By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal
This past weekend, my husband and I made our first brisket. And it was fabulous. My mother-in-law usually cooks the brisket in our family, so it’s not a cut of beef we’ve ever bothered to fool with. But Charlie saw a recipe in the March issue of Cooking Light magazine for Easy Braised Brisket, and decided he wanted to try it.
Finding a small brisket was the problem. I located only one brisket in town and it was a large one – to the tune of $31. I was not going to spend that kind of money on a piece of meat I’d never cooked before.
On Saturday, when we saw nothing but rain in Tupelo’s forecast, we headed to Memphis, where the rain had already stopped for the day. After a delicious lunch at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, we made a stop at The Fresh Market.
Now, I do love our grocery stores here in Tupelo and know several employees at a couple of them by name, but The Fresh Market offers things you can’t always find here.
Like a 2-pound brisket.
On Sunday afternoon, we got out the recipe and followed it to the letter. I have to admit, I was a bit worried about cooking the meat in a Dutch oven on top of the stove. Most brisket-makers I know cook theirs in the oven or on the smoker.
I worried for nothing. The brisket was tender and flavorful, and the tomato-sauce that we spooned on top of the sliced meat was marvelous.
I will definitely use this recipe to make this very lean cut of beef again. But next time I’ll shop locally, buy the bigger brisket and cut it in half or thirds so I can enjoy it again and again.
Easy Braised Brisket
1 (21⁄2-pound) beef brisket, trimmed
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11⁄2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 cup water
1⁄3 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Sprinkle brisket evenly with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add brisket to pan; cook 10 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove brisket from pan. Add onion and oregano to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Return brisket to pan; add water. Cover; reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours. Add olives and tomatoes; cover and cook 1 hour. Remove brisket from pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut brisket against grain into thin slices; return brisket slices to pan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.