It’s a funny thing about brisket. Because I’ve taught cooking for so long and have written a few Jewish cookbooks, perfect strangers find me online or in the phone book and call me at home with brisket questions. I usually get these calls at Passover, just before the first Seder. There are questions about timing, slicing, and reheating, about tenderness, fat, tomatoes or not, about how far in advance the brisket can be prepared. I don’t know these callers, but because they sound so stressed, I answer their questions. The brisket doctor is in.
OK, so I’m not really a doctor. But I have been making brisket for many years, so I’ve got pretty strong opinions on how it should be made. While some cooks like to get creative with their ingredients, flavoring their brisket with anything from chili sauce to cranberry juice, I think the best brisket is cooked the way my family has always done it—with tons of onions, a little tomato, red wine, mushrooms, and carrots. It’s a simple yet classic combination.
Read brisket’s Ingredient Discovery profile for advice on how to choose, trim, and cook brisket.
That simplicity also makes the leftovers (you’ll have lots of them) easy to transform into other delicious and unexpected dishes later in the week. Combine brisket with tomatoes, beans, and spices, and you’ve got a rich, spicy chili; add some wine, porcini, and rigatoni, and you have a hearty pasta dish; and brisket plus root vegetables, fresh herbs, and a creamy dressing add up to a fresh spring salad—my prescription for easy weeknight meals.