Next week is Passover, and brisket is the most popular and common entrée served at many Passover Seders. This year my parents are hosting the first night of the Seder at their house, and Jonathan and I are helping cook. Jon’s in charge of the brisket, with my help, and we are also making a sweet potato gratin and sautéed asparagus and broccoli rabe.
This past week, we had our good friend staying with us from LA (she’s really a New Yorker but recently moved there). I hadn’t cooked for her in a long time, so Jon and I did a test run of the brisket for dinner one night. It turned out tender and super flavorful, and our sauce was great for the rest of the week on pasta and rice. We’ll be making this again for next Monday’s Seder. Mom – hope you approve!
2 ½ lbs brisket
3 tbsp white horseradish
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
20 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 parsnips, diced
1 24-oz can whole tomatoes in their juices
2 ½ cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
4 bay leaves
Small bunch parsley
Salt and pepper
1. Dice the onions, carrots and parsnips, mince the garlic.
2. Mix the horseradish and Dijon together in a bowl, set aside. Season the brisket well with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, sear the brisket on all sides to get a nice golden crust. Remove from pan.
3. Sweat the vegetables on high heat in the same pan. When the vegetables have some color, deglaze with the red wine and reduce by 1/3.
4. Add the herbs, the chicken stock and the tomatoes with their juices. Cook for 5 minutes to soften the tomatoes and warm the braising liquid.
5. On the fat side of the brisket generously spread the horseradish and dijon mixture. Add the brisket back into the braise and bring to a simmer.
6. Cook brisket at 250° for seven hours. This cut of meat is tough and needs a long, slow cook time. Cover the pot that it’s in, but make sure the liquid inside does not boil while it’s in the oven.
7. When the meat is fork tender and juicy, remove from the juices and let it rest on a wire rack above a plate to catch any dripping juice.
8. For the sauce, we used a hand blender to blend all the vegetables and tomatoes into a rich, thick sauce. We then passed it through a fine sieve to make sure it was smooth and fine. This sauce definitely had a tomato flavor and consistency. For a meatier, less thick sauce, use only the tomato juices from the canned tomatoes and strain the sauce after cooking, instead of blending the vegetables together.
9. When the meat has rested, slice against the grain and serve with the braising liquid sauce.
© 2011 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle