When feeding the most powerful man in the free world, there needs to be a little cache beside the chef’s name. Frank Ruta, chef at Georgetown’s The Grill Room in the Capella Hotel and a former White House chef, has received that recognition.
First Lady Rosalynn Carter first ushered Frank into the White House when he was 21. Among his stints at different restaurants both at home and abroad, he served as the assistant chef for Jimmy Carter and the personal lunch and dinner chef as well as the executive sous–chef for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He started his own restaurant, Palena, in 2000, before moving to The Grill Room in January.
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Want a first class White House meal at home? Follow Frank's recipe below for a meal fit for the president.
FRANK RUTA'S BEEF BRISKET POT ROAST
5 pounds beef brisket, trimmed, fat removed
2 large onions, cut into julienne
2 quarts beef stock*
8 ribs celery, peeled and cut into julienne
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter
1 nice bunch fresh thyme
3 teaspoons tomato paste
4-5 bay leaves
10 ounces beer (IPA style)
5-6 cloves of garlic peeled
1 tablespoon honey
3 cups reserved cooking liquid
Up to three days before the dinner:
Season the brisket generously with salt and black pepper. Place in a zip lock bag along with the thyme, garlic and bay leaves. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag. Place in a pan and refrigerate until the day before the dinner.
The day before the dinner:
Place the brisket in a soup pot, along with the garlic, bay and thyme. Cover with the stock, bring to a boil and lower the heat until the poaching liquid is barely bubbling. Taste the liquid for salt and adjust to taste. Simmer until completely tender, about 3.5 hours. After that time, carefully remove the meat from the liquid and place on a sheet pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.
The day of the dinner:
Preheat oven to 300F. Heat the measured amount of stock and beer in a pot (reserve the remaining stock for another use). Melt the butter in a saucepan and allow to sizzle, add in the flour and cook until light brown and nutty smelling. Add the honey and tomato paste. Stir around for a minute or two. Carefully whisk in the stock and beer, avoid any lumps. Bring to a boil and add the onions and celery. Cover and allow to simmer until the onions are tender.
Meanwhile, cut the brisket into 10 individual serving portions and divide into 2 ovenproof serving dishes. When the onions are tender, spoon the sauce evenly over the pot roast. Place the pot roast in the oven and allow to heat through, basting from time to time and allow to caramelize slightly.
For the true experience, Frank suggests serving with roasted carrots, garnished with chives and herbs and placed around Yorkshire Pudding.