My brisket is made with Jewish heart and Italian flavors. I cook it much in the same way a Northern Italian might braise a different cut of beef (in wine, tomatoes, and aromatics: rosemary, thyme, bay leaf) to create a dish that tastes like Tuscany but feels like Shabbat.
- One 6- to 8-pound brisket, kosher and antibiotic, hormone free
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- One 28-ounce can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 2-3 stalks celery with leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 sprigs rosemary
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 5-6 basil leaves
- 1/2 bottle wine
- Chicken broth, as needed to cover the brisket (about 4 cups)
- Salt, to taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- 5-6 russet potatoes, quartered
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat a Dutch oven over a medium flame and add a little olive oil. Add the brisket in on one side to brown, cook for a few minutes and then turn to brown on the other side. (One side will have a lot of fat and you are trying to brown the fat-less parts if any.)
Remove the brisket and set aside. If there is too much melted fat for your taste, remove a little before continuing. Add the onions and cook until translucent.
Put the brisket back in fat side up. Top with the carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, and basil.
The next step can get messy but its fun. If you prefer, use a knife for a cleaner approach. Take out the tomatoes, 1 by 1, and crush them using your hands (watch out for spurting juice!), and add the crushed tomatoes and their juices to the pot.
Add the wine, and as much chicken broth as necessary to cover the meat. Sprinkle generously with salt. Cover well and stick the pot in the oven for 4-5 hours or longer at an even lower temperature.
You'll know when your brisket is done when you can cut it with a fork. Take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit. Take the brisket out of its juice and and let it cool completely. When cooled, cover and refrigerate.
Meanwhile, add the potatoes to the juice and bring to a soft boil on the stove, covered, over medium flame, until the potatoes are soft and cooked.
Refrigerate the juice and potatoes until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a knife to cut off the fat from the brisket. Slice the brisket against the grain into thin pieces. Add the thin slices of brisket to a casserole dish and top with the cooked potatoes. Reduce the brisket juice a little to thicken it, then add as much of the juice as you can fit to the meat and potatoes. Cover the casserole dish well with heavy duty aluminum foil and bake in the oven for almosto an hour, until the brisket and potatoes are well heated through. Place on a serving platter and top with any remaining juices.