mound of leg meat on top 1/3 of the right side of each plate just above puree; top each mound with half a squab breast; spoon a little braising sauce over top; add dots of plum and smoke gels along puree line to garnish.

What to drink: Blackbird Illustration Napa Valley 2007

Food Arts note: Xanthan gum and Ultratex 3 can be purchased online at www.willpowder.net or lepicerie.com.