By Jennifer Segal
FOR years I made Nach Waxman’s “most-Googled brisket recipe” for
every Jewish holiday.
My family loved it, but eventually we all got tired of the same
ol’ same ol’.
One year, I decided to give the recipe a Moroccan twist: I added
Middle Eastern spices, dried fruit and capers.
Everyone thought it was a wonderful twist on the original.
The ingredient list looks long, but don’t let that scare you off;
it’s really just a lot of spices.
Plus, you can make it days ahead of time — in fact, you should,
because the flavour improves the longer it sits.
This dish is so abundant and impressive looking, you can keep
the sides simple: some couscous and a green vegetable and your holiday
dinner is done.
The brisket can be made up to three days ahead of time and refrigerated.
Reheat the brisket in a 300F oven until hot, about 45 minutes.
The brisket also freezes well for up to two months; just be sure
to defrost in the refrigerator two days ahead of time.
Don’t let your butcher trim off all the fat! A small fat cap bastes
the meat, adding flavour and keeping it from getting dry and tough.
You can trim any excess fat and skim the fat off the gravy once
If the sauce seems greasy, transfer the meat and vegetables to
a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
Pour the sauce into a bowl and let sit until the fat rises to
the top. Using a small ladle, spoon out the fat. Pour the skimmed
gravy back over the meat.
Preheat the oven to 350F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
Season the brisket on both sides with the salt and pepper. Lightly
dust with the flour, turning to coat both sides evenly.
In a heavy flameproof roasting pan or ovenproof enamelled cast-iron
pot, just large enough to hold the brisket, carrots and dried fruits
snugly, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the brisket to the
pan, fatty-side down, and sear until browned, five to seven minutes.
Using a pair of tongs and a large fork, flip the brisket over
and sear the other side in the same manner.
Transfer the brisket to a platter, then add the onions to the
pan. (If the pan seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water). Cook,
stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and scraping up any browned
bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the onions are softened
and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon
and cayenne to the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for one
minute more. Add a cup water and scrape up any browned bits from
the bottom of the pan.
Remove from the heat and place the brisket, fatty-side up, and
any accumulated juices from the platter on top of the onions. Spread
the tomato paste evenly over the brisket, then scatter the garlic
around it. Cover the pan very tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil
or a lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 90 minutes.
Carefully transfer the brisket to a cutting board (leave on the
oven). Using an electric or very sharp knife, cut the meat across
the grain on a diagonal into thin slices. 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.
Scatter the carrots, apricots, prunes and capers around the edges
of the pot and baste with the sauce; cover tightly with the foil
or lid and return to the oven.
Lower the heat to 325F. and cook the brisket until it is fork-tender,
1¾ to 2½ hours. Transfer the brisket to a serving platter, then
sprinkle with parsley.
If you’re not planning to serve the brisket right away, let it
cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready
to serve. Serves eight.