2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 first-cut beef brisket (4 to 5 pounds)
2 cups chopped onions
4 large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup low-sodium beef or chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in juice or pureed
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley (optional), for garnish
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place the olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir to mix. Rub the mixture all over the meat.
Place the brisket, fat side up, in a large casserole or Dutch oven with a tightfitting lid. Toss in the onions, carrots and bay leaves. Blend the tomato paste into the broth and then pour it over the meat and vegetables. Pour the crushed tomatoes and red wine on top. The liquid should cover the meat and most of the vegetables. Cover the casserole and bake until the meat is very tender, about 3½ hours.
If you are serving the brisket the next day, let it cool and then put the entire casserole in the refrigerator. About an hour before serving, skim off any hardened fat, then take the meat out of the sauce and cut off any excess fat from the top of the meat. Slice the brisket across the grain, as thin or thick as you like, then neatly return the sliced meat to the sauce. You can let it sit at room temperature for an hour before reheating it, which will make the process go faster and the meat heat more evenly.
Place the pot over medium-low heat, and heat the brisket in the sauce until everything is hot. Alternatively, you may place the pot in a preheated 325-degree oven until everything is warmed through, and the cooking liquid has reduced and thickened a bit. This will take about 30 minutes in the oven, maybe less on the stovetop. Adjust seasonings as needed.
You can serve the brisket in the casserole or transfer it to a large shallow serving bowl. Either way, remove and discard the bay leaves and sprinkle the parsley on top of the brisket, if desired.
If you are serving the brisket right after you cook it, remove the meat from the casserole and let it rest on a platter, loosely tented with aluminum foil. Let the cooking liquid and vegetables sit for about 15 minutes, then spoon off any fat that has accumulated. Place the casserole over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces a bit, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary, and remove and discard the bay leaves. Slice the meat neatly across the grain, return it to the pot.
Serves 8 to 10
Nutrition values per serving: 440 calories, 27 g fat (11 g saturated), 28 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 93 mg cholesterol, 1509 mg sodium.