137. A Brisket
Nothing is more comforting than a good plate of Jew food. I make an amazing chicken soup, and keep mason jars of it in my freezer at all time. Four dollars worth of chicken backs and some carrots, onions, and celery make for several quarts of what my mother has always called “the Elixir of Life.”
A brisket is a cheap, big cut of meat. It’s not great unless it’s been cooked for a long time – kind of chewy and tough. But, slow-cooked in liquid for a few hours, it becomes really tender and yum.
Recently, I got my aunt’s very traditional brisket recipe. I’ve always loved her brisket, and, upon receiving a Le Creuset from my parents for my birthday this year, I finally asked for the recipe. It is super easy and super delicious. The meat, slow-cooked in the oven for four or five hours, comes out incredibly flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth tender. I’m a sucker for slow-cooked meats – I love a good Coq au Vin or stew. Yum yums.
Here is Aunt Devorah’s recipe as she gave it to me:
I lb of Brisket for about every two people. It really shrinks after cooking.
Lots of onions, chopped
Spicy deli mustard
2 cans of tomato juice
Place brisket in baking pan and smother with mustard. Cover with onions and
mushrooms and then pour the tomato juice over everything to fill the baking dish and
cover the brisket as much as possible.
Bake at 350 for at least two hours and then slice thinly and return to baking dish. Bake at
least two more hours. I let it bake all day (even five hours) and replenish the tomato juice
if it doesn’t cover the meat.
The onions and mushrooms are to taste. I use a pound of mushrooms and enough onions
to cover the meat and fall into the tomato juice. It’s whatever you like.
This is best reheated for an hour or two the next day and served.
I doctor the recipe a little bit, using Dijon mustard and adding three chopped carrots to the pot. Otherwise, I stay completely faithful to the recipe. It is unbelievably easy and a classic old-world Jewish recipe. And really any cook can do it, provided you can find a nice cut of brisket (Washington folks – I go to Snider’s supermarket in Silver Spring. Their meats and produce are super cheap and super fresh).
Good luck, friends. Happy slow-cooked meating.