Advent’s Promise of Hope

As the secular year draws to a close, the Liturgical Year begins. Today is the First Sunday of the Advent Season. It marks the beginning of a new Church year as we begin preparations for the coming of our Lord. This year, the First Sunday of Advent shares the spotlight with the First Night of Chanukah.

There are similarities between the two. Both involve tradition, the lighting of candles and an acceptance of faith. Chanukah means “dedication” and marks the rededication of the Holy Temple. The Festival of Lights is both beautiful and moving, rich in tradition. Advent means “arrival” or from a Christian perspective “coming” both in the coming of Christmas and the Second Coming of the Lord.

In our home, Advent is celebrated both in the foods eaten and the lighting of candles in the Advent Wreath. While the foods vary from Sunday to Sunday and from year to year, the theme of celebrating with something special remains the same. After all, Sundays are Feast Days of the Lord.

We gather, light a candle (that remains lit throughout the meal), and begin the evening in prayer. Each of candles of Advent have their own meaning. The First is Hope. Hope always in the Lord.

Opening Prayer: Lord God, Lamb of God
Let Yours blessings come upon us
As we light the candles of this Advent wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a symbol
Of Christ’s promise of eternal salvation.

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Light the first Purple Candle (Hope)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
In the darkness and in the light, Holy is Your Name.
We place our hope in you, Oh Lord,
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Lord

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

1st Sunday of Advent Supper
Wine Braised Brisket
Buttery Herb Potatoes
Roasted Rainbow Carrots

While inspired by the traditions of Chanukah, these recipes are not truly kosher. Nor do I hold them out to be Jewish. I hope you enjoy this feast of the First Sunday of Advent while recognizing the symbolism that comes from our Jewish roots.

Wine Braised Brisket
4 lb Beef Brisket
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
2 medium Yellow Onions
3 Garlic Cloves
3 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary
3 tablespoons Butter divided
2 tablespoons Flour
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 cups Red Wine
2 cups Beef Stock
Parsley for garnish
Thyme for garnish
Rosemary for garnish

Heat oven to 300-degrees. Place Dutch Oven over medium heat on the stove.

Season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Place fat side down in the hot Dutch oven and allow to sear until a deep golden brown, about 6 minutes or so.

Remove the brisket from the pan and turn off the heat. While pan cools down, quarter and peel the onions, set aside. Peel and thinly slice garlic, set aside. Bundle the herbs in cheesecloth. Use kitchen twine to tie closed with enough string to drape over the pot. Set bundle aside.

Once the pan has cooled slightly, add in one tablespoon of butter and stir to melt. Once melted, add in the two tablespoons of flour and stir to create a paste. Continue stirring letting the residual heat from the pan cook the paste until golden brown. If your pan has cooled too much, turn heat back on to low.

Remove the golden brown roux from the pan to a small bowl. Once cooled, cover and refrigerate for later.

Wipe the pan clean of any excess roux. Return the pan to medium heat, add remaining two tablespoons of butter.

Once butter has melted, scatter in the quartered onions and allow to caramelize, about 5 minutes or so. Add the tomato paste and garlic to the pot; stir and let cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour in the wine and beef stock; bring to a boil. Once boiling place brisket, fat side up into the liquid. The top half of the brisket should be above the liquid level. If necessary use onions to elevate brisket. Tuck herb bundle into the liquid. Cover Dutch Oven and place in the heated oven for 3-1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven. Carefully lift out the brisket, place on a cutting board and tent to keep warm. Remove and discard the onions and herb bundle from the braising liquid.

Place the braising liquid over medium heat . Add reserved roux, stirring constantly until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until braising liquid comes to a boil and thicken, about 2 minutes or so.

Slice the brisket, arrange on serving platter. Give a pour of sauce, then snip parsley, sprinkle over brisket. Garnish as desired with sprigs of herbs.

Serve with remaining sauce in a gravy boat to use as desired.

Buttery Herb Potatoes
1 lb small Yukon Gold Potatoes, halved
1 lb small Red Potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon fresh Chives
1 teaspoon fresh Parsley
3 tablespoons Butter
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes, cut in half.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.

While the potatoes cook, chop chives and parsley, set aside.

Drain and return potatoes to the saucepan. Add in the butter, stir to coat. Scatter chives and parsley over buttered potatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots
3 bunches Baby Rainbow Carrots
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Thyme garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. 

Clean carrots, peel carrots and trim. Toss the carrots, with olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Spread out in in a single layer.

Place in the hot oven. Roast, turning once, until tender and slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, strip thyme leaves from stems and set aside.

Transfer roasted carrots to a serving platter. Sprinkle with salt and garnish with thyme.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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