Sunny’s Cooking Project: Zinfandel Wine Braised Beef Brisket

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“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Fanny Fern (1811 – 1872)

Let’s face it, the average man loves a home cooked meal. Their knees buckle from under them the second they see that you’ve slaved yourself in the kitchen to cook. The infatuation consumes them as they inhale the savory smells of what’s in the oven. In fact, you know that you’ve grabbed him by his heart when he takes a bite for the very first time and he says, “Ohhhhhhh!” My favorite part is when his eyes rolls to the back of his head and he contently smiles with delight. These little reactions are indicators that I did my job successfully as a “domestic goddess”.
I love to cook. Cooking is one of my life’s passions.  I’m not the best home chef, but I always try to put my best foot forward in cooking something that is truly amazing. My second Cooking Project was all about braising a cut of brisket. 

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My Zinfandel Wine Braised Beef Brisket is a recipe that I came up with, because I love beef brisket and I love the fruity yet zesty Zinfandel wine. So, I figured, why not put these two ingredients together and see what kind of magic it turns out to be. My recipe is pretty simple, but it does require a really good bottle of zinfandel wine. Chefs usually say to cook with a wine that you enjoy drinking. As such, I used half a bottle of my favorite Zinfandel wine; a 2008 Rombauer Winery Zinfandel.  What I love about this particular wine is the nuances of jammy plums, figs and berries as well as its mellow acidity.  I’ve had this wine with many different types of foods like a Santa Maria style barbecue Beef Tri-tip, picnic salads, chips with Pico de Gallo salsa, seafood, Chinese stir-fry noodles, and of all cuisines, Filipino food. It really is a great wine that goes with just about any dish that it’s paired with.

I made the brisket twice to take to two different potluck parties over the 4th of July holiday weekend. It was a raging success! It’s quite simple to make and I hope it becomes a success for you too.

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Zinfandel Wine Braised Beef Brisket
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
10 Garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
3 Bay leaves
2 1/2 Tablespoons of dried Rosemary
1 1/2 Cups Low sodium beef broth
2 Celery Stalks (chopped in thirds)
2 Carrot stalks (chopped in thirds)
3 Pounds Beef Brisket (fat is trimmed to ¼ of an inch)
½ of bottle of your favorite Zinfandel wine
½ Cup of Italian Parsley (finely chopped)

Pre-heat an oven at 400 degrees. On a stove, heat a dutch oven pot over high heat and add olive oil. Next, add the garlic, bay leaves, and rosemary. Saute the herbs for about a minute. Then add the beef broth. When the broth is at a boil, turn off the heat. Add the celery, the carrots, and the brisket. Finally, pour in a half bottle of zinfandel wine and cover the dutch oven pot with a heavy lid.  Braise for about three hours uninterrupted hours. In other words, don’t open the oven to check on your progress.

After three hours, remove the dutch oven pot from the oven and carefully remove the brisket and place on a cutting board to rest for about 30 minutes. Then, drain the liquids over a strainer and onto a small sized bowl. This is the “au jus” or sauce to serve with the brisket. Reheat the sauce for about one minute in a microwave to serve hot.

Cut the brisket against the grain in ¼ inch slices.  Lay on the slices on a platter. Spoon the sauce over the brisket and garnish with the Italian parsley.

Enjoy!