A classic preparation for brisket, cooked low and slow with depth of flavor from red wine, honey, and aromatics. Perfect for holiday meals or to leave on all night for Shabbat day, when it'll be fork tender with crispy bits, too.Yum
I've said it before, I usually snub the (so-called) mains in favor of the (so-called) sides, but there is a universal exception, and that is brisket. Haute or down-home, braised or dry-rubbed, it's always a party when brisket's invited. This preparation is a classic wine-braised brisket with plenty of aromatics. The addition of honey and red wine gives it depth, and the bay leaves really sing here. Cooked in a Dutch oven at low heat, it'll take a good five hours, so give yourself time.
Sear the meat
A note on the meat quantity: it seems like recipes written not specifically for a kosher-keeping audience always call for humongous briskets, like 5 lbs (2,25 kg). Not only have I never seen a kosher brisket that size (yeah, that includes Costco), but if I did, well, I can't even imagine the cost. The largest briskets I can get are around 2 lbs (500 g) and that works out, because they fit well in a standard Dutch oven.
I'll confess I've skipped this step a few times, and I was always sorry, so don't be me. Before anything else, sear the brisket in a bit of olive oil, just until it's lightly browned. Set it aside on a plate and get on with the sauce-making business.
Prepare the red wine braising sauce
You'll want two big onions for the sauce; the form the base and lend tons of flavor. I like to slice the onions root to tip in half-moon for brisket. This also helps out those people who don't want onions with their brisket, like kids, because they're easily slipped off when all is said and done.
After caramelizing the onions, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a large measuring cup and you're ready to put it all together and get it in the oven.
Cook it low and slow
Plunk the brisket on top of the onions and pour the sauce over it. Cover and cook at 325F / 165C for 5 hours. This brisket will gladly accommodate longer simmer times: to make it for an extended simmer, like overnight for Shabbat, cook it for 2 hours in the oven, then leave on a plata (electric hot plate) for basically as long as you need.
Red Wine Brisket (meat)
- Dutch oven
- Preheat the oven to 325F / 165C.
Sear the meat:
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sear the meat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Remove to a plate and allow to rest.
Make the sauce:
- Slice the onions into thin half-moons, root to tip, and place in the Dutch oven. Leave to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, browned, and well caramelized, 8-10 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic to the onions and cook for 1 minute more. Add the dried thyme and bay leaves and stir. Season well with salt and black pepper.
- Deglaze the bottom of the pot with ½ cup of the red wine.
- Whisk together the remaining 1 cup of red wine with the broth, honey, and vinegar.
Assemble and cook:
- Place the brisket over the onion-spice mixture. Pour the sauce over the brisket.
- Cover the Dutch oven and cook for 5 hours.