I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a brisket, before I made one for this post, anyway. It’s just not something I get excited about, surprisingly enough. Don’t get me wrong, if someone makes a tasty brisket and it happens to wind up in front of me, I will eat the heck out of it. It’s delicious. But it’s not something I often buy with plans to make during the week. I mean, unless we’re talking about this French Onion Brisket with Porcini Mushrooms
French Onion Brisket with Porcini Mushrooms
But it’s almost Passover, and I can’t imagine this nice Jewish girl not having a proper Passover recipe round-up, complete with a brisket for the center of the table. Your table, anyway, cause we have lamb chops at ours. If my mom dared leave her famous lamb chops off the menu, I guarantee there would some kind of mutiny. Even my borderline vegetarian cousin has been known to throw a punch when she feels her lamb chop quota being threatened by the other guests. (I might be exaggerating, but the look in her eye suggests just barely)
And besides, this brisket is freaking delicious, and has actually made me into a brisket fan. It’s cooked in two stages: After cooking about half way through, it’s removed and sliced and then returned to the braising liquid. That means that allll the flavor of the braising liquid penetrates into each tender slice.
Three onions may seem like a lot, but when cooked low and slow for several hours, they melt into the braising liquid and create a wonderful gravy.
- 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms, (about 1 heaping cup)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 4–5 pounds brisket, (preferably grass-fed)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil, tallow, duck fat (or your preferred cooking fat)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 large onions, (sliced thin)
- 3–4 large carrots, (whole or sliced lengthwise)
- 6 garlic cloves, (peeled but left whole)
- 12–15 fresh crimini mushrooms (whole, stemmed)
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
- Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and the boiling water over them. Let them sit for at least 15 minutes, or until you’re ready to add them to the brisket.
- Pat the brisket dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Place a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add the oil or cooking fat. Once hot, add the brisket and sear for three minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and brush with tomato paste on both sides.
- Add the onions to the pot and turn the heat to medium. Sauté them for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and soft, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the mushrooms in a strainer lined with a cheesecloth, reserving the liquid they were in.
- Once the onions are golden brown, add the carrots, then the brisket, then the garlic, porcini and cremini mushrooms and the liquid from the mushrooms.
- Cover tightly and put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the brisket to a cutting board and slice at an angle against the grain, in 1/4-inch slices. Return the brisket back to the braising liquid, keeping them as close to the original shape of the brisket as possible. (see make-ahead tip in notes) Cover and cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours, or more if necessary, until it’s tender.
If not serving the brisket the day you make it: You can refrigerate after slicing and returning to the braising liquid, and finish cooking it when you’re ready to serve. Make sure to allow extra time since you’ll be starting with cold brisket.
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