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"This classic braised brisket is a riff on my grandmother's recipe," Andrew says. "It was one of the first dishes I helped my grandmother make and a staple at my family's holiday table for generations. Braised in the oven with fennel and onions, it's perfectly melting and tender."
Andrew likes to serve this brisket over his favorite latke recipe.
In a bowl, whisk together salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and sage. Rub spice mixture all over the brisket and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300°F. 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 brisket to a large baking sheet.
Add onions and a generous pinch of salt to the roasting pan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and well browned, about 15 minutes. Add peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic cloves, tomato puree, stock and vinegar. Bring to a simmer. Return the brisket to the roasting pan, fat side up. Nestle fennel wedges in the braising liquid around the brisket.
Tent the brisket with foil, place in the oven and braise until very tender, 6 to 7 hours depending on the size of the brisket. Transfer brisket to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Skim fat off the braising liquid and discard bay leaves. Carve the brisket and transfer to a platter. Serve with the onion and fennel pan gravy.