This recipe is so good that it took me 3 years of cooking briskets before I would even try another brisket recipe. This will knock your socks off, and it makes a lot – so you can confidently cook this up for a big feast (serves about 10). I like to serve it on top of a heap of mashed potatoes to soak up the juice. Make it the day before, or the morning of, because the flavour improves over time. From Food and Wine Magazine, Nov, 2007.
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 brisket, about 6 lbs
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2.5 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (I use red wine vinegar)
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- Large pinch of saffron threads (don’t overdo it! It can be overpowering. At the same time, if you don’t have saffron, I would say it is an optional ingredient)
- 1 1/2 cups dry sherry
- 1/2 cup pitted olives (I’m sure fancy olives are great, but I just use sliced pizza olives)
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- In a small bowl, mix the paprika with 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsp black pepper. Rub all over the brisket. (I often do this the day before but you can do it right before you cook as well.)
- Heat the oil in a large roasting pan set over two burners. (Sometimes you’ll also have luck fitting it into a wide dutch oven.) Add the brisket and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 min. per side. Transfer brisket to a platter.
- Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, sherry vinegar, thyme, bay leaves, saffron and sherry and bring to a boil over high heat. Return the brisket to the pan and cover tightly with foil. Braise in the oven for 3 hours or until tender, turning once and basting it occasionally with the pan juices. Add the olives after the first 1½ hours.
- Transfer the brisket to a platter and cover with foil. Strain the pan juices into a large saucepan, reserving the olive and onion mixture. Spoon off fat. Boil the juices until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. (I have found that sometimes I only have about 3 cups of liquid to begin with.) Return the olive-onion mixture to the saucepan, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Thinly slice brisket across the grain and return to the roasting pan, keeping the shape of the brisket intact. Spoon pan juices on top. This is a good time to stop if you plan on serving the following day.
- Cover with foil and braise for 25 minutes, until heated through and very tender. Serve brisket in its juices.