This recipe is one attributed to a Nach Waxman that I found in "The Joy of Cooking©." It was certainly excellent so I included it here. The amount of onions seems excessive. It is not. Follow the recipe and you will get yummy gravy with the beef. But it is wise to check the liquid level during the second baking to assure the gravy stays fluid instead of turning into a paste.
1 first-cut brisket of beef - 5-6 pounds – or a lean boneless chuck roast
1 to 2 teaspoons of unbleached all-purpose flour
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of corn oil
8 medium or 4 large onions, thickly sliced and separated into rings
2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or ½ cup of tomato sauce)
1-1/2 teaspoons of coarse (kosher) salt
2 cloves of garlic, quartered (I use 8 cloves for 6 lbs. of meat)
1 carrot, peeled (I use more like ten carrots, cut to 3 inch lengths, for 6 lbs. of meat)
6 coarsely chopped medium size peeled russet potatoes (optional but appropriate)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Trim the brisket or chuck of most of its fat, and dust it lightly with the flour. Sprinkle it with pepper.
Heat the oil in a large heavy flameproof metal casserole or Dutch Oven. Add the beef, and sear/brown it on both sides and around the perimeter of the meat over medium-high to high heat until some crispy spots appear on the surface. This will take about five minutes per side.
Transfer the beef to a plate. Keeping the heat medium high, add the onions to the casserole/Dutch Oven and stir, scraping up the brown particles left from the meat. Cook until the onions have softened and developed a handsome brown color from the meat particles, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the casserole/Dutch Oven from the heat, and place the beef, along with any juices that have accumulated, on top of the onions. Spread the tomato paste or sauce over the beef as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle with pepper and the coarse salt. Add the garlic and carrots, and cover tightly. Place the casserole/Dutch Oven on the middle rack in the oven, and bake covered for 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the casserole/Dutch Oven from the oven, and transfer the meat to a carving board. Cut it into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Place raw potato pieces on top of the reduced onions. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice (in effect reassembling the brisket, slightly slanted). Correct the seasoning if necessary and add 1/4 cup of water to the casserole.
Cover, and return the casserole/Dutch Oven to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF. Cook until the meat is brown and fork-tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Check the meat for tenderness. If more cooking time is needed then add 1/4 cup of water and cook for an addition 30 minutes. Transfer the roast, onions, potatoes and carrot slices to a heated platter, along with the wonderful gravy that formed during cooking. Serve at once on warmed dinner plates.