For us, modifying a New York Times' brisket recipe is tinkering with perfection. But preserved Meyer lemon paste opens up a world of possibilities and flavor.
All ingredients land in a food processor except the meat, so it's no fuss and easy clean up.
Time: 30 minutes prep, up to 6 hours braising, overnight refrigeration
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups sparkling water
3 TBS Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Madrona smoked honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS coarsely ground pepper or to taste
1 six- to seven-pound brisket, rinsed and patted thoroughly dry. Try to find one with even thickness throughout, to reduce cooking time.
1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. This is a low and slow process. Place everything but the brisket into a food processor, and process with a steel blade until smooth.
2. Place brisket, fat side up, into a heavy baking pan just large enough to hold it, and pour sauce over it. You want a tight fit in the pan because the brisket will shrink as it cooks. Cover tightly and bake for 2 hours. Turn brisket over and bake for 2 hours.
Depending on its thickness, the brisket may still be firm in the middle. You want fall-off-the-fork tender. If it's not there yet, baste the meat and return it to the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, then check the center again. (It should break apart easily with a two-fork nudge). Repeat this process until fork tender.
Remove brisket from oven and let cool. Refrigerate overnight in cooking pan.
3. The next day, transfer brisket to a cutting board, cut off fat. Remove any congealed fat from sauce and bring to a boil on top of stove. Return brisket to cooking pan and pull it apart - this should be a beautiful mess.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Taste sauce to see if it needs reducing. If so, boil it down for a few minutes or as needed. Return meat to sauce and warm in oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: 10-12 servings. Serve as the main ingredient in soft shell tacos or burritos, on its own with kugel and salad or with added ingredients such as carmelized onions on a toasted bun. The possibilities are endless.
Adapted from ''Levana's Table,'' by Levana Kirschenbaum (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 2002) in the New York Times' November 27, 2002, edition, Section F, Page 3.