This recipe from California chef John Ash (excerpted from his cookbook Cooking One on One) was the centerpiece of a winter Island gathering at Ali Berlow's house in Vineyard Haven many years ago. Chronicled by Catherine Walthers in The Dinner Party, it's the type of gathering that seems especially priceless right now. Regardless of whether you're sitting around the table with close family or someday soon, a whole group of friends, the results will be equally delicious. The cooking takes awhile here -- plan to make it ahead, as this is delicious reheated.

You'll notice there is old coffee in the recipe; it has some of the same qualities as dry wine, so can enhance a dish in the same way. You don’t need to use old coffee for this recipe, but it should be good and strong.

• 4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 large yellow onions, sliced
• 1/4 cup fresh garlic, sliced
• 2 tablespoons (or more) pure chile powder, such as ancho or Chimayo
• 2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds
• 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
• 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
• 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
• 4 cups strong brewed coffee
• 1 cup homemade chicken, meat, or vegetable stock or your favorite canned broth
• 1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. 
In a deep Dutch oven or casserole, heat 
2 tablespoons olive oil and brown the brisket on both sides over high heat. 
Remove the meat from the pot, discard the fat, and wipe out the pot.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and sauté the onions and garlic over high heat until they just begin to color. Add the chile powder and sauté, stirring for a minute more, until fragrant. Add the fennel, cumin, sugar, vinegar, 
coffee, stock, and tomatoes, and bring to 
a simmer. Return the brisket to the pot (fat side up, if you want to be very correct), cover, and place in the oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

3. Leaving the oven on, transfer just the 
meat from the pot to a cutting board. Purée the braising liquids and vegetables until smooth (an immersion blender is the easiest way, or you can transfer everything carefully to a food processor or blender, in batches if necessary). Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Return the puréed sauce to the pot, place the meat fat-side up in the pot, and bake uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes more, or until the brisket is nicely glazed. Transfer the meat to a cutting board – 
the last time, I promise – and slice thinly across the grain. Serve the meat with the warm sauce spooned over it, or refrigerate the sliced brisket in the sauce for up to 
3 days, and reheat on the stovetop.

Recipe from Cooking One on One, by 
John Ash.