Brisket is traditional Jewish American fare, but it need not be prepared from a “traditional” recipe. In fact, some “non-traditional” recipes enhance the culinary experience! Here are some of my favorites.
For a nice variation on the traditional:
Like most holidays Passover has lots of traditional foods, such as matzo ball soup, hard-boiled eggs and matzah, a type of flat bread. The holiday kicks off with two dinners in a row, where the story of Passover, the exodus from Egypt, is told. The main dish of the dinner is often brisket, a delicious and succulent type of pot roast perfect for larger groups. Here’s a recipe adapted from Chicago caterer, City Provisions that uses red wine, mushrooms and dried cranberries. Serve it with plenty of mashed potatoes.
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup organic beef broth
1/2 cup cranberry juice
3 Tablespoons potato starch
1 large yellow onion, sliced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 4-5 pound brisket, trimmed
6 ounces large Portobello mushrooms, dark gills scraped away, caps thinly sliced
6 ounces of cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 300°F.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk wine, broth, cranberry juice and potato starch. Pour into large roasting pan. Mix in onion, garlic and rosemary. Sprinkle brisket on all sides with Kosher salt and pepper. Place brisket, fat side up, in roasting pan. Spoon some wine mixture over the brisket. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty foil.
Bake brisket until very tender, basting every hour, for about 3 hours. Remove from oven, transfer brisket to plate; cool 1 hour at room temperature.
Thinly slice brisket across grain. Arrange slices in pan with sauce, overlapping slices a bit. (Cover and refrigerate. To save time on the day of, the brisket can be made a day or two ahead of time)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Surround the brisket with the mushrooms and cranberries in the sauce. Cover pan with foil. Bake about 30 minutes or so, until the mushrooms are tender and brisket is heated through
Transfer sliced brisket and sauce to platter and serve. Garnish with a few more of the cranberries.
For a very different taste:
8 to 10 pound brisket
1 quart beef stock (unsalted or low salt)
3 large onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Emeril’s Original Essence, (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup ketchup
1 cup chili sauce
1 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Using a paring knife and your finger, stuff brisket all over with garlic. Place brisket in a baking dish or casserole and bake until browned on top, remove from oven, turn brisket and return to oven until browned on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Add enough beef stock to casserole to come up 1 inch on sides, cover with foil and bake one hour.
While brisket is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat and saute onions in vegetable oil, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and most liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Remove brisket from oven after one hour and add caramelized onions and all remaining ingredients, moving meat around to combine ingredients. Cover and continue to bake until very tender but not falling apart, another 2 to 3 hours. Remove brisket to a carving board and slice. Strain reserved cooking liquids and pour over sliced brisket. Brisket may be returned to casserole dish and allowed to cool, then served the next day. (Reheated in oven.)
Brisket is better if made a day in advance.
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
* 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
* 2 tablespoons salt
* 2 tablespoons garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon black pepper
* 1 tablespoon onion powder
* 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
* 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
* 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
If you’d rather make a very traditional brisket, here is a delicious recipe:
Baker’s Best chef Geoff Skillman trims his own brisket, but butchers will do it for you. Don’t eliminate all the fat (or you may not have any flavor left). You can make the brisket, chill and skim the liquid, and reheat the dish the following day.
1 whole brisket (6 to 7 pounds)
9 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
6 stalks celery, strings removed, cut into 3-inch pieces
8 medium onions, roots intact, cut into quarters
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups Concord grape wine
1 quart beef stock
1 cup honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pint cherry tomatoes, stems removed
Set the oven at 350 degrees.
Trim excess fat from the brisket and place it in a large flameproof casserole. You can also use a deep roasting pan.
Place the carrots, celery, and onions around and on the meat. Add the bay leaves, garlic, wine, stock, honey, and plenty of salt and pepper.
Cover the pan with a double thickness of foil and transfer it to the oven. Bake the brisket for 3 to 4 hours or until it is very tender. Remove it from the oven.
Turn the oven temperature up to 450 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.
Remove the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon and set them on the baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast the vegetables for 40 minutes or until they caramelize at the edges.
Set the brisket on a cutting board and slice it diagonally against the
Reheat the meat by setting the flameproof casserole or roasting pan directly onto a burner. When it is hot, taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
Arrange the meat on a large platter and garnish with the caramelized vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and roasted potatoes. Serve at once.
Any of the above, is absolutely delicious!!