Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Holiday Tradition

Every Passover I can remember, and most Hanukkahs even, my mom made the same brisket recipe. Which is why, when I was having friends over for a sedar, I knew that recipe had to make an appearance. So for Passover, the boy and I made my mom's brisket recipe. And when I say we, I basically mean the boy, but I did supervise and take pictures. Considering that cooking this brisket is on my 101 in 1001 list, I am going to count this as completed. After all, I didn't completely specify how involved I had to be in the cooking process! The recipe is from The Jewish Holiday Kitchen by Joan Nathan, and online here, the version below reflects the changes we made.
Barry Wine's Stringed Beef Brisket

Salt and Pepper to Taste
One 6-pound beef brisket
3/4 vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, trimmed, washed, and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 tablespoon diced garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Malbec wine
6 cups beef stock from 6 beef bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons dry thyme leaves
1/2 cup Brandy

1. Cube the brisket in 1 1/2 inch squares.
2. Salt and pepper the brisket. Brown in stock pot with hot oil. Remove and set aside.
3. Brown the vegetables in the same oil. Deglaze pan with 1/3 cup wine.
4. Add meat, and all remaining ingredients into pot, with the exception of 2 tablespoons Brandy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook and cover until meat is tender (around 2 hours).
5. Remove meat and use fork to split apart into shreds. While shredding, let sauce reduce until thick enough to coat a spoon. Adjust seasoning, and return shredded meat to sauce along with the remaining brandy

As for the changes we made, most of them were substitutions. We used beef stock instead of veal stock. We used Brandy instead of Cognac. We used a Malbec instead of a Cabernet, along with a few other small changes. But even with our substitutions, eating this brought me right back to childhood. As crazy as it sounds, just a bite tasted like Passover, and I'm so happy I we finally know how to make it so it can become a tradition on our home as well.

Are there any dishes you strongly associate with childhood or a holiday in particular? Have you tried to recreate one of those dishes yourself?


  1. I need to learn how to cook brisket and other large pieces of beef. For me, holidays must have green bean casserole. Even if I'm the only one who eats it.

  2. I've never had meat, but I hear my grandmother made a mean brisket (with homemade ketchup!)

    Good for you guys for making it!