I have loved my sister Eileen’s brisket as long as I can remember. The aroma alone reminds me of home. She also prepares a barbecue version, which is understandable since she lives in Dallas, but I still prefer this traditional version with carrots, celery and onions. It’s classic comfort. Above, my sister Eileen at her grandson’s wedding.
3 lb beef brisket (size is flexible)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 TB olive oil (just enough so meat doesn’t burn when searing)
2 or 3 onions, quartered
3 to 4 cloves garlic (depending on how much garlic you like)
1 1/2 TB tomato paste
3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices
6 stalks celery, cut into thick slices
Half bag, small, round potatoes
1/2 cup regular strength beef broth
5 bay leaves
Optional: freshly chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position. Pat dry the brisket and evenly season both sides with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a little olive oil in a heavy skillet. Brown brisket briefly on all sides.
- Put broth in a roasting pan then add brisket (fattier side down). Evenly smear tomato paste over top of brisket. Place potatoes, carrots, celery, onions all around the edges of brisket. Add bay leaves.
- Cover pot tightly with heavy lid. Cook in pre-heated oven for 3 1/2 hours or until brisket is fork-tender. It can take 4 or 5 hours depending on the size of the brisket. It’s ready when it’s really tender. (For ease of slicing, you can remove brisket halfway during cook time and transfer just the beef onto a cutting board. Slice across the grain into 1/4 inch slices and return to the pot to finish braising.) Add salt and pepper to taste as needed. Serve with freshly chopped parsley for garnish, if desired.
Brisket is even better the next day. Store leftovers in airtight container in fridge until ready to reheat and serve. Brisket can be made 1 day ahead of time.