1 (4- to 5-pound) beef brisket, cut in half widthwise
2 tablespoonsolive oil
2 mediumyellow onions, medium dice
12 medium garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
6 tablespoonspacked light brown sugar
2 tablespoonstomato paste
1 (14-1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, liquid and cores discarded, tomatoes broken up by hand into large chunks
2 (6-inch) branches fresh rosemary
1/4 cupcider vinegar
4 hrs 15 mins, plus overnight refrigeration time
A classic Jewish staple, brisket is slow-cooked for optimum tenderness and flavor. Here the meat is first coated with a Hungarian paprika rub, then slow-cooked with tomatoes, onion, and rosemary. The addition of brown sugar and vinegar lends a sweet-savory balance to the deep, meaty flavor. Be sure to spoon the sauce over potatoes.
What to buy: If you’re making this dish for Passover, make sure all of your ingredients are kosher for Passover. If you can’t find kosher-for-Passover cider vinegar, then kosher-for-Passover red wine vinegar is a good substitute.
Game plan: Cook the brisket the day before serving; the flavors meld after a night in the refrigerator.
1Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2Place the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub the brisket pieces all over with the seasoning mixture; set aside.
3Place the oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid and heat over medium high until shimmering. Add 1 piece of the brisket and cook until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove to a plate and repeat with the second piece of meat.
4Reduce the heat to medium; add the onions, garlic, and brown sugar; and sauté until the onions are softened and starting to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to coat the onions, and cook until the paste is no longer raw-tasting, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil.
5Return the brisket to the pot, fat side up (it’s OK if the pieces overlap), cover, and braise in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and rotate the meat from bottom to top, keeping the fat side up (or fit the pieces side by side if possible). Cover, return the pot to the oven, and braise until the brisket is fork tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more.
6Remove the brisket from the oven, uncover, and let cool in the braising liquid until the sauce is just warm, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
8Remove the brisket to a cutting board and slice off the excess fat. Using a spoon, scrape away the hardened layer of fat on the surface of the sauce. Remove the rosemary branches and bay leaf and discard. Slice the brisket against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick pieces and return the slices to the sauce. Cover the pot and place it in the oven until the brisket is warmed through, about 45 minutes. Serve on a platter with the sauce either on the side or spooned over the meat.