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Traditional Jewish Brisket Recipe [moved from General Chowhounding board]

  • g

Yup, my 72 year old Yiddishe Momma has never cooked a brisket....Although I won't be eating it, I'm the know-it-all who's going to tell her how to do it (g)...I've searched thru past posts, and found BBQ brisket recipes, and a few that call for the cans of onion soup, ketchup, and other things that should not be added to brisket. Searching Epicurious, and some Jewish food sources online, yielded a few recipes *I* thought were right, using pounds of onions, braising, and lots of slow cooking, but the thing is, Mom is a weenie. She wants one that her friends have tried, and that means ketchup, onion soups, cranberry sauce, etc.

Mom and Dad, however, revere the opinions, and recipes of the knowledgeable hounds, whose recs have led them to great BBQ, great recs, and great eating...So if one of *you* posts *your* brisket recipe, Mom will consider it vetted by a close friend who can really cook.

Please, help my father's old age hold a wonderful brisket this New Year...Help my mother be the envy of her Mah Jong group, when they smell those delicious smells, and beg for leftovers...

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  1. First of all, make sure you get a piece of brisket with enough fat in it. If you don't, it will be dry.

    I don't like to use flour. I just season it with salt and pepper. Brown it in a pan just large enough to hold the meat flat. If you have the right piece of brisket, you will not need additional fat, and there will be plenty of fat for the next step.

    When the meat is browned, remove it from the pot and add chopped onions (lots) and carrots. Saute these in the fat remaining in the pot (add an extra bit of a type of your persuasion, if necessary) until the onions brown a bit. Put the brisket back in the pot with enough water or broth to come at least halfway up the brisket. Add some peeled garlic cloves and a parsley root if you can find it. Some thyme wouldn't hurt.

    Cover it partly and bring to a boil. IMMEDIATELY turn it down to a simmer and cook until very tender, maybe three hours. Turn it over, using tongs, every so often.

    When it it finished, put it on a plate. If there is too much fat on the broth, skim some off. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to pulverize all the vegetables. This will give the gravy some body. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

    Pat G.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Pat Goldberg

      I make a brisket very like this, except that I add a bay leaf and about 1/4 cup of black coffee. Pat's right. Getting a good cut is really vital.

      1. re: lucia

        I often put in a bay leaf too. Forgot to mention it.

        Pat G.

        1. re: Pat Goldberg

          But what about the prunes????

          1. re: Nina W.

            Okay...I buy a tzimmes all made with prunes and apricots....I'm no maven when it comes to tzimmes.. If you live in the Boston area the Butcherie in Brookline has so much pre-made..

            1. re: Nina W.

              I really dislike tzimmes.

              1. re: Pat Goldberg

                But how about prunes just cooked with the brisket, and just eventually disintegrated into the gravy? Oh, that sweetness...

                1. re: Nina W.

                  Trouble is, I don't have a sweet tooth. For example, I cannot eat duck with a fruit-based sauce.

                  Pat G.

      2. OK, it's an inexact science but here it goes. This is for a more savory recipe, no fruit or tomato products:

        1 brisket flat, 5-7 lbs.
        2 lbs yellow or Spanish onion
        2 cans Franco-American mushroom gravy.
        1-3 cups water
        1/4 cup sweet wine: use port, Madiera, or Manishevitz Malaga

        later,
        3 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.

        Preheat oven to 325.
        Slice onions thinly and layer in bottom of roaster to cover. Place brisket on top. Pour gravy over top of brisket. Pour wine over/into gravy. Add water to cover bottom of pan. Cover and put into oven.

        About 2 hours in to cooking, flip meat over so the top is now in the liquid. Cook about 2 more hours.

        Allow meat to cool. Remove from pan and slice (about 1/4 inch) across the grain. Return to pan.

        At this point, brisket can be held in fridge for a few days or frozen.

        Return brisket in covered pan (with all the onions and liquid) to 325 oven. Cook another 1.5 to 2 hours. Add potatoes to pan, scattering and submerging in gravy. Cook another 1.25-1.5 hours and serve.

        This is pretty close to what I grew up on and make myself. Believe it or not, the gravy does taste pretty good after it's all done.

        I will be making it this week, and will post back anything I might've forgotten.

        1 Reply
        1. re: dude

          Brisket and Franco-American....are incompatible, in ANY language, (as I came to the U.S.A. as a displaced person with my husband and a baby, from Poland after world war II .) I and my children and my other family members have been blessed to bake my briskets for many decades . I guess its not bad if my grandchildren keep asking when I will make brisket again!! What more could a grandma want?

        2. I have made a brisket from Bon Appetit that we really liked. (Not exactly what you had in mind, it does have bottled Chili sauce in it :-) ) - I tried Epicurious, but didn't see it:

          1/3 c + 1 TBSP Veg Oil
          2 1/2 lb Onion, thinly sliced
          5 Celery stalks, sliced
          1 1/2 c Chicken broth
          1 12 oz bottle Dark Beer
          1 12 oz bottle Chili Sauce
          2 TBSP Tomato Paste
          1 TBSP chopped Fresh Marjoram
          1 5-lb Flat-Cut Brisket
          1 TBSP Sweet Hungarian Paprika

          325 degrees. Saute onions in 1/3 c oil until very dark. Transfer to large roasting pan. Add 1 TBSP Oil to used pot and saute celery until brown. Add broth to deglaze. Add beer, Chili sauce, tomato paste and Marjoram. Salt/pepper/paprika brisket. Place atop onions, fat side up. Pour sauce over. Cover with foil and roast until tender (close to 4 hours). Let stand one hour room temperature (can be made ahead to this point).

          350 degrees. Spoon off excess fat from brisket and sauce. Thinly slice brisket across grain and arrange in 13 x 9 glass baking dish. Bring sauce to boil in saucepan and spoon over brisket. Cover loosely with foil and rewarm to heat through (about 40 minutes).

          -Cathy

          4 Replies
          1. re: mirage

            Do you really add a whole 12 oz bottle of chili sauce?

            1. re: David Kahn

              No typo. It does sound like a lot - but I did re-check the recipe. It says, and I use, 12 oz. :-)
              -Cathy

              1. re: David Kahn

                They are calling for the mild type of chili sauce you buy next to the ketchup in the grocery store -- sort of like ketchup with a little chili flake action (Bennets or Heinz brands). I think you are thinking of something like Texas Pete, which isn't the same thing. That would be awful!

                1. re: Terrie

                  Ah ha. I was indeed imagining adding 12 oz. of habanero pepper sauce, which certainly would not produce the type of brisket my grandmother used to make. (In fact, I think the primary ingredient in her recipe was Lipton instant onion soup mix.)

            2. No matter which recipe you use - my suggestion is to cook it the day before serving, chill and slice it (against the grain). You can then remove any fat that has congealed in the gravy. Then, reheat before serving. All dishes of this sort only improve by preparing a day or two in advance. Happy New Year!

              1. My favorite brisket recipes call for shredding the meat, instead of slicing it... so here goes!

                Into a crock pot, place one brisket (usually around 5 lbs in size) that has been rubbed with seasoning salt, ground pepper, fresh chopped garlic and Worchestershire sauce. Cover with thickly sliced onions. Put lid on crock pot, and turn on low for about 10 hours. Remove fat from brisket and shred with a fork into large chunks. Serve with au jus from pan.