Braised Beef Brisket
“Braised in red wine and rich beef broth, this tender brisket gets an even more robust flavor from a rub made with thyme, garlic and mustard powder.”
I am kind of a poultry girl when it comes to meat, favoring chicken and turkey. I can’t figure out why, but it may be partly due to the fact that I have always considered beef a treat. Growing up, it was a big deal when beef showed up at the table. This was probably because my dad enjoyed the better cuts of beef, which are coincidentally more expensive, explaining why its appearance was rare.
We never had beef brisket in my house, and in fact, it wasn’t until recently that I was introduced to it. I knew it was delicious, but I was never really in the mood to figure out how to cook it. Plus, I didn’t feel like hanging around in my kitchen for the four or more hours that this cut of beef needed for braising.
Culinary school changed my world and once I was introduced to the technique of braising, I was intrigued and hooked. Why is braising so awesome? Because if you do it correctly, tough cuts of meat become so soft and tender that they literally fall apart on your fork or spoon. Braising with rich broths and aromatic liquids adds flavor and makes the vegetables that cook alongside the meat even more delicious than they already are.;
How does braising work? It’s actually quite simple. Braising is what’s known in the culinary world as a moist-heat cooking method, meaning some type of liquid is employed in the cooking process. First the meat is seared, which caramelizes the outside, adding richness to the dish. Then liquid, which can be anything from broth to wine or juice, is added. The key is that the liquid only reaches halfway or three-quarters up the sides of the meat. This ensures meat will be braised and not stewed. Finally, herbs and spices are added and the dish is covered and cooked in a low-heat oven for several hours.
My beef brisket recipe does require some time in the kitchen, but the results are worth it. This brisket can feed a crowd or can be enjoyed over several days. Using the leaner, first cut of beef brisket eliminates some fat and calories, so ask the butcher for this cut of beef.
Food Safety Tip: Brisket is even better the next day. To store it properly and safely, allow the brisket to cool down before covering and placing in the refrigerator. However, you must refrigerate perishable food within two hours (or one hour if it is over 90°F outside). To bring the temperature down consider resting brisket on a cooling rack and spread the veggies out onto a sheet pan. The extra air flow and surface area will speed up the cooling process. The next day, be sure to reheat both the beef and vegetables to 165°F before serving.
Braised Beef Brisket
- 4-5 lbs beef brisket, first cut, trimmed of excess fat
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 small onion, washed, peeled, halved, then quartered and sliced
- 5 medium carrots, washed, peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 medium celery stalks, washed and cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth or stock
- 1 whole dried bay leaf
- Place potatoes and garlic in pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- Drain potatoes and garlic. Pour into a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an oven-safe baking dish.
- Using a fork, mash potatoes and garlic to desired consistency. Add yogurt, butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Scoop potato mixture into baking dish. Smooth mixture and sprinkle with smoky paprika.
- Bake uncovered in oven for 25 to 30 minutes until edges begin to lightly brown.
- If you do not have smoky paprika, get some! It adds an indescribable smoky undertone to any dish. However, regular paprika will do just fine in the recipe.
- Make this recipe vegan-friendly by simply omitting yogurt and butter or using plant-based varieties.
Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and chef. She currently works with Roche Dietitians as well as Centered Chef, is a Food & Nutrition contributing editor, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, and is also the voice of The Eating Right Minute, a public service announcement of the Academy that airs daily on WBBM Newsradio, 780 and 105.9 FM. Find her helpful lifestyle tips on Twitter.