Adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
My favorite beef brisket recipe is about as basic as it gets, with no more additional flavoring than onion, garlic, and tomato. Searing the brisket before you braise it develops the flavor of the meat somewhat, but if you’re in a hurry, you can skip Step 1—just sauté the onion, add the other ingredients, cover, and throw it in the oven. Use homemade stock for a truly exceptional pan sauce.
1 tablespoon neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, or extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1 whole beef brisket, about 5 pounds
Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons margarine or more oil
2 cups chopped onion
3 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 large ripe tomato, cored and chopped (peeled and seeded if you have time)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 cups chicken, beef or vegetable stock or water
Heat the oven to 325°F (you can also cook this brisket on top of the stove if you like). If you choose to brown the brisket first, heat a large pot with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil, swirl it around, then add the beef. Sear it for about 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and transfer to a platter.
Wipe out the pan with paper towels and return it to the stove; turn the heat to medium and add the margarine. When it foams, add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden and soft, at least 10 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, then stir in the tomato paste and the garlic. Return the meat to the pan, add the stock, and cover.
Cook over low heat or in the oven, turning the meat about every 30 minutes, until tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. If the sauce seems too thin, allow the meat to rest on a platter for a few minutes while you boil the liquid down over high heat, scraping the bottom of a pan with a wooden spoon, until it thickens somewhat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Slice the meat, return it to the sauce, and serve.
Yield: Makes: 10 or more servings
Time: About 3 hours, largely unattended
Recipe: Beef, Brisket, Kosher