Julia Child's Smothered Beef Brisket

"From her cookbook From Julia Child's Kitchen. The meat can rest after cooking, from 1 to 24 hours or more. Julia notes that brisket is never tender like steak, but should be pleasantly chewable and have a strong beefy flavor."
photo by anniesnomsblog photo by anniesnomsblog
photo by anniesnomsblog
photo by anniesnomsblog photo by anniesnomsblog
photo by anniesnomsblog photo by anniesnomsblog
photo by PaulaG photo by PaulaG
Ready In:
4hrs 40mins




  • In a small bowl, mash the salt and thyme into the puréed garlic with the flat side of a large kitchen knife.
  • Beat the oil and pepper into the garlic mixture and spread this mixture over both sides of the brisket.
  • Toss the vegetables in a large bowl with a little salt and thyme.
  • Spread half of the vegetable mixture in the bottom of a roasting pan.
  • Place beef, fat side up, on top of the vegetables.
  • Cover with the remaining vegetables.
  • Cover the pan tightly with foil.
  • (This dish may be prepared to this point in advance and refrigerated.).
  • When ready to cook, cook--basting with pan juices every 1/2 hour--in a 300° oven 3-4 hours until a fork goes into the meat easily; by the end of cooking, the meat will have shrunk.
  • **** If you are not serving the meat until the next day, transfer the meat with its vegetables to a smaller pot; degrease the juices and pour them over the brisket and chill, uncovered, until cooled; then cover and keep in the refrigerator up to 2 days. To reheat, put this dish in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, basting 2-3 times with its juices. ****.
  • Remove the beef with its vegetable topping to a cutting board.
  • Pour the juices into a saucepan, degrease, and rapidly boil down almost to a syrup.
  • If you wish, you can thicken the juice into a sauce with 1-1/2 Tbs cornstarch blended with 2 Tbs of either wine or stock.
  • Carve the meat across the grain into thin slanting slices.
  • Accompany each serving of meat with 1-2 spoonfuls sauce and vegetables.

Questions & Replies

  1. Can this be made in a pressure cooker and if so how long? I bought Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker and there is nothing about brisket in it. Some good recipes for cheap cuts.
  2. The grocery sliced the briskit before I COOKED it? Now what?
  3. How well will this recipe do in a slow cooker? Thanks


  1. Ignore the total time, and plan ahead for the long, slow cooking. The prep time is trivial, and I'd put this on a very short list of recipes that give excellent results with almost no work. J.C. says you can reheat it, but I think you could go further and split the cooking between 2 days, degreasing before you put it in the second time.
  2. A truly delicious dinner. My oven has a slow cook feature and I cooked the brisket in that overnight on low. The broth, meat and veggies were put in the refrigerator and chilled for 24 hours before skimming off the fat from the broth and slicing the meat. The broth was reduced but did not get that thick so I wound up adding some arrowroot starch before serving. I have packaged up several small packages of the meat and DH and I will be enjoying again. Thanks for posting a wonderful recipe.
  3. Yummy! We had this for Sunday lunch and it went down a storm! It smelt so amazing when cooking, I could not wait to dig in! I threw in some parsnips as well as all the other veg because we love them and all those veggies were just amazing. Soft and sweet. The juices made a killer sauce too!


[SINCE I HAVE WELL OVER 200 COOKBOOKS, I SUGGEST THAT ANYONE EXPLORING MY COLLECTION CLICK ON 'AUTHOR'S ORDER' AT THE TOP OF THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN BEFORE PROCEEDING. I'VE ARRANGED THEM SO THAT COOKBOOK SERIES OR SIMPLY COOKBOOKS ON RELATED TOPICS APPEAR TOGETHER, WHICH SHOULD MAKE IT EASIER TO FIND THE ONES THAT INTEREST YOU.] In 2004, I moved home to New England after many years living in the South. Often I go walking in the morning with my sister, who lives near me on the Maine coast--we truly live in a beautiful place. I share a love of ACC basketball with my brother in upstate New York. Nowadays, I rely heavily on Kitty Rosati's Heal Your Heart book (lots of low-sodium recipes) and Donald Gazzaniga's No-Salt, Lowest-Sodium Cookbook. Other cookbooks I frequently use are Weil & Daley's The Healthy Kitchen and Cooking Light's Five-Star Recipes cookbook. 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