Brisket is the star of the Passover spread—but it's also a cut of meat that needs to be braised low and slow. While Passover brisket is typically cooked in tomato and red wine, chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln in Portland, Oregon, also adds reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms and their soaking liquid for a punch of umami flavor. The whole pot is then thrown into the oven to slowly braise to tender perfection.
As with any braise, the sear is crucial. With the brisket simmering away in the oven, this is your one chance to get some color on the meat, so make it count (nobody wants a beige brisket). Same goes for the onions and tomato paste: Their caramelization adds the rich color and even a hint of sweetness. It's essential to the flavor, so don't skimp on the cooking time.
To learn more, read "For the Seder Good."
Braised Brisket with Porcini Mushrooms
Recipe adapted from Jenn Louis, Lincoln, Portland, OR
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 45 minutes
2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
1½ cups boiling water
¼ cup olive oil
One 6-pound brisket
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 bay leaves
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 rosemary sprig
½ cup tomato paste
1 cup red wine
5 cups chicken stock
Chopped parsley, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, cover the dried porcini mushrooms with the boiling water. Weigh them down with a plate to fully submerge them and let sit until rehydrated, 15 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and set both aside.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. Sear the brisket, flipping once, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a plate.
3. Add the reserved mushrooms, garlic, bay leaves, onion and rosemary to the pan, and cook until the onions are translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized, 2 minutes.
4. Add the reserved porcini liquid and the wine, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has nearly completely evaporated, 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the brisket back to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake, flipping the brisket once halfway through cooking, until tender when pierced with a fork, 2½ to 3 hours.
5. Place the pot back on the stovetop and transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and reduce until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, let the brisket cool for 10 minutes, then thinly slice it against the grain. Once the cooking liquid is reduced, add the sliced brisket back to the pot to warm through. Transfer to a platter and garnish with chopped parsley, then serve.