Beef Brisket Braised in Red Wine, Wrapped in Bacon

This image courtesy of Ditte Isager

This is my version of a classic Italian dish called brasato al Barolo made in the Langhe region. This dish is perfect served with some creamy polenta or a serving of mashed potatoes with some of the gravy from the beef drizzled over it. The bacon wrapped around the beef gives it an extra note of silky richness and flavor. I know we’re all obsessed with doing things the fastest way possible, but there is merit in slow cooking. This dish is a great example of why.


Cooking MethodBraising


Total Timea day or more

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, Lactose-free, Low Carb, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free



Taste and TextureJuicy, Meaty, Savory, Smoky, Spiced, Winey


  • 3 pounds beef brisket
  • 1 750-ml bottle Chianti or Barolo red wine
  • 6 to 8 bay leaves
  • 12 strips center cut bacon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 red onion, cut into 4-6 wedges
  • 4 carrots, scraped and cut on the diagonal into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 fennel bulbs, quartered
  • 6 whole celery stalks, cut into 4-inch pieces, including all leaves and hearts
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled


  1. In a bowl, marinate the beef in the wine and bay leaves for 8 to 10 hours in the refrigerator.

  2. In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, being careful not to overcook it—it should not be crispy. Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the skillet.

  3. Remove the brisket from the wine, saving the marinade. Using the same skillet, turn the heat up to high, and when hot, sear the beef for 1½ to 2 minutes on each side, holding the brisket with tongs or a fork to sear all sides.

  4. Place the seared beef in a Dutch oven and let it cool for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle the thyme on both sides of the brisket. Wrap the bacon strips around the brisket, securing them with kitchen string.

  5. Preheat the oven to 300°F.

  6. In the same skillet, melt the butter into the remaining bacon fat, and sauté the onions, carrots, fennel bulbs, celery stalks, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes to awaken the flavors. Pour the vegetables, the fat in which they’re cooked, and the remaining wine marinade over and around the brisket. Cover the Dutch oven and begin the slow cooking process.

  7. Bake the brisket for 3½ to 4 hours. Every 30 minutes, remove the brisket and turn it, stirring the vegetables. When done, the brisket should be so tender that you can cut through it with a spoon. Remove the butcher string and bay leaves, spoon the vegetables over the eat and serve.

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If you want to keep this recipe kosher, use Smoked top rib of beef which has a similar taste and effect of bacon just don't fry it as long because it dries out really quickly.

Can this be done in a pressure cooker?

This is one of the recipes I make for friends when I am having a dinner party and I have never ended up with a crumb of food left over. Everyone raves about this dish. I have made just about every recipe in Padma's book and love them all, but this is a mouth-watering recipe that leaves everyone wanting more. This recipe has sold the book to many people that have been to my home for dinner.


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