Whenever I needed inspiration for roasts or tenderloins, I knew mom would have some great ideas. She would rattle off a list of ingredients and describe a method that she liked. In addition to her own creativity, she was a cookbook fanatic. She would often exclaim,"Oh, I saw the most wonderful recipe this month that I bet you would love!"
So now that she's gone, I often turn to the cookbooks that she loved so much. Her Best Recipes of Bon Appetit collection was especially impressive, going back to 1996. I'm so lucky to have them now, in addition to about a dozen other cherished volumes. After she died, as we went through her cookbook closet I found a few that I already owned, so I gave them to her friends to have as mementos.
Her Best of 1996 Bon Appetit had a wine-braised brisket recipe I adapted to get dinner in the oven sooner, with fewer pots and pans. Whenever I can, I like to use mom's Le Creuset Dutch oven that I inherited. We both loved the color blue and it makes me so happy to have one of her pots that she used for years.
The original recipe says that once your braising is done, you can chill and keep the brisket well covered up to 3 days, so this would make an excellent make-ahead dish for company or a family Sunday dinner.
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 3-4 Tblsp. good quality olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsps. dried thyme
- 3 lb. brisket (or a well-marbled beef roast)
- 1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes
- Combine chicken stock, wine and brandy in a medium saucepan and boil for about 25 minutes to reduce.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add olive oil to Dutch oven and saute onions and celery over med-high heat, stirring often, until onions are golden. Add garlic and thyme and saute for a few more mins. Transfer the vegetables to the saucepan of chicken stock while you brown the meat. Add the canned tomatoes to the vegetables and stock.
- Generously season the brisket with salt and pepper. Brown all sides in the Dutch oven.
- Stand the brisket on it's side and put about half of the vegetables & stock into the bottom of the Dutch oven. Place the brisket on top and pour the remaining vegetables on and around the meat. Cover with the lid and bake in 325 degree oven for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the roast has an internal temperature of 135 degrees. (The rule of thumb is 40 mins. per lb.)
- Remove the brisket and let it rest, wrapped in foil, for 20 to 30 mins before slicing. You can either serve the vegetables and broth over thin slices of brisket or puree the veggies and make a thicker sauce. We liked the thicker sauce.
- Follow the step-by-step photos in this video.