I discovered this delicious brisket recipe and did not hesitate to make it for this years Christmas Eve dinner. The intense flavor is created in the initial browning phase – do not be afraid to let meat brown over high heat for the required 4-5 minutes per side – you will be rewarded with a delicious, brawny and caramelized flavor. The gremolata which is made to top the brisket adds a bright, sinus clearing bite to the dish – do not grate the horseradish until an hour or so before serving to maximize flavor and effect.
- 1 (4- to 5-pound) brisket
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 large celery stalks, diced
- 1 ½ cups dry red wine
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 ½ cups parsley, coarsely chopped
- Grated zest of 1 small lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh, coarsely grated horseradish
- Season brisket all over with salt and pepper. Place brisket in a large container and spread garlic and thyme sprigs all over top and bottom of meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. Let meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Wipe off the garlic and thyme. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Heat a very large Dutch oven over high heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add brisket and sear,(this is key step to ensure flavor and texture) without moving, until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Cut meat into 2 chunks and sear in batches if it doesn’t fit in the pot in a single layer.) Transfer to a plate.
- Add onions, carrots and celery to pot and reduce heat to medium-high, add a generous pinch of sea salt. Cook vegetables, tossing occasionally, until onions are golden brown around the edges and very tender, about 15 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in bay leaves and bring liquid to a simmer; let simmer for 5 minutes to reduce slightly.
- Place meat in the pot, then cover pot and transfer to the oven. Cook, turning every 30 minutes and making sure sauce covers the meat, until meat is completely fork tender, 3 to 4 hours. After 2 1/2 hours, uncover pot if liquid has not cooked down, and let it evaporate, if too dry add a little water. If the brisket starts to get too brown and the sauce too reduced before the meat is tender, cover pot again.
- In a bowl, toss together parsley, lemon zest and horseradish to make gremolata. Slice meat against the grain and serve with the sauce, garnished with horseradish gremolata and sea salt.
Keys to success: Preferably allow salt, pepper, garlic and thyme do their job over night, ensure initial browning of the meat, once in the oven when turning every 30-minutes make sure you baste with the sauce, if too wet let liquid evaporate by cooking uncovered, if too dry add a little water. If you follow these simple steps you will be guaranteed a delicious dish that will make you the most popular cook in the neighborhood.
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