A featured player in countless holiday productions throughout the Diaspora, sautéed onion takes on multiple roles here, providing not only the wonderfully savory flavor but also all the aromatic moisture in which the brisket gently braises, and even the body for the simple, flour-free gravy.
Sprinkle the garlic cloves with enough salt and pepper to season the brisket, then mash the seasoned garlic to a paste. Spread half of the garlic paste over the top (nonfat side) of the brisket, and set the meat aside.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Pour off all the remaining fat in the pan, and add the remaining
Place the brisket on the bed of onions, fat side up. Spread the remaining garlic paste over the top (fat side) of the brisket.
Spoon about half of the onions all over the top and sides of the brisket, so that the meat is sandwiched between layers of onion. Cover tightly first with foil, then with the lid.
Braise the brisket in the oven, basting with the pan juices and turning the meat every 30 minutes or so (be sure to recover the pan tightly), until the meat is fork tender, 3½ to 4 hours. Let the meat rest in the pan sauce for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to serve the brisket, scrape off any congealed fat from the surface, if you have refrigerated the dish. Transfer the cold meat to a cutting board, and slice the meat thinly across the grain at a slight diagonal.
Prepare the gravy: strain the braising mixture, reserving the onion-garlic mixture. Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the liquid. Puree the defatted liquid, together with about half the reserved onion-garlic mixture and the remaining
Arrange the sliced brisket on a serving platter. Spoon some of the hot sauce all over the meat and pass the rest in a separate sauce boat.
© 2008 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.