Don’t freak out when you see the long list of ingredients here. Shopping will be the major time-consuming activity, except for the actual cooking, and the oven does that while you do something else. This cooks in a ovenproof plastic baking bag. You can find them with the plastic wrap and foil in your supermarket. You’ll need a large-size bag for this recipe. The preparation is straightforward; the clean up is almost nonexistent, and the brisket … just like Mom’s. Promise.
Yield: 8 servings (with leftovers)
One 5-pound brisket (ask for the less fatty first cut)
¼ cup water
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
4 stalks celery, cut into ½- inch slices
One 12-ounce bottled chili sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup dijon mustard
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
1 can beer
½ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
4 potatoes, peeled, sliced, and simmered for 15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 325°F. with the rack in the lower third but not the bottom position. Place the brisket in the cooking bag and place the bag in a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add the water, onions, celery, chili sauce, garlic, bay leaves, brown sugar, mustard, soy sauce, vinegar, molasses, and the beer to the bag. Seal the bag and puncture the top in several places with a knife. Bake for 3 hours.
At the end of the cooking time, remove the pan from the oven and let the brisket cool slightly. Cut open the bag and remove the meat. Pour the sauce into a metal bowl.
Discard the bay leaves. Place the sauce in the refrigerator or freezer until it is cold and the fat congeals on top. Slice the meat and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Skim the fat off the sauce, then place the sauce and the meat in a casserole or heatproof serving dish. Add the paprika and the precooked potatoes, cover, and reheat on top of the stove or in the oven at 400°F. for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Can be made ahead? Yes, the day before. Slice the meat, cover, and refrigerate. Before reheating, skim the hardened fat off the cooking liquid. Layer the meat and liquid in a pan, cover, and heat in a 350°F. oven for 30 minutes, or until hot.
Can be frozen? Yes. Slice first and freeze with the cooking liquid. Defrost and follow the above directions.
Can be doubled? Yes.
Good for leftovers? Fabulous. Covered and refrigerated, they keep 3 to 5 days. Reheat as above or good for for brisket sandwich.