I’m sitting here staring at the pictures of this braised brisket wondering where on earth this meal has been all my life. You think I’m being dramatic?
Let me confess, just between friends, that this is perhaps the most succulent, delicious way I’ve ever eaten beef in my entire life.
No kidding. It is so delicious that I arm wrestled my husband for the privilege of cleaning up the kitchen – not because I was feeling particularly altruistic – but because I knew if I was alone “cleaning up the kitchen” I could continue to snitch pieces of this glorious meat. All in the name of continued sustenance to help with the cleaning up process, of course.
It takes a lot of energy to clean up after four little boys and one husband.
Not only is this my first venture into cooking brisket (I’ve always been scared of this particular cut of meat because whenever I see it, the cuts are approximately the size of half a cow…and sorry, but I just feel a little uncomfortable messing around with any piece of meat big enough to outweigh my youngest child), but the rich, flavorful mushroom gravy combined with the absolutely tender, juicy meat rockets this brisket to one of my favorite winter dishes of all time.
This recipe, hands-down, holds the secret to the most magnificently delicious gravy I’ve ever tasted.
If you have trouble finding a cut of brisket smaller than your left leg, simply ask the meat counter clerk or butcher for help. They should be able to assist with a smaller brisket roast (a good meat market should come in really handy at this point, but if you don’t have access to one, don’t be afraid to approach your grocery store meat counter – they won’t bite).
8 ounces baby bella or crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels and prick the roast all over with a fork. Cut the brisket in half crosswise into two roasts (just like you'd cut a sandwich or apple in half). Season each roast with salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Brown the brisket on both sides (working with one roast at a time), about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer fat-side up to a 9X13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining roast.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet. Add the mushrooms and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the onions and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the flour, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the broths and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 6-7 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the roasts in the 9X13-inch pan and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake the roasts in the preheated oven until very tender, 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, flipping the roasts and recovering the dish halfway through cooling.
Transfer the roasts to a cutting board and trim any extra fat off, if the roasts are excessively fatty. Strain the sauce from the pan through a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator; reserving the mushrooms. Let the liquid settle and then pour into a microwave-safe bowl, leaving the fat behind. Stir in the vinegar and microwave the sauce for about a minute. If the sauce is too thick, thin with chicken or beef broth. Slice or shred the brisket roasts and place on a serving platter with the reserved mushrooms. Pour the warmed sauce over the meat. Serve immediately.
Brisket: if you are having trouble finding a piece of brisket smaller than half a cow, simply ask the meat counter clerk or butcher to help you. Generally, they can provide you with a smaller cut of brisket. Flat-cut brisket is easier to find and a bit more uniform in texture than point cut (according to Cook's Country).
Doubling: this recipe is easily doubled with fantastic results.
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