SMOTHERED BEEF BRISKET
From Julia Child’s Kitchen
4 lbs. lean, flat 2-inch thick center-cut single brisket, most of the fat trimmed off
1 or 2 large garlic cloves, pureed’
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 C. olive oil
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 C. sliced onions
1 C. sliced carrots
2 C. fresh Italian plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
Trim excess fat off the brisket, leaving 1/8-inch layer on the fatty side. Make a paste by mashing 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and thyme into the pureed garlic, using the flat side of a large kitchen knife to do the mashing. With salt-thyme-garlic mixture in a small bowl, beat in the oil and pepper. Spread this mixture over both sides of the brisket.
Toss the vegetables in a large bowl with a little salt and thyme. Spread half of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables. Cover with remaining vegetables. Cover the pan tightly with foil. This dish may be prepared to this point in
advance and refrigerated.
When ready to cook, place in a 300 degree oven. Baste with accumulated juices about every 1/2 hour. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, until a fork goes into the meat easily. (Note that brisket is never tender like steak, but should be pleasantly chewable and will have a real beefy flavor.
Note that the meat can rest after cooking, from 1 to 24 hours or
more.) Transfer meat with its vegetables to a smaller pot (it will have shrunk). Degrease the juices and pour them over meat. If you are not serving the meat that day, chill it uncovered. When cooled, it may then be covered and kept under refrigeration for a day or two.
To reheat, cover and put in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or so, basting two or three times with the juices.
Remove meat with its vegetable topping to a carving board.
Pour juices into a saucepan, degrease, and rapidly boil down almost to a syrup. Or, if you want more of a sauce, thicken the juice with 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons wine or stock. Carve the meat across the grain into thin slanting slices. Accompany each serving with a spoonful or two of sauce and vegetables.
Make 6 to 8 servings.