There are some foods that symbolize the peace and well being associated with the Sabbath and holidays. A festive menu nearly always means Kreplach Soup, Gefilte Fish, and Brisket. These are the tastes of comfort and love. The meat should fall apart with your fork, and there should be plenty of rich Gravy for the Potatoes.
This is a glad meal, one that will have your guests asking if they can wait just a little bit before dessert.
A good Brisket is not difficult to prepare, but is time consuming, because the Meat must be trimmed of all visible Fat, then browned thoroughly before roasting. Do not stint on the time for these tasks. The best Brisket is made the day before it is to be served, and chilled in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to blend, and the Fat to be lifted off in a cake before the Gravy is thickened.
Once the Fat has been removed, the Meat can be frozen in its juices until it is needed. Those of you who are planning to entertain should remember that the Kreplach and Gefilte Fish can also be made and frozen ahead of time. If you do these tasks a week or two before your party, you will be able to serve a lovely dinner without being exhausted or feeling that you must resort to ready made foods because the time is short.
1 Brisket (about 5 pounds) trimmed of all visible Fat
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 bottle of good Dry Red Wine
1 pound Pearl Onions
1 pound Mushrooms, sliced
1 packet Dehydrated Onion Soup Mix
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
4 Bay Leaves
2 teaspoons Marjoram
2 teaspoons Thyme
Cornstarch as needed
Water as needed
Put the Oil in a Dutch Oven and heat over a medium flame. When the Oil is hot, add the brisket.
Brown thoroughly on both sides. This takes 20-30 minutes.
Do not raise the heat in order to speed the process, or the Meat will toughen.
When the Meat is browned, remove the pan from the heat.
Sprinkle the Onion Soup Mix, Marjoram, and Thyme evenly over the top. Then add the Pearl Onions and Mushrooms.
Tuck the Bay Leaves in at the corners.
Add the Worcestershire Sauce and Wine. Please remember that your food is only as good as the Wine you use.
Place in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is enough liquid.
If it starts to be dry, add some Water. This may also be kept in the oven overnight at 250 degrees, if you add 2 cups of Water. Be sure the pot is as airtight as you can make it.
Remove from the oven and, if possible, chill in the refrigerator until the Fat congeals on top and can be removed in a cake.
Slice the Meat while it is cold, for a neat presentation.
Arrange the Onions and Mushrooms around it on the platter.
Reheat in the microwave.
To thicken the Gravy, first measure the pan Liquids. For each cup of Liquid, measure 1 tablespoon of Cornstarch. Whisk this smooth with a small amount of Water, then add to the liquids in a saucepan. Cook and stir over a medium heat, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
Don't try to thicken your Gravy with Flour, because it will ruin the lovely brown color.
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah
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