Inspired by Nach Waxman's Brisket from the "The New Basics" cookbook, this comforting potted beef braises tenderly and slowly in an onion, leek and beer compote, with a flavor heightened by the addition of sun-dried tomato paste and whole braised garlic cloves. The sun-dried tomato paste really adds an extra punch of flavor, but you could also substitute regular tomato paste if unavailable.
Make sure to pick a flavorful lager but watch out for excess bitterness.
The key to this recipe is the long slow cooking process that keeps the meat from shrinking and the sweet onion compote bed that encourages the beef to stay moist and tender. Cutting the brisket halfway through the cooking process assures that each slice of meat will be evenly flavored with the sauce --- and it also makes serving this dish a snap.
Make this up to three days ahead so the flavors can develop. Just make sure to taste the sauce before you serve it to make sure to brighten the flavor, if need be. I like to serve this with sauteed green beans and potato pancakes with homemade applesauce.
BRAISED BRISKET OF BEEF WITH ONIONS AND GARLIC
SERVES: 6 to 8
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (4-5 pound) first cut brisket
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 4 medium leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 16 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 cup lager beer
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
2. In a very large heavy deep ovenproof casserole, heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Dry the brisket well. Season the brisket with salt and pepper on both sides and brown the brisket, about 4 minutes per side until nicely browned. (This will assure the sauce is a deep brown rich color and flavor.) Remove the brisket to a large dish and reserve.
3. Add the remaining oil to the pan on medium heat and saute the onions and leeks until a rich, golden brown color, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the onions cook, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the beer and combine with the onions. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Return the brisket on top of the onion mixture in the casserole and glaze the brisket evenly with the sun-dried tomato paste, by using a spatula to evenly spread over the top of the brisket. Cover and transfer to the oven to braise for 1 1/2 hours.
5. Remove the brisket to a carving board and slice the meat against the grain, placing the meat back into the casserole in overlapping slices. Return the brisket to the oven and continue cooking another 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until very tender when pierced with a fork. To serve, place the brisket slices overlapping in a serving dish with edges to catch the sauce. Spoon over the sauce, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Advance Preparation: May be prepared up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and reheat in a 350 F oven for half an hour before serving.