Sunday Supper & More

Braised brisket

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
April 13, 2011

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Serves 8 with leftovers

2 flat-cut briskets (8 pounds total), trimmed of excess fat
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 large onions, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
6 medium carrots, cut crosswise into 1-inch-long pieces
3 stalks celery, thickly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups red wine
1 cup water
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes, with their juices, crushed in a bowl

1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Have on hand a large roasting pan (16-by-12 inches with 3-inch-high sides). The briskets will cook side-by-side. You will also need a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

2. Sprinkle the briskets with salt and pepper. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Working with one brisket at a time, brown the meat for 4 minutes on a side. Transfer the meat to the roasting pan.

3. Reduce the heat to medium. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable mixture to the meat. Pour in the wine, water, and tomatoes. Cover with heavy-duty foil. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, turning once, or until a kitchen fork inserted into the meat pierces it easily. Uncover and cool the briskets in the sauce for at least 1 hour. (You can make the briskets up to 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

5. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

6. Transfer the briskets to a cutting board. Set aside 2/3 of one brisket for the casserole. Slice the remaining meat thickly across the grain. Arrange in the baking dish. With a slotted spoon, remove 6 cups of vegetables for the casserole. Surround the meat with the remaining vegetables.

7. Skim the fat from the brisket cooking juices. Set aside 1 1/2 cups cooking juices for the casserole. Spoon some of the remaining juices over the meat and tip the rest into a saucepan.

8. Cover the brisket slices with foil. Cook for 30 minutes or until heated through. Bring the juices in the saucepan to a boil. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if you like. Transfer to a gravy boat and pass separately.

Lisa Zwirn