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Julia's Brisket

In Texas, beef brisket is a favorite cut for barbecue and smoking. This Julia Child recipe, however, treats brisket in an entirely different manner that results in a spectacular main dish. You will keep this recipe, and you'll make it again and again.
  • 4 pounds fresh beef brisket
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive or salad oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons red wine or beef stock
  1. Remove brisket from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Trim excess fat from the brisket. Mash salt and thyme into the garlic to make a paste, then beat in the oil and pepper. Spread this on each side of the brisket, and arrange it in a roasting pan. Cover and refrigerate. Marinate for 4 hours to overnight.
  3. Mix the fresh and canned tomatoes and spread in an even layer over the brisket. Arrange the sliced onions on top of the tomatoes, covering the brisket. Salt lightly, cover tightly with aluminum foil and set on a rack in the middle level of the preheated oven. Check on progress about every hour and baste brisket with pan juices. Roast for 4 hours.
  4. After roasting the brisket, carefully transfer it, with its vegetable topping, to a smaller pan. Pour the roasting juices into a saucepan. Mix the cornstarch with the wine or beef stock, and whisk into the roasting juices. Bring to a simmer, whisking 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce thickens. Correct seasonings, if necessary, and pour over brisket. Although it can be served now, a rest for at least a half hour will make for easier slicing.
  5. A half hour before serving, cover and reheat the brisket in a 350°F oven, basting several times with juices. Remove meat with vegetables to a cutting board or serving platter, and pour sauce into a warm bowl. Slice meat across the grain into thin slices. Moisten each with a spoonful of the sauce or pass the sauce at the table.

Makes 6 servings. Prep time: 4 hours 30 minutes to overnight; Cooking time: 4 hours 30 minutes; Total time: 9 hours

Recipe editor

Beef Brisket Notes

An electric carving knife is recommended for slicing brisket.

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