The other day I noticed that Heritage Foods has a sale on grass fed Brisket ($12). The piece in the display case looked perfect with a big hunk of fat on it so I bought it. Jewish holidays always make me think of Brisket, even though I have never made one. Being the contrarian I am, I always end up making seared tuna salad Niçoise or Matzoh lasagna for the holidays. My day of reckoning had come: time to cook brisket.
The first thing that came to my mind was to do it like pulled pork. There’s that contrarian again. I also wanted the recipe to be fairly simple, too many of the recipes I read called for beef stock. I don’t have beef stock in my freezer and I’m not a big fan of buying pre-made at the store. The butcher told me to just cook it in water, I immediately took the leap to beer. And as it turned out I had a big bottle of chocolate stout in the fridge, a recipe was brewing. Porcini mushrooms infuse a meaty flavor and along with the stout made me think that maybe I was onto something. See what you think.
Chocolate Stout Braised Brisket
Take one 3 lb piece of brisket (grass-fed if you can) cut into two equal halves and generously salt and pepper them, then dredge in flour. Set aside.
In a large deep pot with a lid add 1/4 cup of hight heat oil like Safflower over high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking add the meat and brown all sides. When the meat has been brown place it aside on a plate or something else that will catch any juice and let sit. Add to the pan dripping 3lbs of sliced Onions. Yes, it’s a lot, but don’t worry. Stir the onions well with the cooking oil then cover and cook over low heat for 35 or so minutes until the onions have all wilted down into big wilted mess. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium and stirring often continue to cook them until they are golden brown.
Turn the heat to high and add 1/4 cup of Red Wine Vinegar to the onions. It will bubble up and then calm down, continue to stir until there is no excess liquid.
Pre-heat the oven to 275 F.Add 2 Bay Leaves, 1 Tablespoon of Anchovy Paste, 1/3 cup of tomato jam (or organic ketchup) and 1/2 cup of dried Porcini Mushrooms (in truth I used a full cup, but think the sauce is so rich that you could well use half the amount and get the same effect: up to you) Generously add salt and freshly grated black pepper. Stir well over medium heat.Add 1 bottle 550 ml bottle of Chocolate Stout (if you have a smaller bottle just make the remaining liquid up with water) and bring to a simmer.Place the brisket pieces back into the pan and cover them with sauce.Turn the heat off. Using the lid of the pan cut out a circle of parchment paper the same size then cover the meat with it like this:then cover the pot with the lid and place in the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours give or take. To test for readiness poke with a skewer or fork. There should be no give at all.
When the meat is done it should fall apart easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and take the lid off. Cook over medium heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. When the sauce is to a thickness of your liking it is done! Stir in 1/2 cup of fresh Parsley, taste for seasoning adjust accordingly with salt and pepper and maybe even a dash more vinegar.
To serve remove the meat from the sauce and slice it on a board.The sauce is very rich so I suggest serving it sparingly or even on the side. Great with simple boiled potatoes and green beans or make sandwiches with Bread & Butter Pickles and Cole Slaw, brown mustard and serve on a whole wheat bun.