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Edna Lewis’s Oven Brisket

Beef was more available in the spring and summer and it was inexpensive as well, being locally butchered. We would take a big piece so that we could have some left for slicing cold. Locally grown beef had such great flavor. Because of the lack of flavor in beef today, I have searched and found that the more unpopular cuts, such has brisket, have a bit more taste than some of the other more expensive, better-known cuts. For this preparation, you can vary the size of the brisket so long as you purchase half as many onions as beef.–Edna Lewis

LC Trust Your Inner Edna Note

This recipe was originally written in Edna’s inimitably charming, albeit rather spare, style. What we’re trying to say is there were a few things assumed on the part of the home cook when it came to specific temperatures and timings and even seasoning the sauce. Understandably. Back in her day, cooking was done by instinct, a trait that came with practice. Anticipating a little confusion in today’s home kitchen, we snuck in a few specifics here and there. Still, there are places that allow for the cook’s discretion. Embrace it.

Edna Lewis' Oven Brisket Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 45 M
  • Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds brisket
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds onions, peeled and sliced
  • 3 or 4 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • 2. Pat the meat dry and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, slick it with just a little oil, then add the brisket. Sear it well on all sides until well-browned. Place the seared brisket in a heavy ovenproof pot or pan such as a Dutch oven.
  • 3. Wipe the skillet out and then add the butter or oil and onions and return to medium-highish heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are pretty well browned. Sprinkle the meat with pepper then add the browned onions, allspice, and bay. Cover tightly and transfer to the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 225°F (107°C) and let cook undisturbed for 2 1/2 hours.
  • 4. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board to rest. Spoon off any visible fat from surface of the pan juices and discard the bay leaf. Spoon the onions into a sieve or strainer, place it over the pan juices, and press the onions through the sieve, discarding any solids. If desired, strain again and reduce over medium heat for a few minutes. Taste and season the pan juices with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 5. Slice the brisket and serve with the pan juices.
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