Today I attended a cooking class at a well-known upscale kitchen tools store. The class was entitled "Tough to Tender", and was billed as presenting helpful was to make the best use of cheaper cuts of meat.
The instructor spent much of the time extolling the virtues of a recently introduced cooking technique known as Sous Vide. and an $800 piece of equipment used to cook in this manner. (I ask you: if you can plunk down $800 are you really concerned with using cheaper cuts of meat?)
The instructor showed us a beef brisket she'd cooked using Sous Vide and made a quick dish using it and some of the store's branded sauce. As I munched on the offered brisket I thought, "I can achieve the same results with a bottle of wine."
Just to prove it, on the way home I stopped off at Safeway and bought a beef brisket. When I was done, my results were indistinguishable from the instructors.
Beef Brisket Braised in Wine
Start by trimming the fat from the brisket. Using a very sharp knife held almost parallel to the surface of the brisket, the fat layer almost peels right off. This brisket weighed in at about 4.5 pounds so to make it easier to handle I cut it into two pieces. Always cut brisket across the grain of the meat.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Brown the brisket in olive oil on the stovetop. It will take about 8 minutes per side.
Find an oven-proof pot large enough to hold the brisket. I use a Le Crueset French oven. Put the brisket into the pot. Pour in one or two cans of low sodium beef broth. Add enough red wince to cover the brisket. I like to use Cabernet. Have you seen wine in a box instead of a bottle? I get a 5-liter box for about $12. It's a great way to have some wine in the pantry for cooking.
Put the pot in the oven for 3-4 hours. when it's done you can discard the liquid, or you can remove the beef, return the pot to the stovetop, bring the liquid to a boil and reduce it doen to a very nice rich sauce.
Slice the brisket across the grain of the meat. The thinner you can slice it the better. I try for slices about 1/16th inch thick.