Monday, September 27, 2010

Oktoberfest on the Harbor

The weather was absolutely gorgeous for our Oktoberfest picnic at Bayview Park, a refreshing change of scenery from our Concerts in the Park venue. Temperatures soared in the high 80s, and above 100 inland, as Coronado attempted to make amends for a cool and cloudy summer.

Hillari, sporting lederhosen, and Olivia

Kai, soaking up the warm afternoon sun

Kai's parents, Armin and Ursula, are visiting from Germany.  Happy Birthday, Armin!

We drank a little wine and beer, and multiple shots of Berentzen's Apple liqueur and Jägermeister

Sparks taking a stroll, with the USS Ronald Reagan, moored at NAS North Island, in the background

The setting sun illuminating Paperbark trees

Once again, our picnic table was overflowing with incredible food.  Leftovers were enjoyed by all, the next evening, after a day at the Coronado Classic Speed Festival.

Oktoberfest Menu
Homemade Pretzels
Salad Ala Pammy
Brisket Braised in Porter
Spaetzle with Roasted Butternut Squash
Pork Knuckles and Pork Roast, with Sauerkraut
Dumplings and Gravy
Knight Salumi Sausage
Pork Schnitzel
Black Forest Cake
Milka Chocolate Bars

This Brisket Braised in Porter was melt-in-your-mouth tender and loaded with rich flavor. Although we chose to feature it in our Oktoberfest menu, this is the ultimate Sunday supper. It's best made the day before, and then only requires about an hour of reheating. John's Spaetzel accompanied it beautifully, but you could also serve mashed potatoes, pasta, polenta, or rice. The recipe does require close to four hours of cooking time, plus another hour to cool before refrigerating, on Day 1. Simply start it on a Saturday while you're home for the morning or afternoon, and finish it off for Sunday evening. It tasted even better, if that's possible, on Day 3!

Brisket Braised in Porter
Slightly adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2009

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard (such as Colman's)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 6-pound flat-cut brisket, trimmed but with some fat still attached
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat or olive oil
3 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
20 ounces bottle porter or stout, divided (I used a German dark beer)
12 whole pitted prunes
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
6 cups thinly sliced onions (2 1/2 pounds)
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 pound brown mushrooms, sliced
1 pound medium carrots, peeled, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon malt vinegar

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.

Mix first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Rub herb mixture all over brisket.

Heat bacon fat in heavy extra-large wide ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add brisket to pot and cook until deep brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to platter or rimmed baking sheet.

Add 2 cups broth to pot and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Stir in 12 ounces beer, prunes, bay leaves, and brown sugar; bring to boil.

Return brisket to pot, fat side down; scatter onion slices over to cover meat, then add garlic. Cover pot; place in oven and braise brisket 1 hour.

Remove pot from oven; uncover and turn brisket over so that onion slices fall into liquid in pot. Return pot to oven and braise uncovered 30 minutes.

Remove pot from oven and add 1 cup broth. Cover and bake 1 hour 30 minutes longer.

Transfer brisket to platter or rimmed baking sheet; add 1 more cup beer to liquid in pot, then add mushrooms and carrots. Return brisket to pot. Cover and return to oven; braise until meat and carrots are very tender, about 45 minutes longer.

Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled at least 1 day and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spoon off any fat from surface of brisket pan juices and discard. Transfer brisket to cutting board. Thinly slice brisket across grain. Place brisket slices in large roasting pan (I continued using the same dutch oven).

Bring pan juices with vegetables to boil. Whisk in mustard and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinegar by teaspoonfuls, if desired.

Add brisket slices back to braising liquid, making sure they are submerged. Cover roasting pan tightly with heavy-duty foil (or put lid back on dutch oven) and cook in oven until brisket slices and vegetables are heated through, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Serve meat with vegetables and sauce.


I attempted Passionate About Baking's Swiss Black Forest Cake, which was adapted minimally from The Cake Bible, as an Oktoberfest birthday cake for my mom's and Armin's birthday celebration. Unfortunately, what should have been Moist Chocolate Genoise was a bit dry and dense...but it sure looked pretty! After the fact, I found this Gourmet Video demonstrating the technique for preparing the perfect genoise.  I don't think I whipped enough air into my batter and that's where things went South.

Happy Birthday, Mom...let's go birthday shopping!


Mom said...

Spectacular photography, gorgeous day, amazing Oktoberfest food, great group, fun and entertaining, and absolutely no apologies necessary for that delicious and beautiful Black Forest Cake! I savored every bite of that melt-in-your-mouth braised brisket, along with all of the Oktoberfest dishes which were awesome. Thanks for a delightful day.

bunkycooks said...

Another beautiful spread! I love the cake. Deeba's baked goods are always so spectacular. When's the next shindig?

Carmen said...

So sorry to have missed Oktoberfest! Everything looks great! Happy Birthday Carolyn!

Nina said...

Mouth watering delights in a dreamy landscape. I'm in heaven! Reading this post is almost as much of a joy as being there.