2 pounds flat, first-cut brisket, (see Note), trimmed
3 medium onions, sliced
6 allspice berries, or pinch of ground allspice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry vermouth, or dry white wine
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
4 medium carrots, peeled
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cored (see Tip)
1 medium rutabaga, (about 3/4 pound), peeled (see Tip)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons arrowroot, or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 - 2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add brisket and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.
Add onions to the pot; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in allspice, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper and bay leaves, then pour in vermouth (or wine). Bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in broth and return the brisket to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer. Cover, place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, cut carrots, parsnips and rutabaga into 2-by-1/2-inch sticks.
Transfer brisket to a plate. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard bay leaves and allspice berries (if using). Stir mustard into the sauce. Add the carrots, parsnips and rutabaga. Return the brisket to the pot; cover and bake for 1 hour more.
Test vegetables and brisket for tenderness by piercing with the tip of a sharp knife. As they get done, transfer to a cutting board or platter, cover with foil and set aside. If necessary, continue to cook, testing for doneness every 20 minutes. Total cooking time for the brisket may range from 2 1/2 to 5 hours, depending on the particular piece of meat.
Skim fat from the sauce. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce and intensify flavors. Dissolve arrowroot in 1 tablespoon water (or cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water); add to the simmering sauce and cook, stirring constantly, just until thickened, about 10 seconds.
Slice the brisket thinly against the grain and arrange slices on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, mound the vegetables around the brisket. Spoon half the sauce over the meat and vegetables; pass remaining sauce separately.
Note: Brisket cuts are notoriously fatty. But the flat, first-cut section is a far better choice for healthy eating than the fattier point cut. Don't worry about a first-cut's being tough--there's enough juice in this melange of root vegetables to keep the meat moist, no matter how lean it is.
Tips: Prep parsnips by peeling and removing the fibrous, woody core.
To peel a rutabaga, cut off one end to create a flat surface to keep it steady. Cut off the skin with your knife, following the contour of the bulb. Or use a vegetable peeler and peel around the bulb at least three times to ensure all the fibrous skin has been removed.
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 385, Fat, total (g) 11, chol. (mg) 78, sat. fat (g) 3, carb. (g) 22, Monosaturated fat (g) 5, fiber (g) 5, pro. (g) 41, vit. A (IU) 5344.92, vit. C (mg) 20.67, sodium (mg) 279, Potassium (mg) 850, iron (mg) 4.5, Vegetables () 1, Starch () 0.5, Lean Meat () 4, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet