slow cooked beef brisket

          my husband's family are what i call country eaters. my mother-in-law makes flaky biscuits with creamy gravy, plump chicken and dumplings, and fried green tomatoes right from her own garden. but, ann's spice cabinet contains little more than salt, pepper, chili powder, and maybe a can or two of allspice and cinnamon. so when i started cooking for them years ago, i was careful to gradually introduce them to new flavors and colorful styles of food.
          like a slowly reduced sauce, my cooking method for jim's family has been to stir in a coulis at one meal, add pesto to another, and serve blanched green beans with slivered almonds instead of a pot-ful flavored with a ham hock. over time, they have discovered and learned to enjoy the unique flavors of mexico, italy, and the far east at our table, and i have been warmed with their gratification.
          this december 25th i acquainted the millers with a beef brisket braised in red wine, tomatoes and onions. they had never eaten brisket before, opting for pot roast, or meat loaf when it comes to beef. jim set our alarm for 1:30 am on christmas eve, and i felt like mrs. claus rattling around in the kitchen to start the slow-cook process for our holiday dinner. jim was my sous-elf handing me the bowls of mise en place that i had filled earlier with the spices and aromatics. in the morning i made the other dishes: beet salad with feta cheese, roasted onions and potatoes, and haricot verts. jim loaded the food and serving platters into the car, and we delivered it to jim's parents' house. they set a simple table: no silver, crystal, or cloth napkins, but we all understand the importance of gathering together to share a meal. i love to cook for them and i get a huge kick out of their anticipation & indulgence in the food, their curiosity & questions about how i made it, and their sincere appreciation in the care & love i use to make them dinner . . . after all, that's the reason i cook.
• a 10 lb. flat beef brisket
• kosher salt and cracked pepper
• oregano & rosemary
• 5-6 large cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 & 1/2 yellow onions, sliced
• 2 14&1/2 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
• 1&1/2 - 2 cups of wine
• beef broth
• 3-4 bay leaves
1. preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
2. line a large baking pan with foil, rinse the brisket and pat it dry.
3. put the brisket on top of the foil, fat side up, and generously rub the entire thing with the salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano and garlic.
4. scatter the slices of onions under, around and on the top of the brisket.
5. pour the tomatoes with the juice, the wine, and the broth over and around the meat– the liquid should be about 3/4 of the way up the sides. lift the sides to let some of the liquid underneath. add the bay leaves to the pan.
6. cover the top of the brisket with foil and seal it with the bottom piece of foil all the way around.
7. put the pan into the middle of the oven and let it slow cook for about 12 hours until the meat can be pulled apart with a fork.
8. once you take it out of the oven, remove the top piece of foil and let it rest about 15-20 min.
9. ladle off some of the liquid and put it through a strainer into a sauce pan. simmer it on med. until it is reduced.
10. slice the meat across the grain and serve it with the reduction.

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