With Carolynn Schwartz & Family (Carolynn is the Giftware Buyer at New Morning Market)

Across cultures and religions, many families serve the same thing at holiday gatherings year after year, and mine is no different. For as long as I can remember, my mother made brisket for Jewish holiday meals, regardless of the season. Brisket at Passover with matzoh ball soup? Sure! Brisket with challah and honey for Rosh Hahshanah? A sweet new year indeed! Brisket with Latkes and applesauce for Chanukah? Spin that dreidel and pass me a plate!

Just the word “brisket” evokes powerful sense memories for me. I can instantly smell the onions cooking, hear the meat searing, and feel the weight of the giant pot that has become the Festivus Feat of Strength. It’s more than just an enormous cut of beef that takes a long time to cook. It’s a room full of family and friends gathering to celebrate and enjoy a meal together. It’s love.

Now, there are many ways to make brisket, and each method is wonderful to be sure. But the beauty of this particular recipe – like most of my mom’s dishes – is in its simplicity. Three basic ingredients + time = undeniable deliciousness.

 

Ingredients

  • A brisket of any size – I used a 5lb one here
  •  Vegetable or olive oil
  •  1 or 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • Equal parts ketchup and water, enough to cover the meat fully
  • Seasoned salt – I used Jane’s Crazy Mixed-Up Salt
  • Large, oven-safe, covered pot

Directions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325F. Make sure the rack is low enough in the oven to be able to fit your covered pot inside without touching the top.

Step 2 

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot and saute the onions over medium heat until they soften. Remove the onions and set aside.

Step 3 

Season both sides of the brisket generously. Add the meat to the pot and sear for several minutes on both sides.

Step 4

Return the onions to the pot and add enough equal parts ketchup and water to completely cover the meat. One at a time, empty each bottle of ketchup right into the pot, refill it up with water, shake it up a bit, and then add it to the pot. Repeat with each bottle until the meat is covered. I used three bottles of Annie’s for this batch.

Step 5

Stir it up to evenly distribute everything and then cover the pot and put the whole thing in the oven. BE VERY CAREFUL! This pot will be VERY HEAVY and VERY HOT! Don’t hesitate to ask someone who is stronger than you are to help you do this step.

Step 6

Cook for 2 hours or so (I usually forget it’s in the oven so the time varies) and take it out of the oven. AGAIN, THE POT HILL BE HEAVY AND HOT! Take the meat out of the pot and place it on a large cutting board with wells to catch the juice. Slice the meat against the grain into ½ inch slices and return to the pot. Cover and return to the oven for another 3-6 hours depending on the size of the meat, until the meat falls apart.

Step 7

Take the pot out of the oven and allow it to cool before putting it in the fridge overnight. Another option is to transfer the meat and a good amount of the juice to a baking dish for chilling overnight.

Step 8

The next day, skim the hardened fat off of the top of the meat/juice before returning the pot or dish to the oven. Heat at 350F for 45 minutes or until it’s bubbly and your entire household is drooling. Serve with a healthy scoop of juice and a bib.

Step 8

 For the meal pictured, I brushed some quartered, mixed baby potatoes with sunflower oil and more Jane’s Crazy Mixed up Salt and roasted them while reheating the brisket. The Brussels Sprouts were cut in half, steamed for a few minutes and then sauteed with grapeseed oil, salt and pepper. My kids love them and they make for a healthy pop of color and crunch.

 

 

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