Matt's Whole Brisket With Tomato Gravy
Time: 4 hours
¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)( 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary( 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, more to taste( 1 tablespoon kosher salt, more to taste( 2 teaspoons light or dark brown sugar( 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper( 1 tablespoon smoked or hot paprika( 1 8-to-9-pound whole brisket, trimmed (see note)( ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil( 3 cups chopped yellow onions (about 2 large onions)( 1 35-ounce can plus 1 28-ounce can (about 7 cups) peeled tomatoes and liquid( 1¼ cups fruity white wine.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, combine garlic, rosemary, pepper, salt, brown sugar, red pepper and paprika. Place brisket fat-side up in a large, deep roasting pan (about 13 by 16 inches) and rub all over with mixture.
2. Roast brisket, uncovered, for 20 minutes. While brisket cooks, pour olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat and add onions. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their liquid, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally, breaking tomatoes with a spoon or whisk. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Remove brisket from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 325.
3. Pour 1 cup wine and the tomato sauce over brisket. Cover pan as tightly as possible with foil and roast for 3½ hours, turning once at 2 hours and again at 3 hours, each time carefully replacing foil.
4. Transfer brisket to a platter. Allow sauce to settle for a moment in pan, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer to a blender, allowing fat to strain out. Purée until smooth, adding remaining ¼ cup wine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Slice brisket diagonally from thinnest end in ¼-inch slices. Serve with sauce.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
Note: A whole brisket is composed of two flat pieces of meat (typically sold separately as "first cut" and "second cut") sandwiched together with a layer of fat between them and with a thick layer of fat along one side. A 12-pound untrimmed whole brisket weighs about 8 pounds when trimmed. If purchasing the brisket untrimmed, trim the external fat to within 1/3 inch or ½ inch of the flesh; also, excavate any large cavities of fat between the two layers.
NY Times, April 12, 2006