- 1 tablespoon sea salt plus more for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons dried sage
- 10 lbs whole beef brisket
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 8 medium onions 3 pounds sliced
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup red wine vinegar (Banyuls vinegar or aged red wine if possible)
- 3 fennel bulbs each cut through the core into 1 1/2-inch wedges
- In a bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and sage. Rub the spice mixture all over the brisket and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 300°. In a large flameproof roasting pan set over 2 burners, heat the oil. Add the brisket to the roasting pan and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a large baking sheet.
- Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt to the roasting pan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and well browned, about 15 minutes. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic cloves, tomato puree, stock and vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Return the brisket to the roasting pan, placing it fat side up. Nestle the fennel in the braising liquid around it.
- Tent the brisket with foil and bake for 6 to 7 hours depending on the size of your brisket, or until very tender. Transfer the brisket to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Skim the fat off the braising liquid and discard the bay leaf. Carve the brisket and transfer to a platter. Serve with the onion gravy pan juices.