When I was in New York City a couple of weeks ago I ducked into a deli for a beef brisket sandwich before heading to the airport to come back home.
Unfortunately, the sandwich sucked. I left most of it uneaten on the plate.
Back in San Francisco, I still had a craving for tender, succulent long-braised beef brisket in a rich gravy. I couldn’t get it out of mind.
Luckily, on my last visit to Little City Meats on Stockton at Vallejo, the boys had plenty of beef brisket in the case. I had to get a hunk to satisfy my desires.
Here’s my take on how this dish might be made in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto. I’ll let you know if I find it on a menu when I’m in Rome this spring.
Beef brisket isn’t that hard to make. Most of the time is spent waiting for the brisket to slow-braise in the pot for a couple of hours in a broth flavored with aromatics.
You end up with fork-tender beef in a rich, mellow gravy. Serve the brisket with the carrots and celery scattered on top, pour the gravy all over and dinner is ready.
Make sure you get a big piece of brisket. Thick slices moistened with gravy make a fantastic sandwich. You want to have leftovers so you can stuff a crunchy Italian roll the next day.
- 2-3 pounds beef brisket
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 large stems Italian flat parsley
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 4 cups water
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the celery and carrots in 2-3-inch pieces.
- Smash the garlic cloves and peel.
- Cut the onion in half and then quarter.
- Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper.
- Dust the brisket with the flour.
- Put a large enameled or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO.
- When the oil is hot put the brisket in the pot, fat side down.
- Brown the brisket on all sides.
- Put the brisket on a plate and set aside.
- Drain out the oil.
- Add 1 tablespoon EVOO to the pot.
- Add the tomato paste and toast it in the oil until it's color darkens a bit.
- Put in the celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf, parsley and onion, mix the vegetables with the tomato paste and saute until the onion is just translucent.
- Add the red wine and deglaze the pot, scraping all the brown bits on the bottom.
- Simmer about a minute or 2 to let the wine alcohol burn off and the brown bits dissolve into the broth.
- Put the brisket and any juices on the plate back in the pot.
- Add enough water to cover the vegetables and about half of the brisket.
- Bring the pot to a low simmer, cover and simmer for about 2 to 3 hours until the brisket is fork tender.
- Put the brisket and some of the carrot, celery and onion pieces on a platter and set aside.
- Pour the gravy and the vegetable pieces through a strainer into a bowl.
- With a big spoon push down on the vegetables pieces in the strainer to get all of the flavorful liquid into the bowl.
- Return the gravy to the pot, simmer to reduce and thicken the gravy, about 3 minutes.
- Slice the brisket and put the slices on a platter. Serve some of the carrots, celery and onion on the side. Pour the pan gravy on top.
- Serve immediately.
Spring has arrived.