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Playing Richard Blais' Corned Beef on Rye with Sauce Maria Rosa & Brussels Kraut


For the brine
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 12 juniper berries, crushed
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the brisket
  • 1 flat-cut beef brisket, fat cap intact (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
For the sandwiches
  • 1/4 cup Pastrami Mustard
  • 8 thick slices rye bread or pumpernickel-rye swirl
  • 1 cup Brussels Kraut
  • 8 cornichons, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup Sauce Maria Rosa
For the Sauce Maria Rosa
  • 2/3 cups aioli or good-quality store-bought mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup San Marzano Ketchup or store-bought ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Cholula
  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the San Marzano Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes in juice, crushed with your hands
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice


Serves: 4 sandwiches with leftover meat


To brine the brisket: In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of the water with the brown sugar, salt, garlic, juniper, cloves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, allspice berries, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt; remove from the heat and let cool.

Put the brisket in a heavy-duty gallon-sized resalable plastic bag or a large nonreactive container. Pour the cooled brine over it and add the remaining 8 cups of water. Refrigerate the brisket in the brine for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

To cook the brisket: Put the onion, carrot, and celery into a stockpot. Remove the brisket from the brine, rinse it well under cold water, and place it on top of the vegetables. Pour in enough water to cover, and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the brisket is fork-tender, about 4 hours. Remove the brisket from the pot and let cool slightly.

To make the sandwiches: Very thinly slice about 24 slices of the brisket (see note). Spread 1 tablespoon pastrami mustard on 4 of the bread slices. Pile about 6 slices of brisket on each slice, followed by 1/4 cup Brussels Kraut and some cornichon slices. Spread 1 tablespoon of the sauce on each remaining bread slice and top the sandwiches with them. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally and serve.

NOTE: Leftover brisket, once cooled, can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored in a re-sealable food storage bag with some of the cooking liquid and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Leftovers can be made into corned beef hash.

For the Sauce Maria Rosa:

In a small bowl, whisk the aioli, ketchup, cilantro, lime zest and juice, Cholula, Worcestershire, salt and pepper together until well combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 1 cup.

For the San Marzano Ketchup:

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to deepen in color and caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue cooking, stirring often, for another 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar, tomatoes, soy sauce, salt, chile powder, mustard, cloves and allspice, and stir well to combine. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a thick, ketchup-like consistency, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and pure until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and pass the ketchup through it, pressing on the solids with a rubber spatula or a spoon to push through any large pieces. Let cool completely, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

NOTE: If you add some prepared ketchup to the puree (1/4 cup), the emulsifiers in the store-bought stuff will make your ketchup a bit closer to what most people find textually acceptable for something called a ketchup. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.