I have owed you this blog post for a long time now. I actually made this brisket for Rosh Hashana... which somehow became nearly a month ago. Time has been slipping away from me so quickly - I can't believe it's mid-October. Anyways, even though it took me a long time, I had to share this recipe with you. It's probably the best piece of meat I've ever cooked.
Although I've hosted a few Passover dinners, this was my first time hosting Rosh Hashana. Now that we're living in Chicago, we are lucky enough to be able to share the holidays with the Monkey Scientist's family. We had his parents, brother, and brother's girlfriend over for Rosh and it was the best time. They're all so nice and wonderful to be around. And the food was beyond plentiful. We had enough to feed at least 10 more people! I guess that's what happens when you literally cook from Friday night until Sunday night for just about every waking hour....
The star of the meal was definitely this brisket. I hid it behind some tzimmes (which wasn't so popular at Rosh night 1, but was a hit when I brought the leftovers to a friend's house for night two!), but it still managed to shine. Although this recipe takes a long time, Nach Waxman is the man to trust when it comes to brisket. After all, he owns the largest food-related book store in the country!
I should warn you, however, that you have to slice 8 onions for this recipe. EIGHT. For anyone who knows me, you know I have the wateriest eyes in the world when I chuckled. When I chop one onion I'm sobbing. When I chop 8? I actually couldn't close my eyes for a good 12 hours. I might recommend buying onion goggles. They have to work better than the torture I put myself through!!
I haven't eaten a lot of brisket in my life, but this is far and away the BEST brisket I have ever tried. (Yes, better than my old favorite, the Southwestern Pulled Brisket, but that's wonderful in it's own way). It is tender, juicy, and just takes like beef should. There's nothing frilly or sweet, it's just perfect. And the best part? It gets better in the fridge for the next day or two. That is, if there are any leftovers. It's a lot of work, but your family will love you if you make this. I promise.
Nach Waxman’s Best Brisket Recipefrom Leite's Culinaria
One 5- to 6-pound first-cut beef brisket, trimmed so that a thin layer of fat remains
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons corn or other mild vegetable oil
8 medium onions, peeled and thickly sliced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and trimmed
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Have ready a large ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy pot that has a lid and is large enough to just barely contain the brisket snugly.
2. Lightly dust the brisket with flour, then sprinkle it with pepper. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Add the brisket to the pot and cook on both sides until crusty and browned areas appear on the surface here and there, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
3. Transfer the brisket to a platter. Turn up the heat under the pot a bit, then add the onions and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the onions have softened and developed a rich brown color but aren’t yet caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and place the brisket on top of the onions. Pour any juices that accumulated on the platter over the brisket. Spread the tomato paste over the brisket as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle the brisket with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and carrot to the pot. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and let it cook, untouched, for 1 1/2 hours.
5. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the meat across the grain into approximately 1/8-inch-thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. The end result should resemble the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward. If absolutely necessary, add 2 to 3 teaspoons of water to the pot.
6. Cover the pot and return it to the oven. Lower the heat to 325°F and cook until the brisket is fork-tender, about 2 hours more. Check once or twice during cooking to make sure that the liquid hasn’t bubbled away. (Mine had more than enough liquid, maybe from not trimming enough fat.) If it has, add a few more teaspoons of water—but no more. Also, each time you check, spoon some of the liquid on top of the roast so that it drips down between the slices.
7. It’s ready to serve right away with its juices, but it’s even better the second day. Let the brisket cool, cover it loosely with foil, and refrigerate it overnight to serve the day after. Skim any fat from the surface of the liquid and reheat the brisket, covered, in an oven turned to 325°F for about an hour.