(adapted from Joan Nathan's famous recipe, as well as my mother's)
4 to 5 pound brisket
2 Teaspoons kosher salt
1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped into a large dice
1/4 Cup prunes, quartered
14.5 Ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 Cup good red wine
1 1/2 Cup homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned
6-8 carrots, washed and cut diagonally
2 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs
Rub brisket generously with salt. Heat vegetable oil in large saute pan and brown meat, fat side down first, then on lean, until nicely browned on both. As meat browns, place onions, prunes, tomatoes, stock, herbs, and ground pepper in a large Dutch oven. When meat is browned place it in braising liquid. Remove any rendered fat from saute pan, and add red wine to deglaze, making sure to get all the brown bits on the bottom. Add this liquid to the braising mixture. Cook 3 hours covered (either with lid or snuggly with foil) in a 325 degree oven, basting frequently. After 3 hours, add the carrots and cook another 30 minutes to 1 hour until meat is fork tender and carrots are cooked through.
This is best made a day ahead—in which case, cool and then refrigerate overnight. Remove the fat from the braising liquid, slice the meat while cold, heat and reduce the gravy to desired thickness, and serve warm.