When Aaron and I got married, my Maid of Honor asked all of our friends and family to submit family recipes that they would like to share with Aaron and me to be compiled into a recipe book.  Here was the gist of the email she sent out:

“Dear friends and family of Monica and Aaron,

I am in the process of putting together a SURPRISE wedding cookbook for Monica and Aaron from their family and friends.  As foodies and incredible chefs, there’s no doubt that this cooking couple has a plethora of recipes to choose from.  However, the book that you can (and should) contribute to gives them something that other cookbooks cannot – your favorite recipe along with words of wisdom, love and luck for the happy couple as they begin their married life together.”

Isn’t that the best idea ever?  Well, we sure thought it was when we received the book.  The first page is a beautifully calligraphied recipe from Alice Waters and the Family of Panisse for Mexican Wedding Cookies, then’s Mom’s cheesecake, Veggie Burritos, Macaroni & Cheese, West Virginia cookies and on and on….

The brisket recipe that we use in our household comes from our dear friends Damon and Kathryn.  It goes something like this:

“Here is our technique for making brisket…it is an inexact science, but it is delicious…

Start with a cut of brisket that isn’t too lean.  Slice up some carrots, parsnips, and celery.  Ideally you want the same thickness and length of about 2 inches.  Wash fingerling potatoes.  Season the brisket with salt and pepper and bring it up to room temperature.

Get the Dutch Oven pot hot.  Add olive oil – just enough to coat the oven.  Brown both sides of the brisket and then add the vegetables (save the potatoes).  Add dry red wine and beef stock, enough to cover the brisket and vegetables.  I usually add a little more broth than wine.  Make sure your broth doesn’t have added salt.  I tend to add some tomatoes, bay leaves, peppercorns, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme…but I would also recommend making your own beef stock if your name is Aaron Rocchino. (You can buy Aaron’s beef stock at The Local Butcher Shop!)

Cover the oven and put it into a pre-heated oven.  Don’t think precise temperature matters, but I go low (350 degrees).  I try to leave it in the oven for at least an hour per pound of brisket.  About 90 minutes before you are going to eat, I would add the potatoes.  Alternatively, you can fish out the other vegetables and some broth, then bake those with the potatoes in a separate dish.

Damon recommends a rich red wine from the Rhone region, like a good Cotes-du-Rhone or Chateauneuf-du-Pape.”