Friday, August 17, 2012

Leftovers Love: Brisket and Black Beans Over Farfalle With Avocado

Oftentimes, the thought of reheating an unfinished restaurant meal at home is only slightly more appetizing the thought of than regurgitating the part you did finish. Sloshing around in its to-go container, your perfectly plated entrée invariably gets caught in a landslide of crap and is no longer enticing. But I’m a believer in extricating the protein from said landslide and giving it a new life as a supporting player in a whole new dish.

This simple meal is effectively just a pseudo-Mexican spin on pork and beans, but I think it’s worth chronicling because it’s a good illustration of two of our core BGC philosophies: (1) There’s always a good meal waiting in your kitchen if you keep the right staples on hand, and (2) There’s always something interesting to do with leftovers. Also, it was really quite delicious. And it cost just $1 in new ingredients—for the bunch of cilantro, which I actually used only a fraction of, so it was more like 25 cents of new ingredients. As per (2) above, it behooves you to always keep on hand onions, garlic, pasta, and tomatoes in fresh or canned form.

First I sautéed some sliced red onion over medium-low heat in butter and a bit of olive oil. Then I tossed/mixed in a bunch of minced garlic, followed by some quartered grape tomatoes and a rinsed/drained can of black beans. While this cooked for a few minutes, I took a brick of brisket left over from a recent excellent dinner at Watty & Meg and shredded it into strips.

After those few minutes were up, I added a few ounces of beer (I usually refrigerate or freeze the tail end of a bottle when The Rob falls asleep before finishing it) to the beans mixture; turned up the heat to high and brought it to a high simmer; and then turned down the heat to low and added the brisket, 1 TBSP (okay, a packet) of stone-ground mustard, and a drizzle of adobe sauce from a can of chipotles that had already been decanted into a jar in the fridge.

I cooked this on low for maybe 5 minutes before turning off the heat and mixing in a small handful of chopped fresh cilantro. Then I spread it over some farfalle, or bow-tie, pasta (I boiled the 25% left in the box after making a main course pasta for two, which was plenty). I garnished with shredded chipotle gouda, more chopped cilantro, and a sliced, salted half an avocado that was about as beautifully ripened as you can get in the Northeast.

This meal is proof that leftovers were meant to be savored—as is the rerun of “SVU” that I watched while eating it. And I hope you will take this post to heart much as Ice-T did guest star Ludacris’s poignant monologue blasting him for not being there for his gay son. If only I could close with the “DUN-dun” sound as a kicker.

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