This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the September 26, 2001 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section on the subject of comfort food in the days post-9/11.
That particular recipe credits Chronicle food writer Robin Davis who says she loves this dish for the aroma that drifts through the house as the meat cooks — and for the leftovers. The cooking aroma does make the long cooking time tolerable. Serve this with some creamy mashed potatoes for a wonderfully soothing comfort meal. Save your leftovers…they’re even better tomorrow!
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 4 cups water
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 2-1/2 to 3 pound chuck roast
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Place the mushrooms in a small bowl. Use 1 cup of the hot (preferably boiling) water. Pour over the mushrooms. Let stand for 30 minutes to soften.
- Remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid, squeezing as much liquid as
possible back into the bowl. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.[Update: January 2006 – there’s a great tip in the March 2006 issue of Fine Cooking magazine about using a French press coffee maker for rehydrating the porcini mushrooms. Turns out that a small French press is ideal for doing this – and avoids the need for using a filter for the liquid, etc.]
- Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or 2 layers of cheesecloth. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until translucent.
- Reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the onions begin to brown, stirring from time to time.
- Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the onions turn a deep golden brown.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in the pot. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same Dutch oven over high heat. Season the brisket with salt and pepper. Brown well on all sides. Transfer the meat to a platter.
- Add the mushroom-soaking liquid to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.
- Return the brisket to the pot, along with the onion-wine mixture, the remaining 3 cups water, the mushrooms, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
- Tightly cover the pan. Place in the oven and cook for about 3 hours, until the brisket is very tender.
- Transfer the meat to a platter and tent with foil.
- Remove the bay leaves from the cooking liquid. Working in batches, puree the cooking liquid in a processor until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Adjust seasoning and rewarm, if necessary.
- Cut the brisket across the grain into thin slices. Arrange on a platter.
- Spoon the sauce over the meat.
(Added: October 12, 2001)