Nach Waxman’s Beef Brisket

Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

Over the holidays, we were in the U.S. to spend time with my family (and – gulp – to see my editor…), and I made brisket for Romain. He doesn’t like bœuf bourguignon, because it he says it’s always “dry,” so decided for a treat, I’d make brisket, a beef dish that is anything but.

Because I’m such a champ, I actually made it a few different times, because I had access to brisket meat, which becomes ridiculously tender when cooked over the course of several hours. The French are big eaters of beef, but beef in France is less-marbled, and the breeds are different (which is why some French restaurants and butchers are also offering imported beef, often from America and Ireland), and after the first bite, he declared brisket the best beef dish he’s ever had. All I know is that I now have to make brisket more often, to keep the peace at home.

Onions for Nach Waxman Brisket recipeNach Waxman Brisket recipe

And I kept my word on that, and during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I made a brisket one last time for the year. (If you live in France, to find the French equivalent of brisket meat, check out my post on Homemade Corned Beef.)

I worked on a couple of recipes, one using vinegar, another using beef stock. Doing some searching, I’ve seen brisket recipes that use everything from kimchi to red wine. And I was especially intrigued by this Brisket in Sweet-and-Sour Sauce, which has both wine and Coca-Cola in it. But I know from taste-memory that none of my aunts, who were all-star brisket bakers, ever put wine (or fermented cabbage) in theirs, unless it was Manischewitz. In which case, it was highly likely that they wanted to open the bottle “to take a snort,” as my grandmother would say when she drank her nightly glass – or glasses – of Scotch.

Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

While having lunch with a friend of mine while in New York, the subject of brisket came up, and she said, “You know what the secret to making the best brisket is? Use the same weight of onions as the weight of the beef…and a lot of fat.” And that made me think of Nach Waxman’s famous brisket recipe, which uses eight onions and zero liquid.

It was a bit of a chore to chop all those onions up, although it was easier after I went to the market myself, after sending Romain and he came back with petits oignons, which I replaced with ones that size of American baseballs. Once I sliced them up (when he wasn’t looking), the rest was smooth sailing.

Garlic for Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

Since there’s no water, stock or wine added to this recipe, I wasn’t confidence there would be enough liquid in the pot. But sure enough, when I lifted the lid during cooking, the half-cooked slab of beef was already floating in a bath of sweet onion juices. And when I took a sip to check the seasoning, it tasted like the best French onion soup imaginable. I sliced the beef up, sneaking a few more sips of the onion-rich broth, and put the slices of beef back in the pot to finish.

Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

Potatoes for Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

In addition to brisket, Romain learned about the wonders of fresh horseradish, which I’ve only seen them once in Paris; my local supermarket had a Festival de Racines display, a cart of root-vegetables, and I noticed a few horseradish roots tucked in amongst the parsnips and rutabagas, and snagged one of the craggy roots. (The cashier had no idea what it was.)

Creme fraiche for Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

I can’t tell you where to get one nowadays in Paris, unless you have Alsatian friends who might be willing to send you one from Alsace. Otherwise, you can use the jarred stuff, which makes a zippy sauce mixed with crème fraîche, or sour cream, to go along with the brisket.

Horseradish for Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

Fortunately there’s no shortage of crème fraîche in France, which is sold in supermarkets as sour cream is sold in the States. But I was at my fromagerie and got a tub from them. Theirs is extra, extra-thick, sticky, and so dense that you can barely drag a spoon through it. It’s pretty much heaven in a pot.

I grated up my raifort root and marinated it in vinegar, careful not to take too close of a sniff. I did that once by accident when I was grating some up in a food processor and the searing heat blasted right up through my sinuses, and permanently singed the back of my eyeballs. As tempting as it is to fully take in that glorious, fiery smell – I don’t recommend it.

Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

I didn’t want to keep our brisket all to ourselves, so I invited friends for dinner, who are half-American, half-French. The dinner seemed to incorporate the best of both worlds, and good food tends to brings people together, no matter what cultures we’re from. It’s something we all seem to agree on. And in this case, everybody agreed: This recipe makes a great platter of brisket.

Nach Waxman Brisket recipe

Nach Waxman's Brisket
Print Recipe
12 to 12 servings
This is slightly adapted from Nach Waxman's famous brisket recipe. Nach is the owner of Kitchen Arts and Letters, one of the world's great cookbook stores, in New York City. It's said that the first place it appeared was in The Silver Palate New Basics book. (And subsequently in The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes.)This makes quite a bit of brisket. Mine was 6 pounds (2,75kg), which barely fit in the pan (and I used a very large pan), but it shrunk down considerably during cooking. My pot has a capacity of at least 8 quarts (7,5l) but you can also use a roasting pan that has a lid, or one that can be covered tightly with foil. This is one of those recipes that's better the second...or even the third... day. Leftovers freeze well, too.I added a bit of fish sauce, which is undetectable in the finished brisket but adds a savory undernote to the sauce. You can leave it out if you wish. If you live in France, I've given tips on where to find similar cuts of beef at my post: Homemade corned beef.Note that brisket is best if you salt the beef the day before.
6 pounds (2,75kg) beef brisket
kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons flour
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
8 medium onions, peeled and sliced
freshly-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1. Trim excess fat from the brisket, but leave a thin layer of it intact. Season it all over with salt, rubbing it into the meat. Put the brisket in a shallow baking dish, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
2. Sprinkle the brisket with the flour. Heat the oil in a large, wide pot or roasting pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop and brown the brisket on both sides, which will take about 10 to 15 minutes, total. Transfer the brisket back to the baking dish.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
4. Lower the heat to medium and add the sliced onions to the pot, season them with a bit of salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft, wilted, and golden brown. While cooking them, scrape up any stuck on bits of beef from the bottom of the pan, and stir them into the onions. If the pan is too dry and the onions are sticking to the bottom, add a tablespoon or so of water. The onions will take about 10 to 15 minutes to cook.
5. Add the brisket back to the pot, laying it over the onions, along with any juice that may have pooled in the dish it was resting in. Smear the tomato paste over the brisket, sprinkle with the fish sauce (if using), the garlic slices, and the diced carrots. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, lifting the lid once or twice during cooking, to spoon any juices over the brisket.
6. Remove the pot from the oven and reduce the heat of the oven to 325ºF (160C). Set the brisket on a cutting board and slice it in 1/2-inch (1,25) slices against the grain, or thinner if you like, then place the slices back in the pot so that they are snugly overlapping, keeping them in the same order as they were when you sliced them. Cover the pot and bake for another 2 hours, or until tender.You can serve the brisket right away, or let it cool and refrigerate it overnight. (It's actually better served 2-3 days after it's baked.) The beef slices can be rewarmed in the pot along with the sauce.

Serving: The brisket can be served with roasted or boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, or another root vegetable puree, with juices from the pot and the long-cooked onions. Roasted or boiled carrots are also a nice accompaniment.

Storage: The brisket will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for at least two months.

Horseradish Sauce: To make horseradish sauce, mix 1 cup (65g) of freshly grated (fine) horseradish with 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar. (Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, if you wish.) Let it rest 30 minutes. Mix in 1 cups (240g) crème fraîche or sour cream and a pinch of salt. Taste, and add additional horseradish, vinegar, and salt if you wish. If it's too thick, it can be thinned with milk. The sauce will thicken if refrigerated. You can also make a similar sauce with prepared horseradish, mixing about half the amount of jarred horseradish with crème fraîche or sour cream, to taste.

 

 


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82 comments

  • January 4, 2017 10:39am

    Where’s the fat? (Your friend said lots of onions and lots of fat.) When my husband complains that something is “dry” (even soup!) he means it doesn’t have fat feel.
    My understanding of the science is that less-tender cuts get tender by cooking low and slow, to break down the connective tissue. Cooking too hard–boiling–will backfire.
    I have the Silver Palate book and the recipe is indeed there, on page 495.

    • January 4, 2017 11:01am
      David Lebovitz

      It’s a pretty fatty cut of beef, although I was surprised that when it chilled the next day, there was barely any fat to skim off the liquid. (I think in the olden days, people would have cooked the brisket without trimming off as much of the fat as I did.) Still, there was tons of liquid in the pot from all the onions. It was glorious.

  • January 4, 2017 12:21pm

    “good food tends to brings people together” – amen

  • Victoria
    January 4, 2017 1:23pm

    My Mom covered her brisket with spices then put BBQ sauce around it and cooked it in the oven overnight at 200 degrees. It was moist and tender — must find her recipe!

  • John
    January 4, 2017 3:29pm

    David, you may want to point out that the brisket should be sliced against the grain in order to make it more tender.

  • Anastasia
    January 4, 2017 3:56pm

    So now I am intrigued. You said that the liquid tasted like “the best onion soup imaginable”. Was there much liquid left at the end? Did you use it for anything? COULD you use it for anything?

  • January 4, 2017 5:15pm

    What happens if you don’t slice it before cooking it another 2 hours? Is it less tender?
    I am a big fan of brisket but am convinced that the meat they sell now is too lean.
    If (in Philadelphia) you’ve ever going to Famous Deli on 4th st. You can get corned beef lean, fatty or extra fatty. Since out starts as the same cut, they must have access to different levels of fatty beef.

  • January 4, 2017 5:20pm

    Hi David! If I want to scale down the recipe by half using a 3 lb piece woukd I reduce cooking times in which steps? Thanks!

  • Lynn in Tucson
    January 4, 2017 5:20pm

    I’ll have to give this a try! My two go-to briskets in recent years are both Deb Perlman’s, either her Tangy Spicy or the Southwestern Pulled (and I’ve never been a fan of the Coca-Cola school).

    My mom makes a grand one with dried cranberries and Portobello mushrooms….

  • Steve L.
    January 4, 2017 5:21pm

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a recipe that calls for the meat to be partially cooked after being sliced. That’s interesting and I wonder what difference it makes when compared to cooking the beef in one piece.

    • Danielle Kent
      January 4, 2017 5:33pm

      Did you use 1st cut or 2nd cut (fattier) brisket?

    • Lee
      January 12, 2017 7:10pm

      Slicing part way through and then cooking gives each slice a lot of flavour since you are providing more surface area. Try it. It’s a great recipe.

      • TealbirdSF
        January 15, 2017 11:53pm

        Thanks for this conversation. About to try it, and that instruction scared me a bit. Not dry, then?

  • The Doug...
    January 4, 2017 5:25pm

    This sounds great. I’ll have to give it a try. I think I’d add at least a cup of red wine to it to round it out though and dallop a bit of butter over it while it’s plated and finish with some coarse kosher salt. You sir, are an inspiration.

  • January 4, 2017 5:30pm
    David Lebovitz

    The Doug: Something acid would be nice to add for contrast to the sweet onions. Wine, or even vinegar, are good calls. Enjoy the brisket!

    Salvegging: I didn’t make it multiple times with different size briskets of beef, but you could certainly half the recipe. Just bake it until the meat is tender. It may take less time or similar to the one listed, even for a smaller cut.

    Meg Levitt: I don’t know. But if you do try it without slicing it, let us know how it turns out.

    John: Thanks. I did include that photo so people could see, but I added that to the instructions in case the photo wasn’t clear as you’re right – that’s important.

    Anastasia: The liquid and onions are used for a sauce, as shown in the pics. Not sure you’d have a lot left!

  • Lynda
    January 4, 2017 5:30pm

    This sounds heavenly, and I appreciate that it doesn’t use wine, as I’m allergic to alcohol.

    As for Manischewitz, my parents used to keep a bottle on hand for my grandmother, who was not Jewish and barely drank, but for some reason loved it. She also smoked after dinner mint cigarettes which were wrapped in green paper just to reinforce the point. I sure do miss her.

    • Beryl Alexander
      January 5, 2017 5:19am

      Ah Lynda I loved this little story about your granny. I now have this picture in my head of her with her green wrapped cigarettes.

  • ina siegel
    January 4, 2017 5:39pm

    its impossible to copy and print the recipe… how to copy just the recipe for further use????

    • Bebe
      January 4, 2017 6:30pm

      Did you miss the little printer symbol in the upper righthand corner above the recipe?

  • Peter Longenecker
    January 4, 2017 5:40pm

    “It was a bit of a chore to chop all those onions up . . . .” Save yourself a fair bit of time and effort: use the slicing blade on your food processor after peeling and halving the onions. We just did this for a smothered pork chops recipe.

  • Joanna Barouch
    January 4, 2017 5:41pm

    I’ve never seen a 6lb whole brisket (I live in metro NYC) but rather get 3lbs 2nd cut and 3 lbs 1st cut. 1st is the leaner of the two. I put the leaner one in the onions first then the 2nd cut over it, smooshing the tomato paste between them and over the top of the upper piece too. I don’t sear the 1st cut piece.
    If you buy kosher brisket the salting step is done for you so you can skip that part of the recipe.
    It can be difficult to find 2nd cut but if asked for it kosher butchers will get it for you.
    The 2nd cut is fattier and adds wonderful taste to the dish.

    • Camille
      January 23, 2017 7:55pm

      Joanna, I just bought a 6 lb brisket at the Upper East Side Costco on Saturday. It was the smallest one they had!

  • Shannon
    January 4, 2017 5:43pm

    What do you think about making this in a slow cooker? Would that then create way too much liquid?

    • January 4, 2017 6:23pm

      I have always cooked a brisket in the slow cooker with great results though I use Claude’s Brisket sauce. It has papaya in it which breaks down the meat fibers to make a brisket literally fall apart as it is cut! I would wonder if onion has a similar effect? Though I no longer eat meat on a regular basis, I still make this when my boys and their families come to visit. It’s definitely a family favorite!

    • Barbara
      January 4, 2017 10:31pm

      I was thinking the same thing. I have the All-Clad slow cooker with the metal insert, so I could do the browning on the stove and then slow cook the brisket. If too much liquid, you could boil it down to reduce it after removing the meat.

  • witloof
    January 4, 2017 5:46pm

    My stepmother’s family brisket recipe was quite simple and surprisingly delicious. It consisted of bedding the browned brisket on plenty of garlic and onions and then pouring a sauce composed of half beer and half Heinz catsup over it. It was covered and cooked long and slow until tender, cooled, then sliced and reheated the next day. It was always served with a pareve noodle kugel, heavy on the cinnamon.

    Sometimes I hate myself for being a gluten free vegetarian.

  • January 4, 2017 5:52pm
    David Lebovitz

    Shannon: I have one but I’ve never opened it. I don’t know – can you brown the meat in it? Will a 6# brisket fit in yours or would you have to do half?

    Joanna: I found the 6# one at a C-Town supermarket in Brooklyn. (They had two in the meat case.) Interestingly, I’ve seen a bunch of recipes for 6# briskets, and even one from Andrew Zimmern for a 10# brisket – yikes!

    • Shannon
      January 5, 2017 2:58pm

      Thanks, David. I usually brown the meat on the stove and then transfer to the slow cooker after. Not sure if a 6lb brisket will fit, I actually have no concept what size that is. But I guess I can look at the butcher and see, and if too big I will just do 3lb.

  • Maria C Ortega
    January 4, 2017 6:15pm

    Thank you David for putting the print icon on your recipe! I’ve meant to tell you that forever!

  • Bebe
    January 4, 2017 6:32pm

    David, have never used fish sauce. It does sound good for this. Notice there are a number of kinds on the shelf. What do you recommend?

    • joan hersh
      January 4, 2017 7:50pm

      hi, many knowledgeable people like the brand ‘red boat’ fish sauce the best.

    • Velops
      January 5, 2017 7:04am

      Be aware that high quality brands like Red Boat are like good extra virgin olive oil. A lot of of the character and flavor is lost in long or high heat cooking. The good stuff tends to be reserved for things that have minimal preparation like dipping sauces.

      I would recommend doing a search of fish sauce taste tests. That will help you decide which brands fit your needs and price range.

  • Bebe
    January 4, 2017 6:34pm

    I would say that the sliced brisket, reformed, would soak up the delicious sauce in a way that the intact brisket never could.

  • Stephanie Pierson
    January 4, 2017 6:45pm

    Hi fellow Brisketeers!

    David, thanks for your mouthwatering brisket article and for mentioning The Brisket Book. I am the author.

    Just a few thoughts on everyone’s questions and thoughts.

    A brisket that is sliced – like Nach’s – during the cooking is because Nach came up with the genius notion of “interim slicing.” Love Nach and his brisket – he says that it is a happy marriage of his mother and his mother-in-law’s recipe. And I mention in my book the fact (urban myth?) that Nach’s brisket is the most Googled brisket in the world. Go Nach!

    The sweet and sour recipe is in my book – it is the only recipe I know that goes into a blender. And it is heaven. The person who really gets credit for it (and who has it in a number of cookbooks besides mine) is Levana Kirrschenbaum. My version is adapted from her terrific book, Levana’s Table.

    One of my favorites and my most go-to is a cranberry brisket from Roberta Greenburg, who was the assistant to the head rabbi at Temple Emanu-El in New York. The cranberry caramelizes with the onions and trust me, it’s heavenly (sorry for the pun.)

    My other favorite and one that is a little out of left field is the amazing brisket (it’s in my book or just go online and find it) (BrandingBrisket With Bo’s BBQ Sauce) that came to me from Niman Ranch. It is a hybrid of a braised brisket that, once cooked, calls for the pan juices to be discarded (don’t – save for mixing with some egg noodles for another time) and then (spoiler alert!) the brisket is covered with a simple but killer bbq sauce. So it has a mellow richness and an unexpected saucy tang. This brisket is a big winner when leftovers are shredded for a kind of Sloppy Joe served on a warm potato bun.

    One more incredible brisket recipe – this is one of the few summer briskets I came across. It’s made with fresh peaches (don’t even try to freeze this after you make it; it doesn’t work) and is inspired by a recipe from the Eastern shore of Maryland. It comes from Chef John Shields who heads up Gertrudes, at The Baltimore Museum of Art.

    And I have (you can too) a French brisket!!! Well, it was given to me by French/American chef, Daniel Rose. And he cooks it, I would imagine, when he is in NY or home in Chicago, using American brisket. His recipe is the only one I know that is both refined and robust, using ginger, orange peel, tomato and WHITE wine. Hardly any brisket uses white wine but it works beautifully.

    Brisket science & onions: When I was working on my book, Kenji-Lopez Alt was kind enough to answer my question, “So Kenji, how come so many braised brisket recipes include onion?” His answer: “There is a simple alchemy between onions and meat since proteins and sugar are essential to developing the complex flavors of cooked brisket. Onions and brisket are a perfect combination.”

    So there’s brisket science and brisket magic. Good to know why it works.

    Here’s how I really feel about brisket. And I think maybe we all do. I read it on Chowhound and now it is my brisket mantra (well, in addition to “low and slow”): “I have heard the angels singing when I cut it.” Bien sur!

    • January 4, 2017 7:26pm

      Thanks for this. I have copied it out and put it in my copy of your book! Happy New Year.

      • Stephanie Pierson
        January 4, 2017 7:52pm

        You too! I’m so glad you have my book. And anything that helps make a better brisket or makes it more understandable is a good thing!

    • January 5, 2017 4:55pm

      Thank you Stephanie; that’s what I love about this blog – all the readers who not only appreciate David’s cooking and writing but who add generously also their own ‘good news’. Thank You so much – love your last quote. Moi j’entends les anges souvent chanter, mais je ne les jamais entendus quand je cuisinais… Qu.chose à retenir pour le future!

      • Stephanie Pierson
        January 5, 2017 10:47pm

        You are so welcome – what an honor to be even a small part of David’s amazing blog. And what a sweet French hope for your brisket future!

    • kayenne
      January 6, 2017 5:28pm

      Hi Stephanie!
      Would we need to “rest” the meat before slicing? Would not slicing it immediately out of the oven cause the “juices” to run? Or does it not matter because it’s going back in for a good 2 hours more? Thanks!

      • Stephanie Pierson
        January 9, 2017 4:30pm

        Hi Kayenne! If you are talking about Nach’s “interim slicing” (David, what do you think?), I don’t think you need to “rest” the meat at all. Slice away. “”Juices” do not run when you cut.

        • TomK
          January 25, 2017 11:20pm

          Actually, the juices do run, just like if you sliced any roast or steak without letting it rest. (I’m midway through cooking this right now, so I know whereof I speak. Although it’s taking longer than the given time …) At first I cut a few slices off the thick end and juice was everywhere, so I took a tip from a comment on the Waxman recipe on Epicurious and let it sit for an hour. Hardly any loss of meat juices after that.

  • January 4, 2017 7:07pm

    The simplicity of this recipe appeals to me. This will be a first time for me. I’m tempted to put it in my smoker.

  • January 4, 2017 7:22pm

    I have never tried this particular recipe, although I shopped at KA&L often when Mr. Waxman was still a daily presence at the counter! A good friend of mine, a classically-trained chef, passed along her brisket recipe to me, and I have always used that. But as I have complete faith in you – the person who taught me how to make perfect split pea soup (after a long search) and delectable financiers (which somehow remind me of a little cake my English grandmother made all the time and which flavor has eluded me for years) – I will try this recipe. I made my first prime rib in many years for New Year’s Day and used Anne Seranne’s recipe, which turned out a perfectly beautiful roast; however, we thought compared to brisket it was bland and boring. In spite of the success of the recipe, I won’t be making it again. Next up, your brisket.

  • Carla
    January 4, 2017 7:23pm

    This is my go-to brisket recipe and it is fabulous. I use the largest onions I can find, 10 of them at least, and slice them quite thickly since it really doesn’t matter. Takes a while for that pile of onion to soften and then start to turn color but other than stirring on occasion to give them all a turn on the bottom of the pan, it takes no effort. There is always more than enough liquid to have a “gravy” at the end even though there is none added. Can’t recommend this recipe highly enough!

  • cinzia
    January 4, 2017 8:45pm

    This recipe is a family favorite!!

  • January 4, 2017 9:02pm

    My mom made brisket decades ago using a couple odd ingredients and it was amazing. She served it with delicious rolls and we would dip them first in the sauce from cooking. All I can remember is one of the ingredients was a vinegar type salad dressing.

  • January 4, 2017 9:37pm

    This recipe sounds similar to Genovese, which people told me was the true signature dish of Naples (nope, not pizza :) It’s beef cooked only in onions, no liquid, braised for hours, and eaten over pasta, and it is SO delicious!

  • Chef Deb
    January 4, 2017 9:46pm

    I always loved Nach Waxman’s website, “A Jew and a carrot” He’s a funny guy! Glad you posted this recipe, been making it for years and I feel one can never have too many onions with brisket. I add more carrots BTW.

  • Gavrielle
    January 4, 2017 10:08pm

    I thought I had the only brisket recipe I’d ever need (a barbecue sauce one by the Australian recipe writer Donna Hay) but this looks unbelievably good. Tucked away for the Southern Hemisphere winter!

  • Lucinda
    January 5, 2017 12:07am

    I too am in the Southern Hemisphere and will be trying this in winter, say July.
    Back in the day, before the Internet was even thought of, I used to ring Mr Waxman and order my cookbooks. (Ones I had read about in US Gourmet..)
    My husband would often be in New York on business and was always surprised at the heavy parcels that would arrive in his hotel room, addressed to me in Australia. Thank you Mr Waxman

  • Marianne McGriff-Zionsville, IN
    January 5, 2017 1:10am

    David, I’m looking forward to trying this when a few friends come in a couple of weeks…last year, I served them your recipe for Cassoulet and they’re still talking about it…this looks like a good #2!!!! Merci and Bonne Année, Marianne

  • merle
    January 5, 2017 1:14am

    DAVID…i use lots of sliced onions on the bottom…brisket…jar of chili sauce crushed garlic… repertoire sugar…rosemary…oregano…pepper…mdijon…onion soup mix…and anything else to make a paste to schmear on top. cover and bake at 275 for hours until it gets tenderish and then bump up to 350 for a while. remove meat…put onions and juices in blender for the best best in the world. i just made this in colombia with available ingredients abd meats and it is now part of my friends’ repetoire

  • Katherine Brignole
    January 5, 2017 1:45am

    have been making my brisket and pot roast like this too. The recipe that I have (from Arthur Schwartz) is to use one half of onions by weight to the meat. So 6lbs brisket, 3lbs onions. I once made it ahead of time skimmed the fat and pureed the onions into a sauce. Very tasty.

  • Jennifer
    January 5, 2017 4:08am

    Hi David. I’ve wanted to make brisket in Paris before but could never find it in Paris or figure out what the French equivalent would be. Can you tell us where you find brisket in Paris??

  • Elizabeth
    January 5, 2017 4:10am

    I love your blog and I can’t wait to try this recipe. Will you share the name and address of the shop in your neighborhood that sells the crème fraîche?

  • Pam
    January 5, 2017 4:46am

    Yes! I’ve been making this since Silver Palate came out (well over 100 times) It’s a very reliable recipe.
    There is always enough liquid.

    David I love you but not sure about fish sauce addition you suggest.
    I feel wild enough adding my prepared horseradish to full fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

  • January 5, 2017 8:20am
    David Lebovitz

    Elizabeth: Just about every fromagerie sells crème fraîche like this in Paris. Just check your local one.

    Jennifer: I linked to a post I wrote a couple of times, in the headnote just before the recipe as well as in the 3rd paragraph, and if you click on one of those, it’ll take you to a story I wrote that has the right cuts of beef in France, along with diagrams.

    merle: I know my aunt used to make a brisket with prepared chile sauce but the only recipes I found online that used it were just taking a brisket, slathering it with the sauce, wrapping it in foil and baking it a long time. I haven’t tried it but no one in my family seems to know how my aunt did hers – unfortunately!

    Velops: I love Red Boat fish sauce. Unfortunately I’ve never seen it in Paris (even though their website has a French importer’s address) – but none of the Asian markets in Paris carry it. (And I’m too scared to bring a bottle back from the U.S.because I know what happens when you break a bottle of fish sauce…from experience!

    • kayenne
      January 6, 2017 5:34pm

      Call the importer. They can point you where to find them!

  • mumimor
    January 5, 2017 11:33am

    This looks so delicious! I’m going to try it next time I invite guests over.
    Brisket was the first dish my gran taught me to cook, when I was moving away at 17. Very simple recipe: one small brisket, one whole onion, the white part of one leek, one carrot, one cup of water, one tablespoon of vinegar, salt and pepper. You rub the brisket with the salt and pepper, brown everything in the oven, and then add the water and vinegar. Bake at a slow heat till done. Delicious! The thing was, one of my future roomies kept kosher, and my gran explained that if I kept a roasting pan just for this dish, he could join the rest of us at the table once a week. Which he did.
    This recipe looks better than my gran’s, I just wanted to share another granny-story ;-)

  • January 5, 2017 2:25pm

    Romain has obviously never eaten my boeuf bourgignon. It is anything but dry.

  • AliBean
    January 5, 2017 3:40pm

    I have always wondered about this recipe (no liquid? no way!) but never made it. Based on your evidence, I will!

  • January 5, 2017 4:50pm

    Oh, this sounds like a typical January comfort food recipe – and I swear I could smell the taste and juices right out of my screen….. heaven!
    Went to read about the corned-beef recipe you linked and didn’t believe my eyes: You have a butcher called METZGER?! Honestly? You know that this actually translater as butcher? Oh the fun…. :)
    Thank you for your always great way of informing in depth without ever being imposing or ‘teacher-y’. And you cover nearly always all questions. BRAVO
    Happy New Year you great American in Paris!

    Have you cracked the problem with the sending of new comments? I have it on other sites and it REALLY wd be a gr8 thing to have on your site, especially on yours….

  • Susan Litman
    January 5, 2017 7:24pm

    I love your recollection of your grandmother in this post. My mom used to make brisket every year for Rosh Hashanah, using a ton of sliced onions and sometimes a dry red wine, sometimes not (Kedem. No Manischewitz for her. :)) I loved her brisket like crazy, and a few years ago she stopped making it–complained that it was always dry (it wasn’t) and that no one ever ate it (um, I did . . . what am I, chopped liver?!) I’ve never made it because my husband hates brisket, but I’ve been dying to try Nach Waxman’s recipe. Your blog post and photos reinforce that–plus, my husband loves onions so I suspect he might just fall for this dish! I can give you the credit, David. :)

  • Cheryl Francisconi
    January 5, 2017 7:50pm

    Having lived in Ethiopia for a number of years, I learned to cook the wonderful dishes and onions, just onions, usually chopped rather than slides like this, are the source of most of the great Ethiopian dishes, including Doro Wot. All you do is cook the onions down until they become saucy — and then add the spices and chicken for example. I remember being surprised when I learned this. I can’t wait to try this recipe David, as it reminds me of the ways I cooked in Ethiopia.

  • Shazam
    January 7, 2017 11:02am

    I am vegetarian but this looks amazing!!!!

  • joanna
    January 8, 2017 6:21pm

    HI – Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I made it over the weekend and it was delicious. All my guests went back for seconds. Fish sauce was a great addition. Will definelty make again.

  • Christopher
    January 8, 2017 9:58pm

    I’ve been doing brisket somewhat like this for years – it’s our favourite Sunday dish in winter, usually served with honey roast parsnips, and of course horseradish. I always put into the pot a very small amount – just one ‘petal’ – of star anise. Sounds odd I know, but it’s very good.

  • Rochelle
    January 8, 2017 10:40pm

    Thank you for this recipe. In the spirit of not hewing closely to a recipe, I made this Chuck Cover.
    It is an unusual cut which is lean hard working muscle, and very cheap. It was about 6 lbs total.
    I didn’t bother with flour or browning. I just rubbed the beef all over with 6 crushed cloves of garlic, smoked paprika, crushed black pepper, ground coriander, and soy sauce. Then I put 4 sliced onions on the bottom of a fairly snug fitting pan, lay the meat on top and covered it with 4 more sliced onions. I covered it and let it bake for 1 hour at 350 F and then 4 hours at 300 F.
    I turned over the meat which was now swimming in a generous amount of liquid. I added 1 can of chopped italian tomatoes rather than tomato paste. I stirred in 1 teaspoon of Marmite(!) which is a great source of umami, instead of your fish sauce. Then it had to bake covered at 300 F for at least 4 more hours.
    Cooled and sliced, reheated. It has a different flavor than brisket, stronger. But definitely worth trying..

    • January 9, 2017 6:40pm
      David Lebovitz

      Marmite is very good in stocks and broths indeed. (Or Vegemite.) I have a tube I sometimes use for that purpose. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Erica
    January 9, 2017 9:19am

    When you re warm the brisket the next day in its pot- is it being warmed in the oven (if so what temp?) or on the stove top?

    • Stephanie Pierson
      January 9, 2017 4:35pm

      Hi Erica! I would like to know what David says but I warm it on the top of the stove in my large Le Creuset. Just keep the temperature very low. Brisket deserves gentle attention. On that note, don’t fuss with too much stirring it while it is warming. I find that when I do that, the slices (already tender) can fall apart. And you want them to stay intact. Hope that helps.

    • January 9, 2017 4:44pm
      David Lebovitz

      You can do it either in the oven or one the stovetop. The important thing is to warm it gently over relatively low heat; you don’t want to bring it to a hard or rolling boil.

  • January 10, 2017 12:40am

    This looks like heaven! Marcella Hazan does something similar with brisket in one of her books, except she studs the brisket with cloves (if I’m remembering correctly) and pancetta in addition to cooking over onions. So many recipes for brisket so little time!

  • Alan
    January 10, 2017 2:19am

    Note in Step 6 the recipe states: “325ºF (160ºF).” The second ‘F’ should be a ‘C’.

  • Minna
    January 10, 2017 2:39pm

    In the midst of epic and much-needed rainstorms in Mountain View, CA, and craving comfort food, I made this for the family’s Sunday night dinner. It was amazing. Not much liquid, but enough, with a 3# piece of brisket. Less cooking time with the smaller piece. Served with potatoes roasted with rosemary and garlic and a salad. One of those recipes like Momofoku BoSsam that would be a definite hit with all dinner guests. Thank you David!

  • Jukesgrrl
    January 14, 2017 3:03am

    The first time I ever ate brisket was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The lovely Jewish cook made it according to her family recipe. Here it is (and I’m not kidding): season a medium brisket, sear it, then cover it with one bottle of Heinz Ketchup and one can of Iron City Beer. Cover tightly and cook on very low until it is falling apart when forked. If it needs liquid part way through cooking, add a bit of beef stock. I’ve used the recipe many times and it’s even delicious when I make it.

  • January 16, 2017 3:32am

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a recipe that calls for the meat to be partially cooked after being sliced.

  • January 17, 2017 3:24am

    The brisket was great, but I should have rinsed the salt off of the brisket before cooking it. The final dish was too salty.

  • Julie
    January 19, 2017 7:37pm

    Oh Lord, this has my mouth watering! I can tell this is going to be the best brisket I’ve ever had or made. If I didn’t have clients stacked all day I’d settle in and enjoy the luscious aroma of beef and onion slow cooking. However…not today, but it is cast in STONE for Sunday. I can’t wait! Thank you for your wonderful recipe storytelling…you are always a highlight of my day, and I know that any recipe from you is rock solid.

  • Melissa
    January 20, 2017 2:31am

    I made something like this today – a French recipe for Bargeman’s Stew… chuck roast (cut up) and sliced onions in the slow cooker for 9 hrs… simplistic, but delicious! Supposed to be dressed with a sauce of anchovies, parley, garlic and Dijon, but we ate as is with chopped parsley… nice after a long day.

  • Shirley
    January 24, 2017 5:34pm

    With my very first grill (and it’s gas!!! My husband always had to have charcoal) and first time grilling, I made the most mouth watering 10#brisket. Dried the day before, dry rub applied, wrapped in foil grilled on lowest I could go 250F, then unwrapped on grill for 4 hr, with squirt of apple cider every 30 min. Guests were wild for it (as I am for you!!!)

  • James
    January 30, 2017 8:45pm

    Made this last night and followed the recipe pretty much exactly as written. Came out perfectly. Beef was tender, moist and delicious. I did defat the liquid before serving. I will definitely be making this again.

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