Everyday Food: Praise for braising beef brisket in a Dutch oven

For tender slices, carve the brisket crosswise, against the grain.
For tender slices, carve the brisket crosswise, against the grain. Linda Xiao

Here’s the beauty of cooking beef brisket in a Dutch oven: Just brown and set it, and you’ll soon have a complete meal full of flavor to enjoy right away — and for later. What’s more, you can turn the leftovers into three distinctly different dishes, each requiring very little time — or effort.

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Leftovers, three ways

Brisket again? Yes, the meat tastes even better a day or two later. But you can also use it as a base for any of these tasty options.


Tangy sloppy joes

Cook 1 cup diced onion in 1 tablespoon safflower oil. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add 1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed; 2 tablespoons each dark-brown sugar and apple-cider vinegar; 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce; and 1 cup water. Simmer 10 minutes. Add 2 cups shredded brisket; toss to heat through. Serve on toasted buns, with sliced red onion and cilantro.


Garlicky Italian pasta

Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add 4 cups spinach, 1 cup frozen peas and 2 cups shredded brisket. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Stir in warm cooked gemelli pasta and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Season with coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and finely grated lemon zest.


Spicy Thai-style lettuce wraps

Shave 3 medium carrots into ribbons with a peeler. Toss with 2 tablespoons each rice-wine vinegar and fresh lime juice, 1 thinly sliced Thai red chile and 1 teaspoon sugar. Season with coarse salt. Fill bibb lettuce leaves with carrot mixture, warm shredded brisket, cucumber slices, fresh basil and hoisin sauce.


An easy, delicious side dish

Crisp up extra potatoes from the initial braise: Simply heat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange potatoes on top; lightly smash with your palm. Sprinkle on more oil; bake until golden.

Wine-braised brisket

When brisket is braised, it becomes extraordinarily juicy and tender. For a springtime spin on the classic recipe, we used a dry white wine instead of the usual heavier red.

Serves: 8 to 10

  • 1 “first cut” beef brisket (5 pounds), fat trimmed to  1/4-inch thick
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grainy mustard
  • 3 long strips lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and cut into 4 wedges

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Generously season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear brisket until browned, 4 to 5 minutes a side; transfer to a plate. Drain fat from pot and discard. Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, shallots, garlic and potato starch and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, mustard, zest and thyme; bring to a boil. Add meat and any accumulated juices. Cover and transfer to oven; cook 2 hours, 15 minutes.

2. Flip meat over; add vegetables. Cover and continue to cook until everything is very tender, about 45 minutes. (If you’re saving it for the next day, let cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Reheat, covered, in a 350-degree oven until warmed through, about 40 minutes.)

3. Transfer vegetables to a platter and meat to a cutting board; season with salt. Skim fat from liquid in pot. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Slice brisket against the grain and serve with vegetables and sauce.

Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 8: 718 calories, 35 grams fat, 24 grams carbohydrates, 71 grams protein, 196 milligrams cholesterol, 296 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 46 percent of calories from fat.