Braised Beef Brisket

Dining date: 3/20/11

I often wander into my local supermarket not knowing what I’m going to get. Many times, I know exactly what I want to eat and make a bee-line directly towards my desired meat and produce. Other times, I use the market for inspiration and develop a menu on the spot, depending on what looks good/piques my interest.

On this day, the beef brisket looked particularly good. I really like this cut of beef – it’s reasonably priced, and when cooked low and slow for hours, yields tender flavorful meat. I’d have loved to be able to BBQ this, but I don’t have an outdoor smoker. Instead, I decided to braise it in a French style. Buying a few pounds of it, I’m able to make a dinner from it, as well as a couple of workweek lunches.

My braising formula was pretty standard. I browned the meat, then sauteed a mirepoix of onions, carrots and celery. After adding some garlic, rosemary and a few crushed tomatoes, I deglazed with a red wine (Cabernet was what I had on-hand). Finally, I tossed in some bay leaves with a mixture of chicken broth and beef broth and just let it sit in a 300 degree oven until fork-tender. I expected this to take about 3 hours, but I ended up braising for about five. Not sure why – but it just wasn’t “fork-tender” until about that time.

While my meat rested, I reduced the braising liquid significantly – by about one-half. This resulted in a really rich sauce/gravy, so I chopped up some fresh scallions to top the meat off. Not only would it be a nice garnish, but I thought the fresh ‘bite’ from the scallions would complement the rich meat and sauce well.

I was happy with the meat. It took a while to prepare, but it was pretty tasty.


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