Brisket is a Jewish classic and, when done right, one of the most delicious ways to eat a piece of beef. This recipe hews close to Cipe’s original, with the addition of caraway seeds, which she uses elsewhere in the book, and which stays true to the Eastern European flavor palette. Be sure to start this a day in advance to allow the seasoning to sink into the meat before it’s cooked.
2½ pounds beef brisket
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
2 quarts beef or chicken stock
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1⁄4 cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1 sprig each of rosemary and thyme
1) One day in advance, season the brisket evenly with kosher salt, pepper and ground caraway seeds. Place in an airtight container in refrigerator overnight.
2) When ready to cook, preheat oven to 325° F.
3) Remove the brisket from the refrigerator, place on a large cutting board and slice into two even pieces. Allow to come to room temperature for 15–20 minutes. In a medium-size pot, bring stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
4) In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on high. Sear brisket on both sides until well browned, about 4–5 minutes per side, working one at a time if necessary. Once browned, remove from pot and set on a plate. Add the onions, carrots and celery into the hot pot. Stir gently for a couple of minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomato paste and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar and, after it bubbles up, gently scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits the vinegar released.
5) Return the meat to the pot and pour the simmering stock over everything. Throw in the herb sprigs. Place lid on top of the pot, slightly ajar. Transfer to middle rack of oven. After 1 hour, check the meat, turning the pieces over and braising for another 90 minutes or until very tender.
6) Once done, place the Dutch oven on the stovetop to cool. When cool, remove the brisket and slice it against the grain into ¼- to ½-inch thick slices. Return meat to the cooking liquid and reheat. To serve, place brisket slices on a plate and ladle some of the liquid and vege- tables over the top.
Reprinted with permission from “Leave Me Alone With The Recipes” by Cipe Pineles (Bloomsbury USA).