If you grew up in a Texas household like I did, you learned to appreciate the art of a good brisket, and it was usually smoked! We have some outrageous BBQ in Wichita Falls. My Mother, who was a wonderful cook, made a “Jewish” version for the Holidays. Our family loved it. This version, similar to my mother’s, comes from Herb Maxwell, my son Zach’s grandfather. Not that my mother’s wasn’t superb, but something about his version always turned out perfectly tender and full of rich flavor.
This recipe makes all the dinner components in one pot—the fall-apart succulent meat, a thick and intensely-flavored gravy, and perfectly tender potatoes and carrots. The red wine, tomatoes, and thyme really help to amplify the beefiness of the dish.
If you don’t already celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, consider doing so this week. The interesting history of Rosh Hashanah is worth learning, and the traditions come with wonderful flavors like apples, honey, and pomegranates. If for no other reason than an excuse to enjoy this devastatingly delicious brisket, go ahead and get into the Jewish New Year celebration! But beware—this brisket has a tendency to make family and guests who taste it become regulars at your dinner table!
Herb’s Pot Roasted Brisket
2 flat-cut brisket of beef, preferably grade prime, about 5 pounds, patted dry
2 medium yellow onions, about 1 pound total, peeled and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes with added puree
3 cups dry red wine
1 ¾ cups chicken stock or beef broth
2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds (about 8 medium) red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 pound medium carrots, peeled and angle-cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
Select a large, heavy, nonreactive ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid (such as a dutch oven) that will just hold the brisket comfortably. Set it over a medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, add the brisket, fat-side down. Cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Turn the meat and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Scatter the onions and garlic over the beef. Add the tomatoes, wine, stock, thyme, bay, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to mix. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Set the pot in the oven and bake for 2 hours, stirring the cooking liquid once or twice. Add the potatoes and carrots, submerging them as much as possible in the cooking liquid. Cook until the meat, potatoes, and carrots are tender, about 1 hour more.
Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and tent with foil. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and carrots to a dish and keep warn in the turned-off oven. Sprinkle meat and vegetables with parsley and serve.