By Tracey Seaman
When cooking any roast, use a heavy pot, such as a 4-quart oval or 5-quart round, enameled cast-iron casserole. Brown the meat well and slowly on medium-low heat before roasting to seal in juices and get a crispy skin. You can use bottled pomegranate juice or pomegranate-blueberry juice to make this pot roast with a sauce that is thickened only with tender onions, which melt in the juices as the beef simmers.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 first cut brisket (preferably grass-fed), about 2 pounds
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound yellow onions (2 to 3 medium), thinly sliced
- Several thyme sprigs, tied in a bundle with string
- 1½ cups pomegranate juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 box (6 ounces) pearl couscous
- Fresh pomegranate seeds, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Meanwhile, heat a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-low heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil; pat the beef dry and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the brisket to the pot and cook until browned on the underside, about 7 minutes. Turn and cook 7 minutes more.
- Transfer the brisket to the plate. Add 1 tablespoon more oil to the pot, along with the onions and cook, stirring two or three times over medium heat, until onions are beginning to brown along the edges, about 8 minutes.
- Return the brisket to the pot, nestling the meat and thyme bundle into the onions. Pour in the pomegranate juice (It should barely cover the meat), and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and transfer to the oven. Braise the brisket for about 1½ hours, until barely fork tender.
- Remove the brisket to a plate and let cool; let the onion gravy cool for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper.
- When the brisket is cool, slice it 1/2 inch thick and arrange overlapping in a shallow baking dish. Reserve 1 cup of gravy in a bowl, cover and refrigerate, and spoon the remaining sauce over the brisket in the dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate. (You can prepare the brisket to this point up to 2 days ahead.)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Reheat the brisket, covered, until bubbly and heated through, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the couscous according to package directions.
- Heat the remaining sauce in a microwave or small saucepan and pass along side. Serve with couscous and fresh pomegranate seeds.