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Chefs can chop and season in a few distinct directions to turn a roast of beef brisket into a hearty soup. Some recipes are basic concoctions of meat and vegetables in a stock flavored by their own juices. Others are complicated affairs that bathe the meat in any number of ethnically distinct flavors. Since smoking, grilling or "low and slow" moisture methods are recommended for cooking brisket correctly, many eat a properly marinated and seared roast on one day and use the leftovers to make brisket soup the next.
Several Web sites dedicated to cooking different cuts of beef note that brisket is one of the tougher of the primal cuts of a cow, just below the top of the ribs. This means it is best suited for a few particular cooking methods. Perhaps the most iconic preparation is via the barbecue. Another is dry or wet brining the whole roast and serving corned beef. Braising is yet another common technique, with the brisket cooking at a low heat in the oven in a shallow pool of steaming aromatics. In one decidedly modern version of this latter method, the brisket simmers in a seemingly incongruous broth made of ginger ale, garlic, ketchup and dehydrated onion soup mix.
The next day, there may or may not be enough meat left over for sandwiches and maybe even brisket soup. A range of recipes can be found online for this dish, from east to west. Some use just the beef chunks with vegetables and stock made from its own pan drippings. Others throw in noodles or rice at the end for more of a full meal.
The flavors of the broth vary as widely as the flavors used in all of the world's soups. A Chinese beef brisket soup recipe is made in a slow cooker with water, white wine, ginger, brisket beef cubes, some cornstarch, tomatoes and coriander. The stalk of coriander is chopped up to serve as the garnish for each bowl of soup.
Western versions of brisket soup may be completely different. An iconic recipe is a hearty beef and potatoes stew of brisket and several root vegetables in a stock made from the beef's own collected juices, along with seasonings like thyme, bay leaf and rosemary, and perhaps some complementary wine. To make this soup a stew, the meat and vegetables are cut into larger chunks that are more apt to retain tenderness throughout the cooking process.
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