Sweet and Sour Brisket
(Israeli Jewish braised brisket)
Slow-braised brisket is a traditional part of Passover and Rosh Hashanah meals and other family gatherings in many Jewish households. Most Jewish brisket recipes have a sweet-sour flavor to the braising liquid.
For Jews in the United States, ketchup is a common ingredient in the sauce, as are different types of soda pop. We have kept the ketchup for this version. The soda pop is up to you.
6 to 8 servings
- Beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat -- 5 to 6 pounds
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Oil -- 1/4 cup
- Onions, sliced -- 3
- Garlic -- 6 whole cloves
- Kosher red wine -- 1 cup
- Beef broth -- 3 cups
- Ketchup -- 1 cup
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the roasting pan and heat it over medium-high flame on the stovetop. Brown the brisket on all sides in the hot oil and remove to a plate.
- Drain off all but about 3 tablespoons of the oil and add the sliced onions. Sauté the onions until they are transparent and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and let it cook down somewhat, stirring with a spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the beef broth, ketchup, salt and pepper. Add back the beef brisket, moisten the top with some of the liquid and cover the pan with foil. Set the pan in the oven and braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. If you like, remove the pan halfway through and flip the brisket over so both sides braise in the liquid.
- Remove the brisket to a cutting board, slice thinly against the grain and place the slices on a serving platter. Strain the pan juices, adjust seasoning and pour over sliced brisket.
Sweet and Sour Brisket Variations
- Braising Liquid Variations: There are endless variations you can make to the braising liquid. Just make sure you have 4 to 5 cups of liquid altogether so the beef braises properly. Substitute 1 cup ginger ale or cola for the red wine. Substitute 1/2 cup cider vinegar for some of the beef broth. Instead of ketchup, use 1 cup of chili sauce for extra kick.
- For a Sweeter Brisket: Add 1 cup brown sugar to the braising liquid. For Rosh Hashanah, use 3/4 cup honey. For Thanksgiving, try 1 cup of cranberry sauce.
- Brisket can easily be made a day in advance and reheated before serving. It will actually improve in flavor overnight.
- The brisket can be marinated overnight in the braising ingredients if you like. Remove the brisket from the marinade and pat it dry before you try to brown it.