A classic Passover dish, but delicious anytime. Brisket is seasoned with a spice rub, then slowly cooked for optimum tenderness. Be sure to allow enough time to chill the brisket overnight.
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-5 lb.) beef brisket, cut in half widthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
12 medium garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14-1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, tomatoes cut into large chunks
2 stems fresh rosemary (6-inch)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup cider or red wine vinegar
2 cups beef broth or water
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.
Rub the brisket pieces all over with the seasoning mixture; set aside.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven (with a tightfitting lid) over medium high until shimmering. Add one half of the brisket and brown on both sides, turning once, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and repeat with the second piece of meat.
Reduce the heat to medium; add the onions, garlic, and brown sugar; and sauté until the onions are softened and starting to caramelize, about 12 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the onions, and cook until the paste is no longer raw-tasting, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
Return the brisket halves to the pot, fat side up, cover, and braise in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and rotate the meat from bottom to top, keeping the fat side up (or fit the pieces side by side if possible). Cover, return the pot to the oven, and braise until the brisket is fork tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.
Remove the brisket from the oven, uncover, and let cool in the braising liquid until the sauce is just warm, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
About an hour before serving:
Heat the oven to 325°F.
Remove the brisket to a cutting board and slice off the excess fat. Using a spoon, scrape away the hardened layer of fat on the surface of the sauce. Remove the rosemary branches and bay leaf and discard.
Slice the brisket against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and return the slices to the sauce.
Cover the pot and place it in the oven until the brisket is warmed through, about 45 minutes. Serve on a platter with the sauce spooned over the meat.
YIELD: 6 servings