Brisket Supper with Mushroom-Sage Polenta
The brisket slow-cooks all day and is the meal you should plan to have on Cook Day. It also makes twice as much meat as you need, because half of it can be saved to make BBQ Reuben Brisket Sandwiches.
For the brisket:
- 1 lean beef brisket (5-5 1/2 pounds)
- Sea salt or kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO), divided
- 4 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- A couple of pinches of ground cloves or allspice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken or beef stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces)
For the polenta:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO)
- 1 large clove garlic, smashed
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 8-10 leaves fresh sage, very thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock plus 1 cup milk, or 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup quick-cooking polenta
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
- 1 cup watercress, upland cress, arugula or fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, for garnish (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Make the brisket: Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO (two turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown all over, 10-12 minutes (if the brisket is too big for the pan, cut it in half and do this in batches). Remove the meat from the pan and drain off any fat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO to the Dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and salt and pepper and cook to tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the cloves and tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir in the stock and tomatoes. Settle the meat back into the pot and cover. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Uncover and bake for 1 hour to reduce the liquids.
Re-cover the pot and cook until very tender, 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the brisket to a cutting board. Cut in half and cover one piece with foil to keep warm. Set aside the other half to use in making BBQ Brisket Reuben Sandwiches. Wrap and refrigerate when cool.
Discard the bay leaves from the sauce. Place the Dutch oven on the stovetop and simmer gently, uncovered, to thicken the sauce a bit.
Make the polenta: In large skillet, heat the EVOO (3 turns of the pan) over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until very tender. Stir in the sage and season with salt and pepper.
In a saucepan, bring the liquid to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and keep whisking until it thickens, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the butter (if using) and fold in the mushrooms.
Slice the brisket and arrange on a platter. Cover with sauce from the pan.
Serve the brisket with the polenta alongside. Ladle more sauce over the top. Scatter a few greens over the top for garnish, if you’d like.