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A braised brisket recipe that’s perfect for any dinner party

Updated: 
May 17, 2017 - 4:10pm

Let’s get this out of the way early: you don’t need a Passover brisket recipe, because you will never make one that is better than your grandmother’s, and you wouldn’t even try.

But maybe you’re hosting dinner for friends that happens to look a little like a Seder, and you want a great recipe that will never ever live up to that other brisket you love unconditionally (wink wink). Luckily, this recipe for Red Wine Braised Brisket is perfect for any dinner party, or weeknight, for that matter.

Brisket comes from the breast of a cow, and is usually sold in one large piece or broken down into two smaller cuts, the flat and the point. It’s notoriously tough and you’ve likely had a piece that is bone-dry and bland. But done right, the thing that can make a brisket undesirable is really what makes it so good.

Brisket falls into a category of meats that shine when cooked low and slow. That can include smoking at low temperatures, a leisurely oven-roast, or a long and flavorful braise. Braising is a great choice because the cooking liquid imparts flavor into an otherwise bland cut of meat.

The red wine in our marinade, which eventually becomes your braising liquid, works not just to flavor the brisket and sauce, but also to tenderize. The acidity in wine breaks down proteins, so make sure to give it enough time to really do its work. Once it cooks together with the tomato paste and beef broth, the wine flavor will mellow and it will be the perfect combination of savory, salty, and just a little sweet.

After braising, the brisket is rubbed in persillade, which is a very fancy word to describe a very simple thing. A mixture of chopped parsley, garlic, oil and other seasonings, persillade can be used to season or garnish almost any dish. It is often combined with bread crumbs (or matzoh, in this case) and used as a crunchy, colorful coating for meat and fish.

By now, you’re probably starving, and we haven’t even told you the best thing about this recipe. Not only is it delicious and amazing, but like most braises, this brisket is going to taste even better if you make it ahead of time.

That means that on the day of your dinner, all you have to do is gently reheat it, cover with the persillade (which you can also make ahead), and give it a quick bake to warm through. That’s basically ten minutes of work, leaving you plenty of time to explain yourself to your grandmother.

RED WINE BRAISED BRISKET

Servings: 10

Start to finish: 11 hours 15 minutes (Active time: 45 minutes)

The key to the brisket is the marinade, and a handy way to marinate it is to place the meat in a large zipper-locked plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, and seal the bag. Turn the bag a few times to thoroughly coat the meat.

3 to 4 pounds beef brisket, fat trimmed

2 cups dry red wine

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

2 to tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 cups low-sodium beef stock

Persillade (recipe follows)

Roasted Cippolini Onions (recipe follows)

Place brisket in a sealable plastic bag or in a large shallow baking dish. In another bowl, combine wine, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, and thyme. Pour mixture over brisket, cover (or seal). Turn the bag a few times or stir the mixture to thoroughly coat the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the brisket from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Reserve about half of the marinade. Pat beef dry.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat until wisps of smoke appear. Place dry brisket in pan and sear on all sides until golden brown, then transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour off the fat. Add the tomato paste and cook until the color deepens and appears rusty, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved marinade and use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Return the brisket to the pan and add stock (you may not need all of the stock. The braising liquid should come about 1/3 of the way up the brisket).

Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in preheated oven. Braise until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Test meat for doneness by piercing with a roasting fork. If fork enters meat without resistance and brisket easily slides off, the meat is done.) Transfer the brisket to a foil-lined baking sheet and set aside.

Skim any fat from the cooking liquid. Carefully transfer the braising liquid to a blender and process until smooth. If remaining sauce is too thick, add additional stock; if it is too thin, simmer over medium heat until it has reduced. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and set aside.

Sprinkle the persillade over the cooked brisket and gently pat down to adhere. Return to the oven and bake until the persillade is lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Slice the brisket into thin slices and serve with the sauce and roasted vegetables.

PERSILLADE

Servings: 10

2 cups matzo meal

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 cup olive oil

In a bowl, combine the matzo meal, parsley, garlic, and oil. Toss to combine and set aside until needed.

ROASTED CIPOLLINI ONIONS

Servings: 10

2 tablespoons olive oil

10 garlic cloves

1 pound Cipollini onions, peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, garlic, onions, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread on into a baking dish or roasting pan and cover with foil.

Cook until the onions begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Remove the foil, stir the onions, and return to the oven.

Roast until the onions are translucent, very tender, and lightly browned around the edges, about 30 minutes.

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This article was provided to The Associated Press by The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

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