Prep 40 mins Roast 3:20 Eat 4 hours
We love to entertain friends at our home, so it was only natural that I invite a couple food bloggers over for an intimate evening of my favorite things – great food, music and lively conversation about what else – blogging!
When there are food bloggers in the room, you know there will be spectacular food not far away. Patti of Worth the Whisk posted the recipe for her salad of Moroccan ingredients pictured above – Hearts of Palm, Artichoke Hearts, Grape Tomatoes and Cucumbers. It was a fresh start to our Moroccan meal with my Brisket in between…
…and a fresh finish with Erika of “In Erika’s Kitchen” Poached Quince. I had been to a Southern California Food Historians lecture at the Los Angeles Public Library about Quince where Barbara Ghazarian, cookbook author of “Simply Quince” enlightened me about the virtues of quince. I had been wanting to become friends with this fruit myself so I was pleased that Erika brought this dessert for us all to taste. The longer you cook quince, the darker the flesh becomes and here it is a tawny golden color with great firm but supple texture. This dish was a fresh and delicious way to end our meal. Look at how the fruit gleams in the crystal glasses.
Back to the Brisket…Although I have old Jewish roots, I grew up as a Catholic and brisket was never on the menu. But for some reason, I feel inclined to prepare this Moroccan brisket around Hanukkah – just because there are some good brisket specials at the supermarket and I found this recipe some umpteen years ago in Bon Appetit. It is a winner! I hadn’t served it for a number of years, so I decided to pull it out for this dinner party.
You must begin this dish the day before by marinating the meat in a paste of Moroccan spices and olive oil. This is not a meal you can prepare in a FLASH! But there is very little hands on effort required and it is definitely worth the wait!
You start by browning the meat and then cooking the onions with olive oil in the pan. Add in carrots, cilantro and mint and then return brisket to pan and add stock.
When I served this dish some 4 hours later, I wish I had begun braising the meat earlier in the day, so it was ready before everyone walked in the door. The meat was not as tender as I had hoped by dinnertime, and I missed out on some of the conversation! I sliced it super thin across the grain, a technique which makes cheaper cuts of meat more tender, since you are cutting the long strands of meat shorter. I doused them in the pan juices to add more flavor and returned them to the oven briefly while I got everything ready to plate the meal.
Leftovers the next day were superb! From now on I’m making this the day BEFORE I serve it!
Moroccan Inspired Beef Brisket with Lemon
What you’ll need the first day:
- 5-6 pound beef brisket
- 2 Tbs Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1 Tbs ground ginger
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 cup olive oil
What you’ll need the second day:
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 10-12 large carrots
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves or 2 tsp dried mint
- 1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 large lemon, cut in 8 wedges
- 17.6 ounce pkg couscous
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
Procedure 1. Combine paprika, ginger, salt, turmeric, coriander, pepper, cumin and 1/4 cup olive oil in small bowl. Rub spice mixture into brisket. Cover and chill overnight in roasting pan.
2. Thinly slice onions. Peel and cut carrots in half and then quarter carrots lengthwise .
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Heat an additional Tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven or roasting pan. Add brisket and brown well on cooktop, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to a plate. Add onions to the Dutch oven and cook until onions are translucent. Add carrots, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Twist or cut off cilantro stems and add to pot along with mint, stock and then brisket. Bring to a boil Cover and bake brisket for 2 hours, occasionally pouring pan juices over brisket.
4. Cut lemon into 8 wedges. Add lemon juice, lemon wedges and remaining carrots to brisket. Cover and bake 1 more hour.
5. Remove brisket and slice thinly across the grain. Return to the pan to soak up the juices. Add 1/2 of chopped cilantro leaves to liquid. (This can be prepared 1 day ahead to this point.)
6. Return roasting pan to the oven for 10-20 minutes uncovered to warm all through.
7. Make couscous by following package directions: Heat 3 cups water with 1 Tbl butter, 1/2 tsp salt to boiling. Add 3 cups couscous. Stir, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Fluff couscous with a fork.
8. Serve brisket slices and carrots on a plate over freshly made couscous. Garnish with remaining cilantro leaves. Pass remaining pan juices and encourage guests to pour over their meal.