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Jamie Stolper


Many people like a sweet brisket, or one with a thick gravy, almost a glaze. This recipe is definitely not for that kind of brisket. I find that there are so many other sweet dishes at the Rosh Hashanah dinner table - raisin challah, apples and honey, honeyed carrots or sweet potatoes - that a savory, rather than sweet, brisket is a perfect main course. This recipe is for a savory brisket, one flavored with garlic and lots of onions, and produces a lot of thin gravy. This is just right for side dishes such as rice or kasha or mashed potatoes. (The gravy can also be thickened by pureeing some of the vegetables and adding to the liquid.)


Definitely make this in advance of when you want to serve it. The flavor improves with a day or two in the refrigerator. You may also freeze the brisket and gravy right in your serving dish (glass, pottery, or foil), remove to the refrigerator to defrost the day before serving, and just heat and serve. This is the easiest traditional main course to make for holiday gatherings, because it involves no last-minute cooking or preparation. It also is a perfect foil for any side dish, plain or fancy. I make this in my pressure cooker, so actual cooking time is very short, but you can use the traditional oven method. This recipe is adapted from one by Joan Nathan in The Jewish Holiday Kitchen (New York: Schocken Books, 1979).




4-5 pounds top of the rib

(You may use any kind of brisket or chuck roast that you choose, but I find top of the rib to be very flavorful while being very lean, and just the right dimensions for a large pressure cooker - just layer the small pieces one on top of the other.)

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (use from the jar - it's a lot easier)
salt, pepper and paprika
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 large onions, sliced
5-6 carrots, cut in chunks
4-5 stalks celery with leaves, cut in chunks
1 - 2 cups water
1 envelope dried onion soup mix


If you are cooking the brisket in the oven, preheat to 325 degrees.


Rinse the meat, pat dry, and rub on all sides with the chopped garlic. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika. Brown the meat on all sides in hot oil in the pressure cooker or a heavy-bottomed casserole. Alternately, you may broil the meat on both sides in a broiling pan set close to the heat source for a few minutes until it is browned; then place in pressure cooker or casserole.


Add the sliced onions, carrots, and celery. Sprinkle with the dried onion soup mix and pour the water over the top. Use 1 - 1 1/2 cups if cooking in the pressure cooker and 2 cups if cooking in the oven.


Cover and bake in the oven 3 hours. Remove cover and brown 1/2 hour more, if you like, but a lot of the gravy will evaporate.



To prepare in a pressure cooker, cover and cook (follow manufacturer's directions) with the regulator shaking gently for 30 minutes. Cool the pressure cooker immediately and remove the cover.


Place the meat on a cutting board and let it sit until it is about room temperature. It is much easier to slice then. In the meantime, strain the vegetables from the gravy and place the gravy in the refrigerator so that any fat may congeal and be removed. If you like thicker gravy, puree some of the vegetables and add to the rest of the liquid.


Once the meat is sliced, place in your serving dish, pour the gravy over the top, cover, and either freeze or place in the refrigerator. All you need to do is heat in either the oven or the microwave!

The Best All-Purpose Savory Brisket and Gravy



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