October 3, 2016
This is, essentially, a Belgian beef carbonnade, made with brisket instead of stewing meat. But the principle is the same: you’re braising beef in a slew of onions, using beer as the liquid. What makes this so satisfying is that you cook it ahead of time, cool it, refrigerate it overnight and then remove all the fat. What you end up with is very tender meat in a deeply aromatic sauce.
Begin with a 4-5 pound brisket, dry it well and shower it with salt and pepper. Slick a large pan with neutral oil, get it hot, and sear the meat on both sides. Remove it to platter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice 4 to 6 onions (you cannot have too many) by cutting them in half lengthwise and then cutting them into long ribbons, and cook them in the fat remaining in the pan until they’ve become golden and extremely aromatic.
Put half of the onions into a large casserole with a cover, add the brisket and top with the remaining onions. Toss in a bay leaf, a bottle of beer, and a splash of balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Cover and put into the oven. (If you have a bouillon cube of some kind, you might want to throw that in as well.) Now relax for three and a half hours, enjoying the wonderful aroma that begins to creep into every corner of your house.
Remove from the oven, uncover, and allow to cool completely. Then put into the refrigerator overnight (or up to a couple of days).
Remove all the congealed fat from the top of the pot.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the brisket and slice it, against the grain. Put half of the onion sauce into an 8 by 13 inch pan (really, any flat pan will do), top with the sliced brisket and the remaining sauce, cover very well with foil and reheat in the oven for about an hour and a quarter.
Taste, season with salt, pepper and perhaps another splash of balsamic vinegar and serve to 8 to 10 very happy people.
Categorised in: Big Things