Brisket alla Vaccinara is my interpretation of a classic Roman dish that is originally made with oxtail. A meat recipe that is remarkable for the use of chocolate, raisins and pine nuts.
I have not yet acquired a taste for the gelatinous oxtail, so when I make Coda alla Vaccinara I substitute the bony tail meat for brisket that after hours of slow cooking becomes deliciously moist and so tender it can be cut with a fork.
The recipe originally derives from rione Regola around Piazza Farnese in Rome, where there are allegedly two schools of preparation. One with chocolate, raisins and pine nuts that echoes the Roman way to serve spinach, while the other is based on a traditional soffritto of chopped onion, garlic, bacon, carrot, celery and parsley. This brisket alla vaccinara is the chocolate version.
1 kg brisket
1 clove of garlic
50 g bacon
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
1 glass of red wine
1 glass of beef stock
250 ml tomato paste
Olive oil, salt and pepper
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
30 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp pine nuts
Fry the chopped bacon in oliveoil until most of the fat has melted.
Peel and chop onions and garlic and add them to the fry.
Brown the brisket on all sides before drowning it in red wine.
Let the alcohol evaporate, the add beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary.
Leave the brisket alla vaccinara to simmer for about an hour.
Start tasting for salt and pepper 10 minutes before dinner should be served.
Stir in grated nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate, raisins and pine nuts.
Let the ingredients get used to each other’s company for another 10 minutes of simmering over low heat.
Serve the brisket alla vaccinara with mashed potatoes and wait for the applause.