Jewish-Style Brisket

Jewish-Style Brisket

Honestly, you could make a wonderful brisket by following my 7 Tips for Perfect Brisket without a recipe providing specific measurements and directions. Still, I do understand that it can be comforting to have a recipe as a guide, so here is the one I made this Rosh Hashanah.

Brisket is food for a crowd. You really can’t make a tiny brisket for one or two people to eat for a single meal, though you can easily make it and freeze portions for several meals. Don't let the price of the meat dissuade you from cooking brisket if you're willing to spend $6 per person on a main dish. After all, how much would you pay for a fabulous beef stew meal in a restaurant? 

My main advice when it comes to brisket is – “don’t be a slave to the recipe.” Whether creativity takes you on a detour or you find that your batch needs more liquid, use this recipe (or any other one) only as a guide. There are as many ways to make delicious brisket as there are brisket-lovers who cook it. Which liquids you choose (white wine versus red, all broth versus a combination of broth and wine), how you season it, and which vegetables you add are matters of personal taste.

And while we’re on the subject of ingredients, don’t be put off by the “stand alone” taste of an ingredient tastes when considering whether to add it to the mix. Dried figs? You may be surprised at how the ingredients blend together during slow cooking. Unless you put in way too much of an ingredient (like adding ¼ cup of powdered ginger) or head to an ingredient you should know better than to add (fish sauce in brisket – no!!!!), you’re on firm ground when you experiment.

I don’t thicken my brisket gravy. However if you find the gravy too thin for your taste, you can thicken it using the directions in my post on how to make gravy.

Jewish-Style Brisket

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Gluten-Free Fruit Crisp

Gluten-Free Fruit Crisp

I don’t follow a gluten-free diet, so my gluten-free friends sometimes have to teach me what is, and what isn’t, gluten-free. When neighbors, one of whom is gluten-free, invited me to a pot luck last week, I offered to bring a fruit crisp for dessert. After discovering that not all oats are gluten-free, I also realized that all of my “go-to” crisp recipes use flour in addition to oats.

Not being one to let a few obstacles stop me, I found work-arounds; my neighbor brought me gluten-free oats to use and with a favorite Bon Appetit recipe for inspiration, I made a fruit crisp with a wheat-free, oats and almond topping. It was as delicious as leftovers as it was on the first day, and no one who ate it could tell the difference between this crisp and a traditional one with wheat flour.

This recipe is not one in which the exact measurements matter – a bit more fruit or a tad more topping won’t change the taste appreciably. I used Granny Smith and Ginger Gold apples this time, but Golden Delicious and many types of red-skinned apples  - basically any apple that works well in my apple cake - will work well in this crisp.

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7 Tips for Perfect Jewish-Style Brisket

7 Tips for Perfect Jewish-Style Brisket

As the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approached, I got a hankering for brisket. Not some fancy or hipster recipe, but the kind that would transport me to the days when hours of cooking were the norm and preparation began days or weeks before a holiday meal.

With an image and no particular recipe in mind, I potchkied (loose translation from the Yiddish – tinkered) around and added a little of this and that until I put the brisket in to cook – and even then I still added a bit more of one ingredient or maybe two. If this reminds you of how your grandmother or aunts cooked – or maybe a favorite uncle or your father, then we’re from the same world, if not the same religion.

Brisket is slow cooked meat in sauce with vegetables. The version I yearned for reflects my Eastern European (Ashkenazic) Jewish roots, but no matter what your cultural and ethnic background, I'll bet you've tasted and enjoyed a variation on this theme.  

  

I realized that the most fitting way for me to welcome the Jewish Year 5775 would be to give you my tips on this traditional dish, hope that you use them to make a delicious meal for your family and friends, and to wish you a happy and healthy holiday and year to come. 

7 Tips for Perfect Brisket

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