With the Jewish holidays recently passed, and the baby in my belly asking me to eat a little more beef than usual, I felt like whipping up a brisket. Grandma sent me this recipe while I was in college and decided to host my first Jewish holiday (I think it was Passover but can’t be sure). This recipe is pretty hands off – once the meat is in the oven (for literally hours), there isn’t much to do. Note that I use an electric knife to cut the brisket – per Grandma’s instructions. It’s the only recipe I ever use the electric knife for, and I actually use one that Grandma gave to me. But you can always use a regular knife if you want. This dish is warm, satisfying, and delicious.
Here’s what you need:
1 beef brisket with fat on top, 3-5 pounds (I recently did 5 pounds, it was about 4 pounds meat and one pound fat)
2 packets onion soup mix
1 jar Heinz chili sauce
2 packages frozen pearl onions
1 package frozen chopped bell peppers (optional)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
4 small new potatoes (optional but you end up with roasted veggies in the pan at the end)
1 large sweet potato (ditto. Note, you could do all sweet potato, regular potato, carrots, or other root veggies)
enough liquid to fill the pan about 1 inch high (I did about 3/4 red wine, 1/4 water, you could also do all water, or broth, but probably not all wine)
Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large roasting pan, place the brisket fat side up. Spread the onion soup mixture on the brisket. Then spread the Heinz chili sauce.
3. Scatter the chopped up root veggies around the brisket (if you are using them). Then pour the peppers and onions on top of the brisket. Throw the garlic cloves around the edge.
4. Fill the pan up with about 1 inch of liquid (water, wine, broth, your choice).
5. Cover with heavy duty foil and cook on the middle rack for about 2 hours.
6. Remove from the oven, cut the brisket in thin slices against the grain using an electric knife, and place back in the gravy. (If the liquid is getting low, add more.)
7. Bake for another 1 hour if the meat was already fully cooked and tender, or 2 hours if the meat wasn’t fully cooked and starting to get tender. If you go for two hours, check after 1 hour to see if you need more liquid.
8. When the meat is done cooking, it will be very soft and flavorful. If you think it’s still a little tough, just cook it some more. The more it cooks, the softer it gets. Feel free to serve it with noodle pudding, or just eat it with the root veggies.