Braising is one of my favorite cooking methods, but, it is time-consuming. What I find really rewarding though is the fact that you can take humble and relatively inexpensive items and make them really special. It’s the magic of long, slow cooking that will elevate those simple ingredients to the level of sublime. And, as the seasons begin to change, braised dishes offer the ultimate in cool-weather comfort food.
This brisket is a recipe I’ve been making for many years. It is from the “New Basics Cookbook” by Julee Rosso and the late Sheila Lukins, the creative duo behind the Silver Palate series. You can adjust the ingredients for the size of your brisket, but the method remains the same: sear the meat, brown the aromatics, add a little liquid, cover tightly, and go about your business for several hours while the transformation occurs. At the end, make your favorite mashed potatoes and serve your family and friends a delicious meal. This braise can be made up to three days ahead and it only improves in flavor with time. Leftovers are just as good too. So gather your ingredients and get started; deliciousness is just a few hours away!
Braised Beef Brisket
- 1 first-cut brisket of beef (about 3 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 medium , yellow onions, thickly sliced
- A generous tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 fat cloves of garlic , coarsely chopped
- 4 to 6 carrots , peeled and cut into chunks.
- Chopped fresh parsley , for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Pat the brisket dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy flameproof casserole, Dutch oven, or skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add the brisket and brown on both sides over medium-high heat. Remove the meat to a dish.
Add the sliced onions to the casserole or skillet and stir and cook until they have softened and browned, about 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and place the brisket, along with any accumulated juices, atop the onions. Now spread the tomato paste over the brisket (as if you were icing a cake). Sprinkle in a little more salt and pepper and add the chopped garlic. Cover tightly and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove the brisket from the oven and transfer to a large cutting board. Slice the meat across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. The meat will not be fully cooked at this point, so don't be alarmed if it looks pink in the center. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them slightly; you are, in effect, re-assembling the brisket. Add a couple of spoonfuls of water, if the casserole seems dry. Add the carrot chunks and distribute them around the meat.
Cover tightly again, and return to the oven. Cook until the meat is brown and meltingly fork-tender, about 1 3/4 to 2 hours. When done, transfer the brisket slices, onions, pan juices, and carrots to a serving dish or platter. Sprinkle with the parsley, if using. Serve with your choice of potato side-dish. Store any leftovers, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.