Adam Sobel's mom made a brisket that was not, to put it mildly, a family favorite. Fortunately, Sobel is a chef. With a little tweaking, he came up with this version, which his family now enjoys. Fresh horseradish root and brown mustard provide savory, subtle interest.
The chef says: Buy the meat from a reputable butcher shop, such as Wagshal's, or try Whole Foods. Don't trim off most of the fat; it adds flavor and helps keep the brisket moist during cooking.
Make Ahead: The brisket can be cooked a day or two in advance, covered and refrigerated. Its flavor improves after a day or so of storage. Leave the fat on the brisket before refrigerating, and slice after, not before, reheating.
Servings: 8 - 10
- One 6-pound, high-quality brisket, slightly trimmed of fat
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch lengths
- 2 medium onion, cut into quarters
- 5 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 4 ounces peeled, finely grated horseradish root (1/4 cup)
- 2 quarts homemade or no-salt-added beef broth, or more as needed
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 bunch parsley
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Have at hand a large, ovenproof braising pan or pot with a tight-fitting lid, making sure the vessel is large enough to hold the brisket comfortably.
Season the brisket liberally with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the braising pan or pot over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the brisket and brown it on all sides. When it is evenly seared, transfer the brisket to a platter.
Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan or pot if needed, then add the carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste; cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat evenly.
Combine the honey, mustard, vinegar and horseradish in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth, then add it to the vegetable mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes, using a wooden spatula or spoon to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the pan or pot.
Return the brisket to the braising pan or pot (still over medium-high heat). Add enough broth to cover the brisket, then add the bay leaves, thyme and parsley. Once the liquid starts to bubble at the edges, cover the braising pan or pot and transfer it to the oven to slow-roast for 5 1/2 hours, or until the brisket is juicy and fork-tender.
If desired, the pan juices can be strained and used as gravy for the sliced meat (you can also reduce them first by boiling them down to concentrate the flavor). Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprig and parsley before serving or reheating.
From Adam Sobel, executive chef of Bourbon Steak in the Four Seasons Hotel.
Tested by Emily Parsons.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.