Brisket always reminds me of a dear friend of mine, Jo Mommy. She was my best friend’s mom. She was a strong working mother who taught me two very important things; lead with confidence and food is necessary for healing. Whenever there was a death in the family, a surgery, or any situation that required a little comfort, she was the first one knocking at your door with a beef brisket as succulent and rich as your tears were wet.
Make ahead Beef Brisket
(Adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook)
2-3 lbs Foxhollow Grassfed Beef Brisket
2 onions, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika (I like Bourbon Barrel Food’s Smoked Paprika)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (A bit less if you are using Foxhollow Farm’s super fresh Cayenne Pepper)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (I use gluten free flour or you can use arrowroot mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
1 cup broth (I like Duck Duck Beets Bone Broth available at The Fox Shop)
1 cup dry red wine
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat brisket dry with paper towel. Using a dinner fork, poke holes in the meat through the fat layer about 1 inch apart. Season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil on medium high heat in an ovenproof skillet that is deep enough to hold the brisket and liquid(I use a 12 inch cast iron skillet that is about 2 inches deep). When oil just begins to smoke, place brisket, fattiest side up, in skillet. Weight brisket with heavy dutch oven or cast iron skillet until well browned, about 7 minutes. remove dutch oven; using tongs, flip brisket and cook on second side without weight until well browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer brisket to platter.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of far from pan. Stir in onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook over medium-high heat, Stirring occasionally until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add tomato paste, paprika and cayenne; stir frequently for about 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until well combined. Add broth, wine, bay leaves, and oregano, stirring to scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan; simmer for 5 minutes to fully thicken.
Nestle brisket, fat side up, in the sauce and onions. With two pieces of foil, fully cover the brisket with the two pieces of foil meeting in the middle. Seal by crimping the foil so you can easily check the brisket for doneness. Place in oven and cook until fork slips easily in and out of meat, about 3 1/2 hours (when testing for doneness, open foil with caution as content will be steaming). Carefully open foil and let brisket cool at room temperature, 20-30 minutes.
Transfer brisket to a large bowl, set fine mesh strainer over bowl and strain sauce over brisket. Discard bay leaves from onions and transfer onions to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap, cut vents in plastic, and refrigerate overnight.
About 45 minutes before serving, heat oven to 350 degrees. While oven heats, transfer cold brisket to carving board. scrape off and discard any fat from surface of sauce then, heat sauce in sauce pan over medium heat until warm, skimming off any fat on sucrose with spoon. You should have about two cups of sauce without onions (If you do not have enough sauce add a little more broth. If you have too much sauce, simmer sauce over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 cups). Slice brisket against grain into 1/4 inch thick slices and place slices in a baking dish (same 13×9 inch baking dish works great). Stir reserved onions and vinegar into warmed sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over brisket slices, cover baking dish with foil, and bake until heated through, 25-30 minutes. Serve immediately.
If making for a friend or family member in need of a little comfort. Deliver brisket in baking dish with sauce and covered with foil. All they have to do is heat it at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes!