My family rarely eats beef for a variety of reasons, but I make an exception for this brisket recipe that requires a five-pound beef brisket. An excavation into the recesses of my basement freezer recently yielded a large brisket that had been there for a year or so. Not to worry, the brisket turned into a delicious, buttery-soft dinner, infusing yellow potatoes with flavor as it cooked.
Grass fed beef is expensive, which is why this dish is a rare treat. I buy beef from a local farm that feeds its cattle on grass that’s not sprayed with pesticides. The farm is not certified organic, but it’s close enough for me.
I adapted this recipe from Sheila Lukins’ classic cookbook, New Basics, a resource I turn to often for ideas and inspiration. Lukins knew how to put flavors together. Her precise recipes were invaluable to me when I was teaching myself how to cook.
I’d never cooked beef brisket before I tried Lukins’ recipe a few years ago. I didn’t even know what beef brisket was, except it was the cheapest cut of grass-fed beef sold by my local farmer. I bought a five-pound brisket, thinking I’d figure out how to cook it.
I learned that brisket is a tough cut of meat, which is why it’s relatively cheap. It takes three and a half hours of baking in a 375 degree F oven before the tough brisket breaks down into tender meat. Lukins bakes the brisket on a bed of onions, but I substitute yellow potatoes to create a one-dish meal I serve with a green salad.
Here’s the basic technique: Brown the brisket over high heat in a skillet to seal in the juices. Next, coat it with tomato paste, then bake it in the oven on a bed of cut yellow potatoes for an hour and a half. Take the brisket out of the oven and make half-inch cuts all the way across the meat, without cutting all the way through. Put it back in the oven for another two hours until the meat is very tender.
My vegetarian child used to devour this brisket, but now looks on wistfully as the rest of us tuck in. This recipe ought to serve six to eight people, but it only serves five in my house, because it practically evaporates.
I use yellow potatoes because I like their firm texture. They don’t turn into mush while baking for three and a half hours, yet they still absorb the flavor of the meat. Seasoning is simple: salt and pepper. I add a dusting of garlic powder instead of the single garlic clove Lukins’ recipe calls for, but that’s all this dish requires.
Beef Brisket with Yellow Potatoes
Easy to prepare, beef brisket coated with tomato paste and baked on a bed of yellow potatoes is a hearty, delicious main dish.
- 5-pound beef brisket, trimmed of fat
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons organic canola oil or organic coconut oil
- 2 medium red onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices and separated into rings
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 2 pounds small yellow potatoes, halved
- 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Wash and dry the brisket.
Sprinkle the brisket on both sides with salt and pepper.
Line the bottom of a large roasting pan with the yellow potatoes, cut side up, and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oils over medium-high heat.
Brown the brisket in the skillet. The oil will splatter, so use a screen. Use tongs to turn the meat so it's browned on all sides.
Remove the brisket from the skillet, and set aside on a plate.
Put the onions into the skillet, and sauté for one minute.
Add the carrot, and stir for another minute or two.
Sprinkle the onions and carrot over the potatoes in the roasting pan.
Place the brisket on top of the vegetables and sprinkle it and the vegetables with garlic powder.
Using a knife, spread the tomato paste all over the top and sides of the brisket.
Sprinkle the brisket with coarse salt.
Cover with a tent of parchment paper followed by a tent of aluminum foil, crimped on all sides to the roasting pan. Make sure it's sealed tightly. (Or use a large covered roasting pan.)
Bake at 375 degrees F for 90 minutes.
Remove from oven, uncover, and using a very sharp knife, make cuts 1/2-inch apart all the way across the length of the brisket. Cut almost to the bottom of the meat, but don't cut all the way through.
Re-cover with parchment and foil, and return the roasting pan to the oven for 2 hours.
Remove from oven, and allow the meat to rest for a few minutes.
Slice the meat all the way through, remove to a serving dish and serve with potatoes and a green salad on the side.
Line the bottom of a roasting pan with yellow potatoes, cut side up.
Wash and dry the brisket. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over it. Brown it on all sides in a large skillet. Take it out of the skillet and set aside on a plate.
Slice onions, and separate them into rings.
Sauté the onions in the hot pan for 1 minute.
Stir in the sliced carrots, and cook for another minute or two.
Spread the onions and carrots on top of the potatoes.
Place the brisket and any accumulated juices on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with garlic powder.
Coat the top and sides of the brisket with tomato paste. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Cover tightly and cook for 90 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove from oven and make slices 1/2-inch apart almost all the way through the brisket. Cover, and bake for 2 more hours at 375 degrees F.
Remove from oven, allow to sit for a few minutes.
Cut slices all the way through, transfer to a serving platter, and serve with potatoes.