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The Cooking Edge - Yanked, again!

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Below, find two recipes to which I've added a Yankee flair. Not only are they simple, but with the addition of apples, cider, brown sugar and cranberries these dishes are transformed into aromatic centerpieces that will undoubtedly whet your appetite.

Beef brisket with savory sauted apples

The brisket is the cut of meat removed from beneath the first five ribs. It is one of the toughest cuts, so patience and time are key to cooking this meat. Don't hurry it!

1 boneless beef brisket, flat cut (2-1/2 to 3-1/2 lbs.)
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped, divided
1 lg. clove garlic, minced
1 c. apple cider
2 T. butter or margarine
5 c. sliced unpeeled apples
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
2 T. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place brisket in stockpot; brown evenly. Remove brisket; season with salt and pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup onion. Add remaining onion and garlic to stockpot. Cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Return brisket, fat side up, to stockpot. Add apple cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until brisket is fork-tender.

Meanwhile, heat butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted. Add apples and reserved onion; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until apples are just tender. Add cranberries and brown sugar; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until cranberries are tender and juices are thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in walnuts. Remove cooked brisket from stockpot; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Bring cooking liquid to a boil. Cook, uncovered and over high heat, 10 to 12 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Carve brisket diagonally across the grain into thin slices after letting it rest at least 20 minutes. Serve with reduced cooking liquid and apple mixture in your own style.

Pot roast with cider-maple gravy and mashed butternut squash

Whether you call it "Pot au Feu" or Bollito Misto," pot roast was perfected here in New England. Classical Yankee pot roast should have vegetables added about halfway through the cooking, but here I am just adding the squash that is cooked separately.

1 beef top or bottom round roast (3 to 4 lb.)
3/4 t. pepper
4 t. olive oil, divided
1 t. salt
1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 1/2 c. apple cider
2 medium butternut squash, cut lengthwise in half, seeded
5 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c. water
1/4 c. real maple syrup

Press pepper evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Place roast in stockpot; brown evenly. Pour off drippings. Season roast with salt. Add broth and cider; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover tightly and simmer 2-1/2 to 3-1/4 hours or until roast is fork-tender.

Heat oven to 375 F. Brush cut sides of squash halves with remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Place squash, cut sides down, on metal baking sheet. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until fork-tender. Cool slightly. Scoop squash flesh into large bowl; discard shells or use for serving, if desired. Mash squash with back of spoon or fork until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper, as desired; keep warm. Remove roast; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Stir in cornstarch mixture and maple syrup; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Carve roast into thin slices. Serve with gravy and squash.

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