Cafe Society

What's Cooking? Pete Marczyk pushes brisket and bacon au gratin potatoes

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them, and cook up a feast.

For this week's recipes -- bacon au gratin potatoes and beef brisket -- Pete and Barb enlisted the talents of Brian Bourgault, the kitchen captain at Marczyk's. "These are two dishes that Brian made for a customer, but they are so delish that we have them in the prepared case all the time," says Pete. The brisket, he admits, "is a bit of a long process, but cooking is a labor of love, oui?"

Bacon au gratin potatoes

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8" thick 1 pint milk 1 pint heavy cream ½ tablespoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon nutmeg 6 ounces Emmental cheese, grated 4 ounces Parmesan, grated ½ pound bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled 3 ounces breadcrumbs 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin 1 tablespoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan with cold milk and bring to a boil. 3. Meanwhile, heat heavy cream in a separate pan with salt, pepper and nutmeg, being careful not to scorch. 4. Add the mixture to the potatoes and milk, reduce to simmer, stir gently, and cook until milk and cream are thickened and potatoes are fork-tested tender. 5. Put one layer of potatoes into a greased one quart casserole dish. (You'll have three layers total). 6. Sprinkle the two cheeses over the top of the first layer and 1/3 of the crumbled bacon. Layer potatoes, cheeses, and bacon again. Add the last layer, pour any leftover cream sauce on top, place the onions, bread crumbs, and paprika on top, and bake, loosely covered with foil, in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 15 minutes to brown.

Beef Brisket

First, make the rub:

4 tablespoons onion powder 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon paprika 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon salt

1 6-pound beef brisket, rubbed with spice mixture

Smoke the brisket, fat side up, in a 200-degree over for 4 hours.


1 tablespoon grapeseed oil 1 yellow onion, peeled and julienned 4 garlic cloves, whole 8 ounces tomato paste 2 cans beer 1 quart beef stock 1 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cayenne 1 tablespoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees 2. Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring, until the onions are brown and melt-y. 3. Add whole garlic cloves, lower the heat, stir and cook for 10 minutes. 4. Add tomato paste and beer and stir. 5. Place the brisket and stock in a large roasting pan. 6. Cover tightly with foil and braise the brisket in a 300-degree oven for three hours. 7. Transfer brisket to a cutting block and let rest 30 minutes. 8. Pour leftover liquid into a saucepan and bring to simmer. 9. Add brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. 10. Let the sauce cool and then blend in a food processor. 11. Slice brisket thinly across the grain and serve with sauce.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Who's Drinking with Pete.