- 1 lean brisket (5-5 1/2 pounds)
- Sea salt or kosher salt and coarse black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- A couple pinches of ground cloves or allspice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cup chicken or beef stock
- 1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
For the polenta:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 8-10 leaves fresh sage, very thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock plus 1 cup whole milk or 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter (optional)
- 1 cup watercress or upland cress, arugula or flat leaf parsley tops, for garnish (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Add a couple of tablespoons olive oil to a large Dutch oven, a couple of turns of the pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown all over, 10-12 minutes.
Remove the meat from the pan and drain off meat fat, if any accumulates. Add another turn or two of the pan of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cook to tender, 8-10 minutes, add in a few pinches of cloves, then stir in the tomato paste, 1 minute. Next, stir in the wine and deglaze the pan, then add the stock and canned diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Settle the meat back into the pot and cover. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then uncover and bake for another hour to reduce the liquids. Place the cover back on and cook until very tender, 1 1/2 hours more.
Remove the brisket to the carving board and cover with foil to keep warm.
Reduce the sauce for a few minutes, simmering gently, uncovered, to thicken a bit.
To make the polenta, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat and add the garlic and mushrooms, cooking until very tender. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the sage.
Bring the stock-milk mixture to a boil in a saucepot and add the polenta. Whisk the polenta for 2-3 minutes, until it pulls away from the side of the pot. Add the butter, if using, and fold in the mushrooms.
Slice the brisket and serve with the sauce over the polenta with mushrooms. Cool half of the brisket and store for later in the week. Scatter a few bitter greens over the top for an optional garnish.