A Snowstorm Brisket, Courtesy of The Brisket Book and Joan Nathan

A Snowstorm Brisket, Courtesy of The Brisket Book and Joan Nathan

I’m loving this new book called The Brisket Book: A Love Story With Recipes. by Stephanie Pierson. It’s a cookbook, but it’s also a narrative, with lots of brisket stories and tips — and it has a great attitude: fun and a little irreverent.

I was paging through it a couple of days before the snowstorm, and once I’d heard the forecast, I knew instantly that a brisket would be in order for supper on Saturday.

I wasn’t quite sure which recipe to choose — there really are so many good ones, from barbecue to Jewish classics to modern versions to the very festidious Cook’s Illustrated version, which gets an entire chapeter. In the end, we went with the recipe given by Joan Nathan, who is probably the nation’s foremost authority on Jewish cookery. If you feel like a good brisket, you really want to turn to Joan.

That’s defintely something you want in your bowl when it’s like this outside:

The recipe, and more snow, after the jump.

The day started out just a little rainy and windy.

Soon enough, though, those drops were freezing:

We’re gonna get a little frost on the pumpkin tonight!

Extra firewood? Check.

Festooned door, courtesy of Kris Burns and Jody Richards? Check.

OK let’s get cooking.

1 brisket, 6 pounds, grass-fed. From Montana, apparently.

I wish I had an enormous Le Crueset Dutch oven, but alas, I do not. I do have a beautiful All Clad braising pan, though. It will have to do. We sear the meat.

On one plate, the onions.

On the others, the celery and herbs:

And for much later, the carrots and parsley.

The brisket has been seared:

Add the onions to the pot:

Joan does not require you to cook the onions before adding the meat back. So I just spread them out over the fond:

Put the meat on top of the onions, fat side up:

Cover it with celery and herbs:

Add tomatoes and red wine:


Braise for 3 hours. Then add carrots and parsley.

Then make some mashed potatoes, chop up some kale and have a terrific snowstorm dinner.

It’s cold out there!

But it’s warm in here!

My Favorite Brisket (Not Too Gedempte Fleysch*)

2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-pound) brisket of beef, shoulder roast of beef, chuch roast or end of steak
1 clove garlic, peeled (I used 3)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)
3 onions, peeled and diced
1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes (I used diced)
2 cups red wine (cab is good)
2 stalks celery with the leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme (I used 4 or 5)
1 sprig rosemary (ditto)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
6 to 8 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sprinkle the salt and pepper to taste over the brisket and rub with the the garlic. Sear the brisket in the oil and then place, fat side up on top of the onions in a large casserooe. Cover with the tomatoes, red wine, celery, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary.

Cover and bake in the oven for about 3 hours, basting often with the pan juices.

Add the parsley and carrots and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, or until the carrots are cooked. To test for doneness, stick a fork int he brkset. When there is a light pull on the fork as it is removed from the meat, it is “fork-tender.”

This dish is best prepared in advance and refrigerated so that the fat can be easily skimmed from the surface of the gravy. (We took the brisket out and let it cool and took the pan outside for an hour and skimmed what we could.) When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Reheat the gravy in a pan on the stove. Some peopel like to strain the gravy, but Joan prefers to keep the onions because they are so delicious (we agree).

Trim off all the visible fat from the cold brisket. Then place the brisket, on what was the fat side, down, on a cutting board. Look for the grain, that is, the muscle lines of the brisket, and with a sharp knife, cut across the grain.

Put the sliced brisket in a roasting pan. Pour the hot gravy on the meat, cover, and reheat in the oven about 30 minutes. (We just put our slices right back in the pot and let them warm. Everything was amazing.)

*(Not too well stewed)