Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Moroccan brisket, fartaytscht und farbessert

I posted an earlier, somewhat easier version of this recipe here.  Sometimes, though, it you are going to take on a brisket, which can be a formidable challenge to both wallet and health, you should really do it the best way possible, so I urge you to try it this way.  It is slightly but not much more difficult and basically just adds a browning step, but it is much much better.  We had it for Shabbat dinner
over Pesach and everyone agreed that it was worth the effort, which was my effort in any case.  I make this with a smaller cut of meat, which serves 6.  You can increase the quantity as long as you have a large covered roaster that will hold it in one layer.  I cooked it in a very large dutch oven.

Moroccan-style brisket

  • 3-4 pounds brisket, preferably second cut, or deckel
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, halved and sliced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • salt, about 1 teaspoon
  • pinch baking soda, optional
  • Spice mix: 1 teaspoon  fine, freshly ground black pepper, 1.5 teaspoons ground ginger (fresh is very un-Moroccan), 1. teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cumin,  1 teaspoons of Aleppo or Kirmiz pepper (or a mixture of sweet and hot paprika, since the other peppers are probably not available kosher for Pesach)
  • 20 pitted dates
  • 2 oranges, cut into eighths
  • 12 ounces merguez sausage  (available K for P)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice or water
  • 4-6 carrots, cleaned and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Dry the meat, heat the oil in a large casserole, and brown the meat in the oil on both sides.  It will probably take around 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the onions and garlic and make the spice mixture.
  4. When the meat is brown, remove and set aside, and add the onions to the fat in the pan.  Add the salt, and the pinch of baking soda (which will help them to brown more quickly).  Cook for about 10 minutes on medium until most of the liquid evaporates and the onions begin to brown.
  5. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  6. Add spice mix, turn heat to low, and cook for about two minutes.  If the onions seem try, add about 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan to dissolve the tasty crust forming.
  7. Put the brisket back in the pan, and distribute the onions so that they are more or less evenly distributed on beneath and on top of the meat.
  8. Surround meat with the dates and oranges (and if you like them super tender, the carrots),  cover the casserole, and let it heat for about 5 minutes.
  9. Put the casserole in the oven and cook for two hours.
  10. While the meat is cooking cut the merguez sausage and brown in a skillet.
  11. Set aside, pour out the fat, and deglaze with the orange juice or water  Cook until reduced by around half.  
  12. Taste the brisket for salt and add a bit more if needed, remembering that the merguez will add more salt. 
  13. Top the brisket with the carrots, the merguez pieces, pour in the juice, cover and bake for another 1.5 to 2 hours until the meat is tender.
  14. To serve, slice the meat across the grain on the bias. Place on a large deep platter and surround with dates, carrots, merguez and orange pieces. Taste the juices for salt and add a bit if necessary. If there are lots of juices and they are very thin, reduce them a bit, and pour over the meat. 
  15. Serve with rice, quinoa, couscous or mashed potatoes to around 6 people or 4 teens.  This is also nice with some harissa or even Sriracha for those who like it spicy. 
This can be made in advance, but my preference is not to slice the meat until after you reheat it. Otherwise, it just takes like leftovers.

The meat:  Best for this is a nice fatty cut, like 2nd cut brisket or deckel.  I have made it with first cut brisket to my regret-- it is really too dry.  Your cardiologist will not approve, but how often do you eat brisket?  You might as well enjoy it.  If you can find beef cheeks, they would also probably work well in this recipe, though I have never cooked with them.  If it does end up dry, which may happen if you use a first cut, be particularly careful in the slicing.  Use a very long, very sharp carving knife, hold the meat down firmly with a large fork, and carve of thin (I am talking 1/8 inch here) about 20 degrees off the horizontal,  You will end up with large thin slices.  Topped with the juices, you will be able to pretend that they are not dry.


  1. Replies
    1. For scientific reasons that are unclear to me, it speeds the browning and caramelization of the onions. It also tends to soften them to a bi of a puree. I would not use it if you want crisp onions, but if you are going to proceed to a long braise, it can be a nice way to speed things up.

  2. I am a big foodie, so you can imagine how much i enjoy your blog. I have learned alot from here and looking forward to more great stuff. Thanks a bunch.