I love Passover dinner. When I lived near my family it was one of my favorite holiday meals. When my husband and I first started dating he came to my grandparent’s house for Seder. I need to give a little back story, my mother converted to Judaism when she married my father. She was raised Episcopalian and to this day we celebrate all of the Jewish and Christian holidays. My husband is a Catholic and was a little intimidated by the thought of having to participate in our Seder dinner. Being the nerd that he is, he researched all about Passover and the sequence of events. For years, my mom had been made fun of by my dad’s family for stumbling over the Hebrew when it came time to read her portion of the Haggadah. My mom was thrilled at the idea that some other person was going to get made fun of at our table, but lo and behold, Mr. Google spewed out perfect Hebrew and showed her up. This incident was 7 years ago and she still reminds my husband of it often.
I try to carry on the traditions that I had as a child for my own children and this year I really was urged by Mr. Google to make a Seder dinner. I think that he was just angling for a brisket. We had been in Los Angeles all last week and got home last night so I threw this together this afternoon. I do not have all of the Passover items to have a true Seder dinner, but our dinner had the spirit of Passover. I bought my children this book and they were thrilled that there was Matzoh Man on our table.
I have to give myself some props as I started this dinner at 2pm and had it on the table at 5pm. Granted, I broke the garbage disposal but I will not let that little nugget dampen my victory.
I did not use a true recipe for this recipe. I called my mother and she was less than specific about how to make it. This is my winging it version.
1 – 3.5 pound brisket
3 onions sliced thin
3/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup red wine
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper
Mix all of the sauce ingredients together. Give it a taste. It should be a good balance of sweet and sour. If it needs more sweet, add more sugar, if it needs more sour, add more vinegar. Season well.
I got fancy, Kobe brisket, but any old brisket will do.
Pat dry. This is a very important step. The beef needs to be very dry before it goes into the pan. If it is wet, it will steam instead of sear which is what you want. Season with salt and pepper right before you sear it. Crank up the heat in your pan and add a little oil. It needs to be screaming hot before the beef goes in. We are after a nice crispy crust on the outside of our brisket.
When both sides are seared put it in your roasting pan.
Pour the sauce all over the brisket.
Cover the brisket with the sliced onions.
Add a few sprigs of thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with tin foil. I have a lid for this roasting pan. In fact, this is my favorite roasting vesicle, but my mom and my grandmother, and Rose Zawid, who made many, many of our Passover dinners always covered the brisket in tin foil. I do not mess with tradition. I do as I am told.
Put the brisket in a 300 degree oven. I hesitate to give an exact time as it depends on how large your brisket is. Mine was 3.5 pounds and it cooked for almost 3 hours. Brisket should be fork tender. If it is not fork tender, put it back in the oven until it is.
Let your house permeate with the most delicious aroma. Get on with the other parts of your meal.
Let it rest a bit before you cut it. Slice on the bias against the grain. This is very important. If you cut with the grain, you will lost the texture of the brisket and it will be tough. This brisket was tender and succulent and all around delicious. This can be made a day ahead of time. In fact, I recommend that you do make it in advance. It will be even better the second day.
I served this with smashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, thyme and white wine carrots, matzah and homemade haroset.
This is so good that I will not be saving this dish for Passover. Make one and share it with your friends.
A little disclaimer – Passover dinner is serious business. There are very strict rules. I hope that I followed them correctly, but I make no promises.