When Bruce Aidells was growing up, his family's Hanukkah-Christmas celebration always meant brisket, and this was one of their favorite ways to prepare it. Look for the leaner, flat-cut, or first-cut brisket with a layer of fat that's at least 1/8 inch thick. If you can't find a 6-pound piece, buy 2 smaller pieces. Like most braised dishes, this brisket is best made a day or two ahead.
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped oregano
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
One 6-pound flat-cut brisket
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (1/2 ounce)
1 cup hot water
3 tablespoons pure olive oil
2 cups dry vermouth or white wine
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 cups chopped canned Italian tomatoes
3 bay leaves
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
How to Make It
In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper with the thyme, oregano and paprika. Rub the seasonings all over the brisket.
In a medium heatproof bowl, cover the porcini with the hot water and set aside until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid; rinse and coarsely chop them. Reserve the soaking liquid.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole until shimmering. Add the brisket, fat side down, and cook over moderately high heat until well-browned, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a platter and pour off any excess fat from the casserole. Add the vermouth and chicken stock, then pour in the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stopping before you reach the grit at the bottom. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the casserole and stir in the tomatoes, porcini and bay leaves.
Return the brisket to the casserole, fat side up. Scatter the onions and garlic over the meat and into the liquid and bring to a boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Uncover and cook for 30 minutes. Spoon the onions on top of the brisket and cook for about 30 minutes longer to brown the onions. Push some of the onions back into the liquid, cover and braise for about 2 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender.
Transfer the brisket to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes, until it is deeply flavored, then season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Carve the brisket across the grain into 3/8-inch thick slices and arrange on a large, warmed platter. Spoon the sauce and onions over the meat and serve.
The seasoned brisket can be refrigerated overnight before cooking. If cooking the brisket ahead, let the meat cool in the sauce before refrigerating. Skim the fat from the surface and slice the brisket, then rewarm the meat in the sauce.
The concentrated garlic, tomato and beef flavors in this rich dish require an equally intense red. Consider a spicy and aromatic Italian Barolo.
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Review Body: I made this recipe 6 times, and it's fantastic every single time! I skip the porcini step (did it once, and didn't think it was that additive to the flavor). I also usually use red wine instead of white/vermouth.
Review Rating: 5
Date Published: 2017-04-10
Author Name: minouchka
Review Body: Many thanks for an excellent and great recipe, and a wonderful program!
Review Rating: 5
Date Published: 2017-11-10
Author Name: TeacherH
Review Body: I made an account just to review this recipe. Not being a turkey or ham fan, I decided to make this for Christmas dinner. I was worried I would overcook the brisket or that it would be tough, but it was AMAZING. Here’s what I did:
Bought an 8.5 lb brisket from Whole Foods. Pricey, but I tink it helped
Took it home and rubbed it down with the kosher salt, regular paprika, fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano, and pepper. I didn’t woirry too much about the amount, just as much as I felt like.
Wrapped it super tight overnight in plastic wrap
Seared it per directions
I didn’t understand the next step, so I just added about 2-ish cups of chicken broth and about 1.5ish cups of red wine to the searing pan and stirred.
Didn’t have dried porcini mushrooms, so sliced up fresh ones and tossed them in too
Threw in the tomatoes, plus some of the juice, and the bay leaves and let that come to a simmer, then poured over brisket, which was in a roast
Covered the whole thing in minced garlic and sliced onions and cooked per instructions (about 5 hours)
Strained and added some cornstarch to thicken it, served on the side as a sauce
Everyone in my family loved it!