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|
|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.