How could it be that the two of us—avid and accomplished home chefs—had never cooked a brisket before? It actually dumbfounded us, and felt we needed to remedy this omission in our culinary repertoire. A Red Wine-Braised Brisket recipe from Bon Appétit, gave us a jumping off point.
Mind you, their recipe called for a 5-pound brisket, way too big for the two of us. Instead we chose one half that size at 2 1/2 pounds and made numerous adjustments to most of the other ingredients, all of which are incorporated in our new recipe below.
You know those dishes that everyone says taste even better if you make them ahead of time? This is a perfect example. The flavors continue to deepen as the braise sits, and it’s that much easier to skim the surface when the sauce has a chance to chill—although there was no fat for us to skim! So go ahead and make it when you have a good chunk of time on your hands and then serve it during the week when you’re short on time, your family will thank you.
The depth of flavor was out of this world, and served with our side of Cider-and-Bourbon-Glazed Shallots, well it did temporarily transplant us to another universe, yes the meal was THAT good!
You may notice in one of the photos that I added the carrots in Step 3, instead of waiting until the last 30 minutes of braising. It wasn’t until three hours into the process that I realized my mistake and figured the carrots would turn to mush so I prepped a few more bunches of baby (and I mean tiny) carrots and nestled them in as noted in Step 5. Interestingly, the original additions weren’t mushy at all, and I was glad we had the extra carrots for our leftovers later in the week.
Red Wine-Braised Brisket
2 1/2-lb. untrimmed flat-cut brisket
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks with leaves, cut into 3″ pieces
5 garlic cloves, smashed
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leave
1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bottle full-bodied red wine (375 ml)
12-16 small carrots
- Preheat oven to 350°. Season brisket with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook brisket, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 8–10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Pour off fat from pot; discard.
- Place onions, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, tomatoes, tomato paste, and wine in pot and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper. Place brisket on top, fat side up.
- Cover and braise in oven, spooning juices, onions, and tomatoes over brisket every 30 minutes, until meat is fork-tender, 3–3 1/2 hours.
- Uncover pot, nestle carrots around brisket, and cook until carrots are tender, top of brisket is browned and crisp, and sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
- Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard.
- Remove brisket from pot and slice against the grain to serve.
- Remove and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf from sauce. Arrange sliced meat on serving plates and ladle sauce over each portion.
NOTE: If not serving immediately, transfer brisket to a large bowl and pour braising liquid over; let cool in sauce. Cover and chill, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days. To serve, preheat oven to 325°. Skim fat from surface of sauce; discard. Cover and reheat brisket in sauce, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.