This Braised Brisket Stew is warm, cozy, filled with tender meat, and a sauce full of hearty vegetables that have taken on its delicious flavor. A family heirloom, this brisket recipe has been perfected over a few generations.
During the cooler months, my mom made this stew a couple of times a month, at least. It was sort of her signature dish, and one that has been passed down over the years.
The slices of brisket in braised brisket stew are so tender that they shred apart into all of the other ingredients and the flavors of red wine, thyme and the vegetables meld perfectly.
While this beef brisket stew recipe is a brilliant addition to a Hanukkah or another holiday dinner, it's also perfect for a super cozy, casual dinner party. Or any night!
It's easier than you might think to make a perfect brisket dish, and this one only gets better with time, so you can make up to a few days before you want to serve it.
- beef brisket - When choosing brisket, look for one with meat that's a deep red color and with fat that is white. The fat will be on one side of the meat and might be thick -- this is okay. It will come off very easily if you follow the instructions in the recipe.
- Worcestershire sauce - Worcestershire sauce is typically made with vinegar, molasses, sugar, onion, garlic, tamarind and anchovies. It's used in this brisket recipe to help season the meat while it slow roasts. I recommend the Lea & Perrins reduced-sodium version. It should be in most large grocery stores, and you can get it here.
- olive oil
- Pearl onions - Pearl onions are also known as baby onions. They're a very small variety of bulb onions. They are typically available in red, yellow and white. For this recipe you can use any or all of the colors.
- Peewee potatoes - These are tiny round potatoes with yellowish skin and subtle flavor and a extremely creamy texture. They're perfect for stew because they're already bite-sized.
- carrots - Look for firm, plump carrots, preferably without little roots on the bottom.
- dry thyme
- beef stock - Preferably low sodium, or sodium-free. It's always best when you can control the amount of sodium in a recipe.
- red wine - Use a red wine that you love. The alcohol cooks off, not the flavor.
- peas - Frozen and thawed. The peas are a very easy and welcome addition to stews. They brighten the flavors and add a pop of color.
- black pepper - Preferably freshly ground.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
Substitutions and Variations
- Worcestershire sauce. Balsamic vinegar and soy sauce are both great substitutes for Worcestershire sauce. If you use soy sauce, add a few pinches of sugar to it.
- Pearl onions. I like Pearl onions in brisket stew because they're bite-sized, they look pretty, and they're easy to peel (if you follow the linked guide under How to Make it below). However, if you'd rather peel just one large onion and cut it into bite-sized pieces, that works too! Yellow, white or red onions are all okay. The red will be slightly sweeter and the white a bit sharper.
- Peewee potatoes. If you'd like to use a larger potato and cut it into bite-sized pieces, substitute with Yukon Golds if possible. Otherwise, small red potatoes are great, too.
- Dry thyme. Dry thyme can be substituted with three times the amount of fresh thyme.
- Red wine. If you don't want to use, or don't have red wine, you can omit it and make up for it with more beef stock, or you can use a 1 to 1 blend of water and red wine vinegar.
- Peas. Feel free to use other green vegetables like steamed broccoli, green beans or spinach.
- The most important tip and something to keep in mind, is that the results of this recipe will vary. Not in flavor of deliciousness, of course! They will likely however, vary in terms of how tender the meat is and at what point. My instructions are accurate, however the way the brisket cooks depends in part on the pan you use, the lid you use, your particular cut of brisket, how much fat there is, etc. So . . . if when you go to slice the brisket, it's still firm and slices in pieces that don't fall apart at all, give it more time.
- If you can't find a brisket that's the size/weight you want, you can always ask the butcher int he market if it's possible to have it cut down. They will often happily do this for you.
- It helps to have your Pearl onions peeled before you begin. It's quick and easy if you follow guide linked below in How to Make it.
- You can also usually find frozen already peeled pearl onions in the freezer section of the grocery store.
- The potatoes only need to be sliced in half if they are bigger than bite-sized. Usually Peewee potatoes are, if not close. I typically end up with a mixture of some that are sliced in half and some that stay whole.
- I like making this in my 12-inch cast iron skillet, because I can do every step of the cooking in it -- from the stove to the oven, and I can even serve from it.
How to Make it
- If you haven't already, peel the onions. Follow this easy step-by-step guide for How to Peel Pearl Onions.
- Preheat the oven to 275°F, and lightly coat a large oven safe pan (12-inch, cast iron is perfect) -- or a large Dutch oven, with olive oil.
- If there is a layer of fat on one side of the brisket, leave it. Except for the fat, rub the entire brisket with the Worcestershire sauce, coating it evenly. Then season both sides generously with salt and pepper.
- Place the brisket, fat side up in the oil-coated pan, and cover it with a fitted lid or heavy-duty foil. Place the brisket in the preheated 275°F oven for 6 hours.
- Remove the brisket from the oven, and place it on a large plate. (Leave the juices in the pan!)
- Let the brisket cool slightly, and then use the back of a knife or a spoon to gently scrape off the fat and discard it.
- Place the meat on a cutting board and cut it into thin (about ½-inch) slices -- against the grain. The key to how to cut brisket perfectly is to slice against the grain. Set aside.
*You can do all of the above 1 day ahead of the below, if desired. If you do, after the meat cools to room temperature, cover the pan tightly and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Turn the oven up to 300°F.
- Place the pan with the brisket juices on the stove over medium-high heat. If the juices are excessive, remove enough so that the bottom of the pan is just lightly coated. And save what you've removed for later!
- Add the onions and cook until they're caramelized.
- Add the potatoes and carrots. Cook the vegetables until they are all nicely browned, about 7 minutes. Mix the thyme into the vegetables, and move them to the sides of the pan.
- Use a large, flat-bottomed spatula to return the sliced brisket to the center of the pan. Pour the stock, wine and the pan juices you set aside (if any) over the meat and vegetables and cover the pan. Place in the 325°F oven, and cook until the meat is extremely tender and the vegetables are soft, about 1 hour.
- Stir in the peas, season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
What is Brisket?
- Brisket is a cut of beef from the chest of the animal.
- An entire brisket is made up of two muscles that overlap.
- Brisket is a very tough cut of meat that needs hours of cooking time to become tender. Once it does, brisket is unbelievably delicious and it will melt in your mouth.
What to Serve with Brisket
- I love to serve this beef brisket stew recipe over Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta. It's absolutely incredible!
- Or you can serve it over rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or -- my favorite way -- with a thick, crusty, slice of garlic herb bread.
- Really, any way you serve this, it will be absolutely scrumptious. It's perfect for Cooking On The Weekends! 😉
More Scrumptious Brisket Recipes
Can you make it ahead?
Yes! It only gets better with time. You can make it up to four days ahead of time.
How to Reheat it
- Once the brisket is done, let it cool room temperature and then put it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (If it's in a pot that can fit in the fridge, just put keep it in the pot, with a fitted lid or foil.)
- Take it out of the fridge a few hours before you want to serve to take the chill out.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and when it's reached that temperature, place the pot in the oven, covered, and heat only until it's hot all the way through, about 25 minutes.
- This is a dish that would be hard to overcook, so don't worry about that.
Enjoy every last bite of this amazing beef brisket stew!
What is exactly is a comfort food? Read this article to find out!
Braised Brisket Stew Recipe
- 1 (2-pound) beef brisket
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- olive oil for the pan
- 1½ cups peeled Pearl onions
- 1 cup halved Peewee potatoes, washed and dried
- 2 cups peeled and sliced carrots (approx. ¼-inch slices)
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 1¼ cup beef stock
- ¾ cup red wine
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Set oven and prepare pan. Preheat the oven to 275°F, and lightly coat a large oven safe skillet (12-inch, cast iron is perfect) -- or a large Dutch oven, with olive oil.
- Prepare the brisket and slow roast. There will likely be a layer of fat on one side of the brisket, or at least some fat. Leave it! Rub the entire brisket where there isn't fat with the Worcestershire sauce, coating it evenly, and then season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Place the brisket, fat side up in the oil coated pan, and cover it with a fitted lid or heavy-duty foil. Place the brisket in the preheated 275°F oven for about hours.
- Cool and remove fat. Remove the brisket from the oven, and place it on a large plate. (Leave the juices in the pan!) Let the brisket cool slightly, and then use the back of a knife or a spoon to gently scrape off the fat and discard it.
- Slice. Place the meat on a cutting board and cut it into thin (about ½-inch) slices -- against the grain! It should be falling apart, but intact in parts. (This will be slightly different for everyone, depending on your pan, oven, lid, particular cut of brisket, etc.) Set aside. *You can do all of the above 1 day ahead of the below, if desired. If you do, after the meat cools to room temperature, cover the pan tightly and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Turn the oven up to 300°F.
- Cook the vegetables. Place the pan with the brisket juices on the stove over medium-high heat. If the juices are excessive, remove enough so that the bottom of the pan is just lightly coated. And save what you've removed for later! Add the onions and once they're beginning to brown, add the potatoes and carrots. Stirring often, cook the vegetables until they are all nicely browned, about 7 minutes. Then turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are somewhat tender. Mix the thyme into the vegetables, and move them to the sides of the pan
- Add sliced brisket and roast again. Use a large, flat-bottomed spatula to return the sliced brisket to the center of the pan. Pour the stock, wine and the pan juices you set aside (if any) over the meat and vegetables and cover the pan. Place in the 300°F oven, and cook until the meat is extremely tender and the vegetables are soft, about 1 hour.
- Add peas and season. Stir in the peas, season generously with salt and pepper to taste. (Here's How to season to Taste.)
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