Red Wine and Orange Braised Brisket
Brisket is a full-flavored cut of meat that needs to be braised in liquid for a very long period of time. The braising liquid we've used here is made from a full-bodied red wine, orange marmalade, orange zest and juice and a variety of fresh herbs. The long cooking time imparts these flavors throughout the meat, resulting in a really pungent and memorable dish, just perfect for a casual celebration. For make-ahead instructions, check our recipe notes.
- 4-pound beef brisket (already trimmed of excess fat - see recipe notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup beef stock or water
- 1-1/2 cups dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- Zest of 1 large orange (reserve remaining fruit for slicing)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 lb cipollini or pearl onions, ends trimmed, skins removed
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Coat a roasting pan large enough to hold the brisket comfortably (see recipe notes) with nonstick spray and set aside.
Season the brisket on both sides with the salt, onion powder and a few grinds of black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Sear the brisket until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared roasting pan and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Scatter the flour over top, and using a spatula, combine with the shallots and garlic and scrape up any browned bits that may have accumulated on the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the flour is well incorporated and beginning to turn golden brown.
Whisk in the beef stock and continue cooking until smooth and starting to thicken. Whisk in the wine, orange marmalade, orange zest, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cut 4 slices from the center of the orange that you used for zest. Lay them on top of the brisket and top with the fresh thyme sprigs. Squeeze the juice from any remaining orange pieces into the sauce, stir, then pour the mixture evenly over the meat.
Cover the roasting pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and place in the oven for 3 hours, removing once per hour to baste the meat with the sauce.
After the brisket has been cooking for 3 hours, add the onions to the pan, basting with the sauce. Cover again and return to the oven for 1 more hour.
Remove the meat from the sauce, place on a carving board and cover to keep warm. Transfer the onions to a dish and set aside. Pour the sauce into a gravy separator, or skim the fat from the top with a large spoon.
Carve the brisket into 1/4-inch thick slices, against the grain. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the onions and pour some of the sauce over top. Serve the remaining sauce in a gravy boat or small bowl.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
When choosing a brisket for this recipe, ask your butcher for a piece that runs about 4 pounds once trimmed of excess fat. Try to use a roasting pan that is not too much larger than the brisket itself. We found a deep lasagna pan worked well for ours. If the pan is too large, the depth of the sauce will be too shallow and despite being covered, you may get too much evaporation.
This meal can be prepared a day in advance and easily reheated for about 45 minutes at 325°F. If you do plan to refrigerate it before serving, you can skip the section in the instructions for skimming the fat from the sauce and just remove what solidifies overnight in the refrigerator.