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Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Tisket, A Brisket

After a long summer of grilling, the sun is setting a little earlier and brisket is back on the menu.  Usually my inaugural brisket happens in September, as we Jews ring in the "New Year".  What better reason than a holiday to pull out the dutch oven?

The great thing about brisket is that you really can't overcook it.  In fact, the longer you cook it, the more mouthwateringly delicious it becomes.  All you need is time and even a neophyte in the kitchen can produce a brisket worth celebrating with.

This is a new brisket recipe for me.  There's really nothing special about the ingredients or the method, but I have to tell you, this was one absolutely delicious brisket.  I think it's all in the cooking.  This brisket cooks for a hella long time -- about 3 1/2 hours to be exact.  But it's worth it.  The end result is tender, but not stringy or falling apart, and the onion jus is to die for.

Because I'm disorganized, I didn't get this recipe posted in time for Rosh Hashanah, but not to worry. This brisket will make any dinner feel festive.

Recipe:  Nach Waxman's Brisket of Beef
Genius Recipes, Food 52

Serves 10 to 12

1 6-pound first-cut (a.k.a. flat-cut) beef brisket, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
1 to 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (or matzoh meal)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons corn oil (or other neutral oil)
8 medium onions, peeled and thickly sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Kosher salt
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1 carrot, peeled


Heat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly dust the brisket with flour, then sprinkle with pepper to taste. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy pot with a lid just large enough to hold the brisket snugly. Add the brisket to the pot and brown on both sides until crusty brown areas appear on the surface here and there, 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Transfer the brisket to a platter, turn up the heat a bit, then add the onions to the pot and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the onions have softened and developed a rich brown color but aren't yet caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and place the brisket and any accumulated juices on top of the onions.
Spread the tomato paste over the brisket as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle with salt and more pepper to taste, then add the garlic and carrot to the pot. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and cook the brisket for 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and, using a very sharp knife, slice the meat across the grain into approximately 1/8-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. The end result should resemble the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward. Check the seasonings and, if the sauce appears dry, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of water to the pot.

Cover the pot and return to the oven. Lower the heat to 325°F and cook the brisket until it is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check once or twice during cooking to make sure that the liquid is not bubbling away. If it is, add a few more teaspoons of water—but not more. Also, each time you check, spoon some of the liquid on top of the roast so that it drips down between the slices.
It is ready to serve with its juices, but, in fact, it's even better the second day. It also freezes well.

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