Hannukah

Classic Braised Beef Brisket with Caramelized Onions + Vegetables

December 18, 2022
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Evanston-based poet and accomplished home cook Ori Fienberg likes Hanukkah latkes just fine, but his feast food favorite is most definitely a beautiful beef brisket. Fienberg, who calls cold weather “the braise days,” says his best tips for making a perfect holiday brisket are, “One: Don’t fear the fond. (The brown bits that form on the bottom of the pot when you sear the meat and cook the onions.) And two: Make a LOT of caramelized onions.”

Though it takes time, the rest is easy. Look for a very-well-marbled beef brisket with a nice fat cap. (One, five-pound roast, or two, 2 ½ pound roasts will serve 6 to 8 people.) To get a really good sear on the roast, Fienberg first dry brines the beef for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator, rubbing the meat with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, and setting it on a rack to allow air to circulate around it.  (Add herbs to the rub if you like, and cut the dry-brine time down if you must—but longer is better.)

You’ll sear the brisket in vegetable oil in a Dutch oven, cook the onions until soft and caramelized, and deglaze the pot with red wine. Topped off with beef stock, you’ll braise the meat low-and slow, adding chunks of carrot and parsnip during the last two hours of cooking time. For a little festive sweetness, I like to throw in a handful of apricot and pitted prunes. During the long, slow braise, the onions will melt into the pot juices, making a delicious gravy for the tender meat and vegetables. The result is a fragrant platterful of goodness. Happy Hanukkah!

 

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