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"It’s just as easy to make two briskets as it is to make one brisket,” my grandmother scolded me as we finished seder a few years back, furious that she didn’t have an acceptable amount of leftovers to take home. Needless to say, braised brisket is a hot commodity in my family, especially when Passover rolls around, so I take it very seriously. I always look for ways to switch things up, so may I present you this year’s centerpiece: a mushroom-heavy braised brisket that’s bursting at the seams with umami.
Let’s first discuss the two schools of thought when it comes to brisket. The first would be the Irish-stew-esque route, in which the brisket is braised in wine or stock with aromatics for a clean and delicious supper. The second (and better) route is with tomatoes. If I made my brisket without tomatoes, there would 100% be tears at my table without a doubt. That being said, every family has their own recipe and style, so I’m not going to yuck your yum if you make it differently. I’m just going to wax poetic about the sweet and acidic beauty that tomatoes add to a low and slow braised brisket.
Since I’m still on Whole30, this brisket is completely compliant, relying on a quick mushroom stock to replace red wine and fortify the dish with even more flavor! The method is super straight forward, but I’ll emphasize two things: don’t miss out on getting a good sear on the meat and make this dish in advance. Braises are always better the next day (and even better a few days after that) so please let all these flavors meld in the fridge into a savory symphony! All that's left is to serve it over mashed potatoes or polenta (in this photo I used mashed spuds with sauteed spinach!).
Whether you’re a seasoned brisket pro or a Passover novice, get ready to braise the roof!!!
- 1 cup dried mushrooms
- 1 (7 pound) beef brisket, halved crosswise
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound sliced mixed fresh mushrooms
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3 yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 4 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 12 thyme sprigs, tied with butcher's twine
Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a medium bowl, cover dried mushrooms with 1½ cups boiling water, set aside.
Season brisket liberally with salt. In a large Dutch oven or roasting pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working with one piece at a time, add brisket and cook, turning as needed, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes per piece. Transfer to a platter.
Add fresh mushrooms, garlic and onions to pot and cook, stirring often until softened and lightly golden, 16-18 minutes. Add dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid to deglaze the pan.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and stock, then return brisket to pot. Nestle thyme bundle in sauce, then bring to a simmer. Cover and place in oven. Cook until tender, 3 hours, then remove and let cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, discard the fat cap if desired, then slice brisket across the grain. Return meat to sauce and warm through over medium heat. Adjust seasoning with salt, then serve.