French Onion Brisket by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
December 29, 2020
NEWS FLASH !!
Braised Beef Brisket meets French Onion Soup. One pot. Makes its own Sauce. Delicious and Easy.
(The work is in slicing the onions and in being patient enough to let them caramelize slowly to their full browned glory.)
- Prep: 30 mins
- Cook: 40 mins
- Yields: Makes 4 servings
One 2 ½ to 3- pound piece of beef brisket (NOT corned beef)
3-pounds sweet large onions ** (see note below)
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup dry white wine or dry sherry
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Fresh ground black pepper
3-4 cups beef stock, low sodium preferably
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Caramelizing the onions.
There are lots of choices of onions in the market these days. Professional kitchens have long used large yellow,’ Spanish’ onions. Large ‘sweet’ onions are now readily available as well. In terms of caramelizing onions, cutting large 1-pound onions will yield a better consistency in the thickness of the onion slices.
Slice off both ends of each onion and peel away the skin. Cut each onion in half through the ends. Lay each onion half, flat side down, on the cutting board. Cut slices ‘against the grain’; that is cut the onion into short slices (do not cut the onion into rings!). If you haven’t done this before, cut slowly for accuracy. Cut 1/8-inch slices if you can. Set aside.
Brown and braise the brisket.
Pat the brisket dry. Season both sides with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Choose a sturdy Dutch oven/braising pot with a tightly-fitting cover. Heat 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil until close to smoking. Carefully lower the beef into the pot. Let cook undisturbed until one side is very browned (and smells delicious!). Turn the meat over and brown the second side. Remove browned meat to a plate. Turn heat off. Carefully pour off excess fat, but leave 2 tablespoons of fat in the bottom of the pot. Add all the sliced onions to the pot. Stir well to combine. Season with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt as you are doing this. Add ½ teaspoon of dried thyme as well. Turn the heat back on, to medium. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the onions in the pot. Stir well.
Caramelizing the onions.
Caramelizing onions is a beautiful process. The moisture in the onions slowly evaporates and they slowly turn brown. Don’t rush the process. (AND DON’T ADD SUGAR !!)
When they are completely browned and softened, add the wine or sherry and let it reduce into the onions. Add the browned beef back to the pot. Add beef stock to come halfway up the sides of the beef. Dissolve the Dijon mustard into the broth and add a few twists of fresh ground black pepper.
Turn the heat off.
Braising the beef and onions.
Lay a piece of aluminum foil down on top of the beef, onions and juices. Cover the meat and onions completely. (You may need to put two pieces of foil together to make a larger piece.) This will help the beef to braise more evenly and will keep the juices from evaporating. Cover the meat and onions flush to their surface with the foil.
Cover the pot snugly with its lid. Place pot in the oven and let braise for 1 ¼ hours. Remove pot from oven, lift cover and the foil cover. Be careful of escaping steam. Check for tenderness by plunging the point of a knife into the brisket. It probably needs a bit more time in the oven.
Return pot to oven and cook for another 30 minutes and test again for tenderness.
When tender, let the meat cool in its own juices. Skim any visible fat off the surface.
Slice the meat into ‘thick-ish’ slices, against the grain. Taste the sauce and season to taste with more salt and pepper; to your liking.
Serve with mashed potatoes, potato gratin or scalloped potatoes.
PS. The finished meat and juices can be separated and refrigerated to serve the next day. It’s an easy re-heat if the meat is pre-sliced and reheated gently in the sauce. (Re-heat in a wide sauté pan, to ensure the slices stay intact.)