Brisket…Two Ways

Brisket …Two Ways

At sundown on Wednesday, September 28 Jewish families worldwide will usher in the New Year 5772 with the observance of Rosh Hashanah, beginning with a holiday dinner that evening.

In addition to apples and honey, it has become customary to serve sweet foods at this meal in the hopes of ushering in a sweet year.  Among these are sweet kugel (a noodle pudding),   tzimmes ( a sweet stew of carrots, sweet potatoes, and dried fruit),       honey cakes, and apple cakes to name a few.

But for many the star of the feast will be the brisket.   Brisket is a cut of beef that comes form the breast or lower chest.   It responds well to a slow cooking method such as braising. 

The traditional way of cooking this “Jewish Pot Roast” originates from Eastern Europe, with many variations over the years.  The delicious flavor defies the simplicity of the preparation.  It is one of the dishes than improves with reheating so it is even better to make it ahead.  And because it freezes well with no loss of flavor, you can make it a week ahead of your dinner allowing you to focus on the rest of the meal.

Brisket can be made either sweet or savory depending on your preference.  I have prepared it both ways over the years.  Being that we’re expecting a good number on Wednesday evening I’ve decided to make both.  So here are my recipes for Brisket… Two Ways.    Sweet or Savory…you pick, or do like me and make them both!   

Leftover brisket sandwiches  on rye bread…always a good thing!

Pot Roast of Brisket  (makes 8-10 servings)

 (The Jewish –American Kitchen, Raymond Sokolov, recipes by Susan R. Friedland)

2 cloves garlic, mashed through a press (or more if you like)

Salt (kosher)

Freshly ground black pepper

5 pounds first-cut brisket

2 large onions, peeled and cut into eighths

2 pounds carrots, scraped

1 cup dry red wine

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Make a paste with the garlic and salt and pepper; rub the paste into both sides of the brisket.

Put the meat in a roasting pan, fat side up, and roast until the meat is very brown, 15-20 minutes.

Lower the heat to 350 degrees.  Remove the brisket and strew the onions over the bottom of the pan.  Replace the meat and put the carrots on top.  Pour the wine into the pan.

Cover the meat with aluminum foil and roast for 2 to 2 ½ hours, until the meat is tender.  Remove the meat and carrots to a plate and pour the liquid and onions into a bowl.   Refrigerate or freeze briefly until the fat rises to the surface and can easily be removed.

Pour the liquid and onions in a processor or blender and puree.  Slice the meat against the grain and put it back in the roasting pan for a few minutes to heat with the gravy. Serve with the carrots.

*  May be covered well, and refrigerated or frozen at this point to be reheated later before serving.

Linda Goldstone’s Brisket (serves 8-10)

This recipe for the sweet brisket I received from a Chicago friend I met when my oldest son was in a pre-school program at the Jewish Community Center with her son when they were 2 years old.  I remember being at her home one afternoon while the boys were playing and she was preparing this brisket.

It has become the go to brisket recipe among our family and friends for many years.  It is particularly appropriate for this holiday when all sweet dishes are welcome.

It is a very simple recipe.  If you prefer to brown the meat first as in the above recipe you can.  It is not necessary.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

One 5- pound brisket (first cut)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)

1-2 large sweet onions, sliced

1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)

1½ cups ketchup

Rub the brisket with the salt, pepper and crushed garlic.  Strew the sliced onions on the bottom of the roasting pan.  Season with salt and pepper.

No, you are not seeing double…yes, I made 2 sweet briskets in addition to the 1 savory. I prefer to err on the side of too much food rather than too little!  The typical Jewish mother!

Place the brisket on top of the onions.Cover the top of the brisket with the ketchup smoothing it a bit.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the ketchup.

 Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and roast for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove the meat from the pan.  Allow to cool a bit, and slice on the diagonal (against the grain).  

Remove the pan juices, separating the onion if you want to, and  chill the gravy. When chilled, remove the fat from the top, replace the meat to the pan, cover with the gravy, turning to coat, and reheat.