Wild Thistle Kitchen: French Onion and Wild Mushroom Braised Beef Brisket

This braised beef brisket with French onions and wild mushrooms is the most delicious, succulent way I have ever eaten beef brisket. If you are looking for a new way to cook a brisket that doesn’t involve a smoker, here it is. This is such a cozy dish — perfect when there’s a chill in the air or for summer barbecues.

So, this recipe … I had a beef brisket from my friends at Hayfield Farm lingering in my freezer and I really wanted to create something new and different. Everyone knows how to smoke a brisket (some better than others, I will admit). And most people have at least heard of a braised brisket. The broth is usually tomato-based, kind of sweet and with lots of onions.

Nothing wrong with that. But I wanted something super savory. And you know I’m always looking for any excuse to use obscene amounts of mushrooms. And you also know I love putting my little French fingerprint on most of my dishes. Thus, this French onion beef brisket recipe was born.

One of my peeves with a lot of braised or slow-cooked recipes is that the onions are just tossed in raw. When the dish is done, they just look watery, bland and totally unappealing. So I knew I wanted to get a good caramelization on the shallots and onions before introducing any liquid to the braise. This one little step will make ALL the difference in the flavor of this dish — trust me. I mean, this one little step is so good it makes me want to cry (just kidding — chopping all those shallots and onions literally made me cry, as my husband will affirm). But it’s #worthit! Sharpen your knives and wear onion goggles if you have them.

Then there are the mushrooms. You might think this is an insane amount of mushrooms, but, again — trust me! They will cook down so much and the flavor they give to the broth is just so savory and wonderful. I love using a variety, but of course you can use as few or as many types as you’d like. I get really excited when I see unique mushroom varieties and usually end up leaving with all of them. My mushroom love is real.

This recipe takes time, but it is not difficult. The layered flavors and the long cooking time make this such an elegant, delicious version of braised beef brisket. None of the steps is a challenge and most of the cooking time is completely hands-off. I imagine you could make this in the slow cooker, but I have not tried it.

HERE is a link to my roasted carrots and parsnips recipe, an easy veggie side to serve with this braised beef brisket.

I hope you’ll give it a try. If you’re local, go grab a brisket from Hayfield Farm! And here are a few other recipes in which beef, pork or lamb from Hayfield Farm is the star of the show.

Simple Pot Roast

Hearty Beef and Barley Soup

Oven Roasted Beef Short Ribs

Dad’s Shepherd’s Pie

Lamb Stuffed Summer Squash

Authentic Bolognese

Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Mexican Red Sauce

Barbacoa Shredded Beef

Meatballs and Quick Marinara


French Onion and Wild Mushroom Braised Beef Brisket

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.


1 7-to-8-lb. brisket, trimmed of excess fat

64 ounces mixed wild mushrooms

1 lb. shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 lb. yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 cups white wine

4 cups beef broth

2 cups water

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and black pepper

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Preheat a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot or large roasting pan over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper your brisket all over with about 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil to preheated Dutch oven, then add brisket. Cook on both sides until very golden brown.

Remove brisket from pan. If there is an excess of fat in the pan, pour it off. You want about 2 tablespoons in the pan to cook the onions. Add the onions, turn heat down to medium and cook, stirring often, until the onions are very caramelized. This will take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, so be patient. Add a splash of water if the pan is getting too dark. You want brown, not black onions.

Once the onions are deeply caramelized and very much reduced in volume, add the mushrooms, garlic, bay leaves, herbs, ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper and continue cooking for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms brown a little and reduce in volume.

Add wine, balsamic vinegar, beef broth and water and stir to combine. Place brisket on top, cover with foil or an oven-safe lid and cook in preheated oven for 5 to 6 hours until it is very tender.

Once the brisket is tender, skim off as much fat from the broth as you can. Either slice or shred the brisket, removing any large chunks of fat as you find them.

Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, rice, polenta or grits and your favorite vegetable side. I like to serve this with freshly steamed carrots tossed with butter and lots of fresh parsley and dill.


  • This is an excellent make-ahead dish as it just tastes even better the next day or the day after. Also, once cooled, it is easier to slice the brisket and much easier to remove any excess fat that has risen to the surface and hardened after refrigeration.
  • Make sure to use a large Dutch oven or a stovetop-and-oven-safe dish. That way, you don’t have to wash up two pans. You’ll brown the meat and caramelize the onions on the stovetop and then finish the dish in the oven.

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.


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