Milk-Braised Brisket with Potato & Onion Recipe on Food52

Beef

Milk-Braised Brisket with Potato & Onion

August 23, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

I ate a lot of brisket growing up. My family is Jewish, so it always appeared on special occasions, especially holidays. My mom’s recipe has a lot of ingredients—beer and tomato and soy sauce—that reduce and reduce and reduce into a thick gravy. This version is the exact opposite. The ingredients are minimal, the method is unkosher. Instead of meat and milk staying separate, they join forces. I borrowed this technique from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking, where she braises pork shoulder in milk, yielding the tenderest meat, the richest gravy. Call it an untraditional new tradition. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Secret to Bigger, Bolder Braises Is Already in Your Pot —The Editors

  • Serves 4 to 8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds beef brisket
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thickly sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 cups whole milk, plus more as needed (4 to 5 cups total)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 pound small, waxy, yellow potatoes, halved
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, dill, and chives, for serving
  • Prepared horseradish, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Add the brisket to a bowl. Season all over with the salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Melt the butter in a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the brisket, fatty side down. Sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until deeply browned. Flip and sear the other side. Transfer the brisket to a plate. Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Season with salt and toss in the rendered beef fat. Return the brisket to the pan on top of the onion bed. Pour the milk all around. The brisket should look like an island, partly submerged but still peeking out. Add the bay leaves to the milk. Sprinkle salt everywhere. Bring the milk to a simmer, then cover and transfer to the oven.
  3. Roast for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender.
  4. Transfer the brisket to a plate and tent with foil. The sauce looks odd! Brown and clustery! That’s just right. Add the potatoes and stir. If the mixture is dry, add enough milk to create a saucy bath—I started with 3/4 cup (remember, this will further reduce and become your gravy). Set on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Thickly slice the brisket against the grain and return to the pot. If there’s not enough gravy for your liking, no worries, just add more milk and simmer until flavorful. Discard the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with fresh herbs and horseradish to pass around.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rachel5453
    rachel5453
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • HopeinDC
    HopeinDC
  • Molly Augustine
    Molly Augustine
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

    9 Reviews

    HopeinDC September 7, 2020
    I am sure this recipe is lovely but it is very deeply offensive to put in a Rosh Hashanah recipe collection. This violates basic Jewish customs and its hurtful. Please remove from Rosh Hashanah curated section.
     
    Molly A. August 23, 2020
    What. A. Delight. Genuinely DELISH. Being totally honest, I didn't leave the salted brisket in the fridge for more than 3 hrs, and it was still yummy. I also added orange rind from a single orange to the pot with the onions and garlic. When braising meat with dairy, I love a little citrus to brighten up the dish. Three cheers.
     
    Author Comment
    Emma L. August 24, 2020
    Thanks, Molly—so happy you enjoyed!
     
    Scott August 28, 2020
    Emma,

    I have braised a leg of lamb with milk before but worried about a brisket. Mine is about 8 pounds. Will this work?
     
    Author Comment
    Emma L. September 7, 2020
    I haven't tried this method with a larger (~8 pound) brisket, but imagine it would still work. I'd just increase the quantities and braise time accordingly.
     
    Molly A. August 23, 2020
    What. A. Delight. Genuinely DELISH. Being totally honest, I didn't leave the salted brisket in the fridge for more than 3 hrs, and it was still yummy. I also added orange rind from a single orange to the pot with the onions and garlic. When braising meat with dairy, I love a little citrus to brighten up the dish. Three cheers. 🖤
     
    Molly A. August 23, 2020
    What. A. Delight. Genuinely DELISH. Being totally honest, I didn't leave the salted brisket in the fridge for more than 3 hrs, and it was still yummy. I also added orange rind from a single orange to the pot with the onions and garlic. When braising meat with dairy, I love a little citrus to brighten up the dish. Three cheers. 🖤
     
    rachel5453 March 19, 2018
    i’d suggest taking this out of the “passover recipes” section, given its meat cooked in dairy... so not kosher at all. might be confusing for folks...
     
    Author Comment
    Emma L. March 19, 2018
    Hi rachel5453—thanks for the note!