To Brownie or not to Brownie: a question of chocolate

BY EMMANUEL HESSLER
From the Chocolate Throwdown

Meat Brownie
Photo Credit: Emmanuel Hessler

Every so often, ridiculous men put their heads together. From these unstable and unsustainable moments of collaboration, ideas of exquisite beauty and originality take shape. From the primordial ooze of these men’s minds, a recipe is created, bending the rules of physics as we experience them while flouting the epistemological theories we take for truths. This recipe was J-F’s and my way of expressing to the world that chocolate didn’t have to resign itself to just being chocolate. If Vespas are for driving around in summer, surely the brownie is for being reinvented. I give you our take on the classic brownie.

Ingredients

Braised beef
1.2 kg of beef shoulder
1 1/2 cups reduced veal stock (from the store)
200 ml red wine
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme
Small nub of rosemary
¼ cup of butter
1 big clove of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 French shallot
2 or 3 splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
1 cube of semi-sweet Baker’s Chocolate

Mashed potatoes
6 to 8 big potatoes, peeled and diced
1/8 stick of butter
¼ cup of 35% cream
Cocoa powder (optional)
Salt and pepper

Candied bacon
6 thick slices of bacon (at least 1/8 inch thick)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Schwartz Montreal steak spices

Cherry on top
1 cup of fresh cherries
1-2 cups of Jameson

Meat Brownie

Method

Braised beef

  1. Put wine, stock, thyme, rosemary, French shallots, and cracked pepper in a slow cooker and turn it on. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use an ovenproof dish with a tight-fitted lid. Preheat the oven to 250F.
  2. On the stovetop, melt butter in a pan. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the beef. Braise each side for 2 minutes or till it has a nice dark colour.
  4. Place the meat in slow cooker or oven.
  5. In the pan used to braise the beef, add onions, salt and pepper, brown sugar, and a bit of water to deglaze the meat juices. Cook for 45 minutes on medium-low heat, adding water if need be to keep the onions moist.
  6. Add the caramelized onions to the slow cooker or ovenproof dish.
  7. Cook for 6 hours.
  8. Remove from oven and set meat aside.
  9. Place the meat juices in a pan over medium heat. Add the Baker’s Chocolate and let reduce till you have a thick and dark gravy.

Mashed potatoes

  1. Boil the potatoes till you can easily stick a fork through them. Drain water.
  2. In pan, mash them to desired consistency.
  3. Add the butter and mix until completely melted.
  4. Add the cream. Salt and pepper to taste and add cocoa powder for colour to make it look like chocolate ice cream.

Candied bacon

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and cover the bacon with the mix.
  2. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum paper. Put the bacon slices on it and place in an oven reheated to 325F.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes, flip over and cook for another 15 or 20 minutes or till nice and golden.
  4. Once the candied bacon has cooled down, break it into small pieces.

Cherry on top

  1. For the cherries, cook them over medium heat in the Jameson for 30 minutes.

Assembly

The goal of this dish is to give your guests a visual experience that will completely clash with what happens in their mouth. Therefore you will want to assemble the ingredients together to make them look like a brownie. It is very important that all of your elements be piping hot. Divide the meat into individual portions and place in the middle of the plate (extra ‘brownie’ points if you can make the piece of meat look like a brownie square). Using an ice cream scooper, make balls with the mashed potatoes that you place on the meat. Take a few spoonfuls of chocolate reduction and drizzle over the potatoes and on the plate. Make sure you do not completely cover the potatoes, as this will lessen the visual impact. Sprinkle the small bits of candied bacon over the sauce. Place a single cherry at the very top. Voilà!

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