Every year during Hanukkah growing up, my parents would get a nice brisket for the entire family that we’d all enjoy on Hanukkah. My mom used beer to tenderize and marinate it in all sorts of things (from broth to beer) and over the years, more and more vegetables were added to the mix. I loved the smell of it cooking because it smelled like the holidays to us.
This year, I ordered a brisket from the butcher and we enjoyed the smells of it cooking all day long. It reminded me of my childhood and I am so excited I’m passing that on to my kids.
Even though I don’t eat much red meat anymore, I will always make an exception for this one. It is the perfect dinner to have on a cold December night.
Jewish Holiday Brisket
- 5-7 lbs brisket, first or second cut (do not trim fat – especially if it’s grass fed)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 28 oz tomatoes – whole, diced, or crushed (1 large can)
- 10 peeled whole garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar works too)
- 2 cups beef or chicken broth, divided
- 2 large brown onions, peeled and sliced
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 lb celery, peeled and sliced
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rub both sides of the meat with black pepper and salt.
- Heat a large skillet over a medium flame on the stovetop. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Brown the brisket on both sides, 4-5 minutes.
- While brisket is browning, pour canned tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and 1 ½ cups broth into a blender or food processor. Add 2 teaspoons of salt (or 1 tsp if using a salted kosher cut of brisket) and ¼ tsp of black pepper. Pulse till garlic is chopped small and all ingredients are combined.
- Remove the browned brisket from the skillet.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons more olive oil in the pan and add the sliced onions. Saute them over medium high for a few minutes until they begin to soften and shrink in size.
- Add the carrot and celery slices. Sauté for another 5-6 minutes until the onions are soft and browning and the vegetables are fragrant.
- Pour the vegetables out of the skillet and onto a plate, reserve. Add 1/2 cup beef stock or chicken stock into the skillet and let it heat up. Use a spatula to gently scrape up any brown bits and pan juices that are clinging to the skillet. Turn off heat.
- Pour half of the tomato mixture into a large roasting pan. Place brisket on top of the tomato sauce, fat cap facing up. Pour the sauteed vegetables across the top of the brisket, along with the broth and brown bits. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the top of the vegetables and brisket.
- Cover the roasting pan tightly with a layer of parchment paper followed by a layer of foil.
- Place brisket in the oven. Let it roast undisturbed for 5-7 hours. It will take about 1 hour per pound of meat (leaner cuts of meat like grass fed may take longer—test for doneness). Brisket is ready when it flakes tenderly when pierced with a fork.
- Remove brisket from the pan and let it rest on the cutting board fat-side up for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the sauce and vegetables from the roasting pan into a smaller saucepan. Skim fat from the surface of the cooking sauce, then reheat the sauce till hot (not boiling).
- Cut fat cap off the brisket, then cut the brisket in thin slices against the grain.
- Serve topped with hot tomato sauce and softened veggies. Enjoy!