Great Meals for a Change

A fun way to taste, talk and learn about sustainable food

Braised Brisket Gluten Free

Prep Time: about 3 hours largely unattendedMakes: 10 servings

Juicy braised brisket cooked with sweet potatoes and dried fruit served on a bed of couscous.


  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 whole local/antibiotic-free beef brisket (or local wild game), about 5 pounds
  • Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups minced onions
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or water
  • 1 lb peeled and chunked sweet potatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chunked
  • ½ cup dried apricots
  • ½ cup dried pitted prunes (or other dried fruit)
  • 1 bulb of garlic, with most of papery coating removed, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 ⅔ cups dry couscous (about ⅓ cup dry couscous per person)


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • To brown brisket, heat a large casserole or cast iron cooking pot that can be later covered over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the oil, swirl it around, then add the meat. Sear it for about 5 minutes on each side, or until it is nicely browned. Season it with salt and pepper and remove to platter.
  • Wipe out the pan and return it to the stove. Turn the heat to medium and add the butter. When it foams, add the onions and cook, stirring until they are golden and soft, at least 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper, then stir in the tomato paste and the garlic. Return the meat to the pan, add the stock or water, and cover.
  • Cook over low heat in the oven, turning the meat every 30 minutes, until tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours. If the sauce seems too thin, allow the meat to rest on a platter while you boil the liquid down over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until it thickens. Taste the sauce and add salt and/or pepper if needed. Slice the meat, return it to the sauce, and serve over a bed of couscous.
  • When the meat is somewhat tender but not quite done - after about 1 ½ to 2 hours of braising - add to the pot the sweet potatoes, carrots, dried fruit and head of garlic. Continue to cook until all the fruits and vegetables are soft but not until they dissolve, 30 to 60 minutes. Serve, spreading the garlic on crusty bread.
  • For the couscous, boil an equal amount (ie. 2 ⅔ cups) of water in a saucepan. Take it off the heat and stir in the dry couscous. Let it sit with the lid on tight for 5-10 minutes until the couscous is tender.
  • If you are serving this dish in the spring, Spicy Beet Greens are a wonderful addition to the meal.
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