Ina Garten's No-Fuss Brisket Features A Sauce That Makes Itself

Ina Garten is the queen of simple yet sophisticated, and her brisket with carrots, onions, and celery is no exception. In an episode of Food Network's "Barefoot Contessa," she calls this dish an "old-fashioned Jewish dinner." It's got a lot going for it; a meal to feed many, Garten's recipe can serve up to 12 people but the prep is easy and quick (just 10 minutes). It all cooks in one pan meaning there's very little cleanup, and most importantly, it's delicious. But the real no-fuss standout here is the sauce. Sauces can sometimes be the hardest part of a recipe, often requiring a deeper grasp of food science, as well as a bit of finesse, but Garten's sauce makes itself. No kidding.

The sauce for this dish is made with just one additional ingredient besides the vegetables, brisket, and meat rub: tomato juice. The oven does the rest. Cooked low and slow along with the brisket, there's plenty of time for the juices of the meat and the flavors of the onions and other ingredients to meld and mingle with the tomato sauce, resulting in a deep layering of flavor which belies its simplicity.

The secret to Ina Garten's self-making brisket sauce

Before you set out to make this meal, bear in mind just how large of a brisket Garten's recipe calls for. Her piece is around 6 to 7 pounds, so be sure to dial everything back accordingly if you're using a smaller cut of beef. Garten begins by laying the brisket in a roasting pan. She then makes a rub for it consisting of salt, pepper, minced garlic, and oregano, which she spreads evenly over top of it until thoroughly coated. Next, she adds a layer of chopped carrots and celery to the pan, followed by large-sliced onions (she uses six). A few bay leaves serve to round out the flavor. Finally, Garten pours a 46-ounce can of tomato juice into the pan — about three-quarters the height of the brisket.

The dish is baked for about 3 ½ hours at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. But first, Garten covers it with parchment paper, followed by foil, to prevent the acidity of the tomatoes from reacting with the aluminum foil. Then prepare for a delicious gift that keeps on giving. The renowned chef compares this recipe to beef stew, saying, "It lasts forever and you can reheat it."