If there's a more delicious home-cooked meal than this Braised Brisket with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions, I don't what it is! Even the title is mouth-watering with the "braised" and the "caramelized". Don't you just want a bite right now?!! Seriously, in my humble opinion, this may be one of the best beef dinners I have ever cooked. And it gets even better guys, because you MUST make this at least 1 and preferably 2 days ahead, which makes it a perfect company meal, because all you do is reheat and serve. And if you include a side of mashed potatoes and maybe steamed carrots, you will have your guests weeping with joy and indebted to you for life! Think I'm being dramatic? Wait till you taste the tender succulence of this!!
After I made this, my husband, adorably detail oriented as he is, pointed out that I have another very similar recipe for braised brisket on the site, Mushroom Braised Brisket. And he's right, it is very similar. Now that version is very good, really good, but this one kind of knocks that one into second place. I think it's the addition of the coffee, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce plus the crazy amount of onions and mushrooms you use here that give this dish its edge and impossibly good flavor.
You start by allowing tons of onions and mushrooms to caramelize.
Next you sear the meat--
After that, it's just a lot of long slow cooking so that what you're left with is tender, fall-apart meat with tons of flavor and gravy.
If you, like me, are in pre-Passover mode, and somewhat obsessed with figuring out how to make all of the courses a Seder requires and still stay sane, this is the dish for you! As I said before, this only gets better with a few days of hanging out in the fridge, so you can have your main course covered days before the main event, which leaves you plenty of time to fret about the matzah balls, chicken soup, haroset, flourless desserts....you get my drift. Make this and life will not only be easier but tastier too! And that my friends, is priceless!
Braised Brisket with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions
Makes about a dozen servings
Prep Time: There's not a lot of hands on work other than cooking up the mushrooms and onions and searing the meat, but the brisket has to cook for several hours and has to be made at least a day ahead of when you want to serve it.
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- About 2 pounds onions, halved and sliced thinly
- 2 pounds mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 5-pound flat-cut brisket, trimmed of some of the fat (or two pieces that add up to the 5 pounds if you can't find one large one)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 packed tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee
- 1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. In a large heavy, oven-safe pot, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for about 20-25 minutes, until they're a deep golden brown. Drain, using a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons of the oil to the pot and and the mushrooms. Saute for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are browned and the liquid they give off has evaporated. Drain and add to the bowl with the onions. Add the last of the oil to the pot. Season the brisket on both sides with some salt and pepper and place it into the pot, fat side down. Cook for about 6 minutes per side, until browned. Then use a pair of tongs to flip it over and let the other side brown as well. Remove the brisket from the pot and transfer it to a plate.
2. Add half of the onion/mushroom mixture to the pot and top with the brisket, fat side up. Spoon the rest of the mixture over the meat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar and coffee. Pour over the meat. Turn the heat up. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Then cover and place the pot into the oven.
3. Let the brisket cook for about 2 hours. Then uncover the pot and spoon some of the juices and vegetables over the meat. Cover again and cook for another 45 minutes-1 hour, until the meat is tender. Remove from the oven. Tilt the pot a bit to allow the fat to rise to the top of the liquid and spoon off about 1 tablespoon. Place it in a little container and store in the fridge. Let the brisket cool, uncovered, until it comes to room temperature. Then cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
4. The next day, scrape the veggies off the top of the brisket and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Slice the brisket across the grain thinly, and arrange the slices in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside. Bring the onion mixture in the pot to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon flour to the reserved container of fat and stir together well. Then, whisk it into the pot. Add the parsley and thyme and let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes, whisking often, until it thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon the mixture over the sliced brisket. Cover the pan with foil tightly.
5. At this point you can either chill the brisket for another day until ready to serve or reheat it. When ready to reheat, preheat oven to 350ºF. Cook brisket covered with the foil, for about 40 minutes, until completely heated through. Serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from a 2002 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. I tinkered a little with proportions and ingredients.