Friday, December 05, 2008

My Mother's Beef Brisket

I was listening to the local call-in radio show today where people call with either things they need, or have to give away or questions about cooking, cleaning, etc. I was just on my way out the door when I heard a woman call looking for a recipe to cook a brisket of beef. I jotted her number down and gave her a call.

If you've never cooked one, a beef brisket can seem sort of overwhelming-as I pointed out to her, unless you have a professionally outfitted kitchen, you're going to have to cook the beef without browning it first. The recipe I gave her is good for any cut of beef that requires long, slow cooking. I've used it successfully with chuck roast and beef short ribs.

The recipe itself came to my mother by way of our butcher. She'd never cooked one either, and he presented her with a recipe that was so good she never tried making brisket another way-nor have I. Pretty hard to improve upon perfection.

You can view the sliced brisket HERE (not the best photo) with some onions, carrots and potatoes.

You Will Need:

A brisket of beef
1 bottle of Bennett's chili sauce (you can use other brands, but Vic the Butcher said Bennett's and that's what my mother used. It is hard to find outside of the Midwest so you may need to substitute Heinz).
2 onions, sliced in rings
a couple carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1-2 cups sweet red wine (if you use more, you get a sweeter roast. My mother used kosher Concord Grape wine (so sweet it makes your teeth hurt) but any sweet red wine will do)
water to come halfway up the side of brisket
Optional potatoes to add in last hour of cooking.

Place the brisket in the roasting pan, cover with chili sauce, onions, garlic and carrots. Pour wine over and add water. Cover and cook slowly in a 325 degree oven for about three hours. Check it to make sure the water isn't all evaporating and add more if needed. If it appears at any point to be boiling, turn the heat down. You want it to cook very slowly. In last half hour or so, remove the lid and let it colour a bit. Let stand at least twenty minutes before slicing.

You can make a wonderful gravy from the liquid in the pan by letting it cool a bit and stirring in a finely milled flour (like Wondra). I like to serve brisket over homemade egg noodles, or second day as a warm sandwich. If you have any challah it makes one heck of a brisket sandwich.

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