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This recipe is based on the beef carbonnade recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl,


  • 1.5 lb beef brisket*
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 pint Guinness (substitute if you dare!)
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf

Preheat oven to 350F.
Brown beef in a large oven-proof skillet with a tight-fitting lid (I used cast iron). Remove beef from pan, and add onions. Saute until golden. Remove half of onions, return
beef to the pan, and put the onions on top of the beef. Add remaining ingredients, cover, and put in oven. Braise for 3 hours. Check from time to time to make sure the liquid hasn’t boiled away; add water as needed. The original recipe suggested that it is better if refrigerated for 2 days before serving. I made it ahead of time, so I can’t compare. If you do make ahead, reheat 30 mins to an hour at 350F.

*The cut of beef I used was labeled “brisket” but I’m pretty sure it was really a flank steak.


I’ve only had a very few outstanding sandwiches in my life–the Vietnamese grilled pork on baguette at Pho Que Huong on Green Springs, and the Cuban steak sandwich from Little Miami in Lake City, Florida–and this is one of them. The combination of fresh bread, salad, yogurt, feta, and meat is sublime. As an added bonus, the leftover spread can be thinned with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some lemon juice to make a great salad dressing for the remaining romaine and feta.

For the spread:

  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
  • 3 heaping Tbs Greek-style yogurt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the sandwich:

  • 4 pita breads
  • 4 large leaves romaine lettuce, torn in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, coarse chiffonade
  • Sliced meat (we used steak, but grilled pork would also be good)

Combine all spread ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and mix with a fork. In each pita, put a schmear of spread, then add a couple of slices of meat, some cucumber, mint, and a lettuce leaf. Yum! (I’ve read that a couple of slices of tomato and red onion make a fine vegetarian version, but haven’t confirmed.)