Braising is the key to melt-in-your-mouth meat. Even with the most inexpensive cuts of meat, if you know how to Braise them properly, they can taste like the choices cut from the butcher.
I have a friend who recently told me she judges every restaurant on if they will be good or bad, by the fries that they serve. For me, when I go out to eat “meaty” I am always asking the waiter, what is your softest melt-in-your-mouth meat on the menu? I know a restaurant is probably going to be good when I see the waiter light up and start describing the dish of choice. But if the waiter cannot answer the question, I know deep down, that the chef or the restaurant, does not really know how to treat their meat right. And even if all I am ordering that night is a steak, I probably will be disappointed and get a hard, dry, and over grilled one.
So when it comes to Yom Tov, there is always a Braised Meat on the menu, there is really nothing quite like it and that melt-in-your-mouth first bite – is worth all the effort and time that it takes to make this dish. I discovered this recipe a while back and loved that it used wine & coke (my favorite drinking combo) to braise the meat in – it is really wonderful and delicious and your family will be asking you to make it over and over again.
Red Wine & Cola Braised Brisket
1/4 cup olive oil
4 lb brisket
1 ¼ cups diced onions
¾ cup diced carrots
¾ cup diced celery
3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 ¼ cup dry red wine
2 ¼ cup cola
Zest of 1 orange
2 tsp. cornstartch
2 tsp. olive oil
Off Heat stir:
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
½ tsp. minced orange zest
pre-heat oven to 300 F
Heat: ¼ cup oil in a large dutch oven over medium high. Add brisket that has been sprinkled with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, 8-10 minutes and then transfer to plate and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium low.
Sweat onion, carrot and celery in the drippings until softened, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, tomato paste and bay leaf; sweat 2 minutes more.
Deglaze –the pot with ½ cup red wine. Cook until almost evaporated, 5 minutes.
Stir in rest of wine, cola and orange zest into the pot. Return brisket into the pot. Increase heat to high, bring liquid to boil, then cover with tight fitting lid. Transfer the pot to oven. (I sometimes cover the pot with silver foil and then put the lid on to ensure it stays covered well)
Braise brisket until meat is for tender (3 ½ hours) turning the brisket every hour. Remove pot from oven. Transfer to plate.
Cover the brisket to keep warm
Strain the braising liquid from the pot – and discard the solids. Skim and discard fat from surface of liquid. Transfer liquid to a saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Whisk together the cornstarch 2tsp. oil then whisk into liquid; cook 2 minutes.
Off the heat: stir vinegar, thyme & minced zest into sauce. Place brisket into sauce and reheat.
photo courtesy of Smittenkitchen.com