Slow down over the weekend and look to under-utilized—but nonetheless great—cuts of beef to stretch your grocery budget. But won’t we be compromising flavor and tenderness, you ask? The answer is a resounding no, says cookbook author and meat expert Bruce Aidells, who contributed this recipe to Real Food. Less-appreciated cuts (think brisket, chuck, cheeks, short ribs, shins and tails) may be tough, but when cooked long and slow with moist heat, they become tender and packed with flavor.
Brisket is a well-priced and delicious cut, and it’s often on sale, so stock up and freeze a few. This recipe supplies enough for two distinct, satisfying meals. You can’t ask for a more comforting dish as the weather turns crisp—plus the leftovers make for great classic French dip beef sandwiches, suggests Aidells. Alternative budget-friendly cuts include any pot roast cut from the chuck, especially the shoulder clod (cross rib roast), rump roast, bottom round and sirloin tip. The brisket marinates overnight so plan ahead—but that adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat so don’t skip that step.
Italian-Style Beef Brisket
Makes 6 Servings, with leftovers
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 6-pound beef brisket, or 2 3-pound pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup wine, white or red, plus more as needed
1 cup homemade beef stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
6 cups onions, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic
1. Combine basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub generously over brisket. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat 1 minute. Brown 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a platter.
3. Add wine and stock to pot, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil and return brisket to pan. Top meat with onions and garlic. Cover and bake 1 hour.
4. Uncover pot and turn meat so onions are at bottom of pan. Bake 1 hour, uncovered. Add more liquid as needed. After 30 minutes, stir onions to ensure they brown evenly.
5. Cover pot and cook 11⁄2 hours, until a fork can easily be inserted into meat. Cool meat in sauce. Remove meat from sauce, wrap in foil, and refrigerate overnight. Pour sauce and onions into a storage container and refrigerate.
6. The next day, slice meat across grain into 3⁄8-inch-thick slices. Lay slices into a large pot or frying pan. Spoon away surface fat from sauce. Heat sauce and onions in a small pot and pour over meat. Cover pot and rewarm meat over gentle heat 5 to 10 minutes. Place meat and sauce into a shallow serving bowl or platter, and spoon sauce and onions on top.
Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 324 (128 from fat); Fat 14g (Sat. 5g); Chol 119mg; Sodium 508mg; Carb 7g; Fiber 1g; Protein 41g