The acidity of the pomegranate juice is a perfect foil for the richness of the beef.
Makes 8 main-course servings
1 first-cut or second-cut brisket, about 5 pounds, trimmed of fat
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, white part only, sliced
6 large cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 cups pomegranate juice
2 cups chicken broth, or as needed
2 tablespoons meat glaze, optional
Bouquet garni (fresh thyme, bay leaves, and flat-leaf parsley sprigs tied up with a piece of kitchen string)
- Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the brisket and brown well on all sides, turning as needed. Transfer the brisket to a heavy ovenproof pot just large enough to hold it. Pour the fat out of the pan.
- Return the pan to medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Remove from the heat and pour the vegetables over the brisket. Pour in the pomegranate juice and then add enough broth to come halfway up the sides of the brisket. Add the meat glaze, nestle in the bouquet garni, and bring to a simmer.
- Preheat the oven to 275°F. Cover the pot with a sheet of aluminum foil, pressing it down slightly in the middle so that moisture will condense on its underside and drip down onto the exposed parts of the meat, and then with a lid. Slide the pot into the oven and braise the brisket, basting it every 30 minutes with the braising liquid, for about 4 hours, or until it is easily penetrated with a knife.
- Transfer the brisket to a smaller ovenproof pot (or clean the pot you used for braising). Strain the braising liquid into a glass pitcher and skim off the fat with a ladle. Or, ideally, refrigerate the braising liquid at this point and then lift off the congealed fat in a single layer. Pour the degreased liquid into a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer, skimming off any fat or froth that rises to the surface, for about 30 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Meanwhile, raise the oven temperature to 400°F.
- Pour the reduced liquid over the meat. Slide the pot into the oven and cook the brisket, basting it every 10 minutes with the liquid, for about 30 minutes, or until the brisket is covered with a shiny glaze.
- Remove the brisket from the oven and cut it into slices about ½ inch thick. Serve on warmed plates surrounded with the braising liquid.
Reprinted with permission from Meat: A Kitchen Education, by James Peterson, copyright © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.