Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mouthwatering Brisket

Mouthwatering Brisket

A few years ago, we spent the week between Christmas and New Year at a wonderfully romantic bed and breakfast in the Hamptons. The inn had a highly lauded restaurant open to the public for dinner and it was there that we had one of the best meals ever. The highlight was a brisket served with a sauce so flavorful that talked about it for weeks after.

As Valentine's Day approached, I decided it would be great fun to surprise Brian by recreating that meal. An email request to the inn-keeper quickly brought a response from the chef who said he'd be happy to provide the recipe. I tweaked it a bit for the home cook but managed to obtain nearly the same amazing flavor and Valentine's dinner was a hit. I've made it a couple of times since, always on special occasions, and this time it was for a romantic New Year's Eve dinner for two. It may seem a bit of work but it's so, so worth it.

1 Beef brisket, approximately 4 lbs.
3 Onions, peeled
1/2 Head celery
4 Large carrots, peeled
8 Cloves garlic, peeled
3 Cups red wine
4 Cups veal stock *
Small bunch fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

*  The chef makes his own veal stock by roasting veal bones but he suspected I might not and said prepared veal stock would suffice. The sauce will not thicken as well, however, which is why some flour is needed.

Mouthwatering Brisket
Cut the vegetables into large pieces and place in a roasting pan. Place the brisket on top and season with salt and pepper. Pour the wine and veal stock into the pan until it almost covers the meat. Seal tightly with aluminum foil and cook in a 350 degree oven for 5-8 hours.

Let the meat rest in the pan until it can be removed without breaking. Strain out the vegetables, pour the liquid into a pot and reduce it slowly until it is almost syrupy. Thicken with flour, if needed, and finish with the butter.

Makes approximately 8-10 servings.


  1. Sounds great, but I have never seen veal stock at my grocery. So I will have to substitute beef stock. Looking forward to trying this. Thanks for sharing and thanks to the chef for giving out his recipe!

  2. Bernadette -
    If there's a butcher shop in your neighborhood or if your grocery store has a butcher, they will probably have veal stock for you.

  3. Are you supposed to brown the brisket before cooking it?

  4. Amanda -
    No, there is no need to brown it before cooking. It will get quite brown under the foil after such a long time in the oven.

  5. I have two questions: First, are the vegetables in the pan discarded because they've given all their flavor to the meat?

    Second, how thickly should the brisket be sliced?

    I hope beef broth is an acceptable substitute, because I don't care for the taste of veal. I never have liked that particular taste.

    This is the first brisket recipe I have been interested in since the one my mother made when I was a kid, over 30 years ago. Thanks!

  6. Teal-Cuttlefish -
    Yes, after all that time in the oven, the vegetables will be mush and are best discarded. I make roasts with chunky sauces sometimes but this one is meant to have a smooth, silky and syrupy reduced glaze.

    You can slice the brisket in whatever thickness you like. I usually go for about 1/4" but there's no hard rule. The chef who taught me this recipe sliced his a little thicker.

    I have not tried it with only beef broth but I make other roasts with only beef and the taste is different. You will not necessarily taste veal if you use veal stock but it will create the correct background flavor. I can tell you for certain that you cannot leave out either the fresh thyme or the correct quantity of red wine or it will be just an ordinary roast as opposed to this very special one. If you make it, let me know how you liked it.

  7. This recipe looks fabulous! There really is no great substitute for veal stock, though I've heard that half-chicken/half-beef stock suffices. Perhaps. (I've used pork stock. But you can forget about a Kosher brisket with that ingredient.) I think I'll be finding some veal bones!

  8. yum.this sounds delicious. Perfect winter recipe. And I have never heard of veal stock before, this part of the recipe really intrigues me :)

    Thanks for sharing!


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