Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is almost here. Intense spirituality and contemplation are part of the holiday season between Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, 10 days later. I’ll get there. But for now, I’m mostly focused on food. From Jewish Style Sweet and Sour Brisket to kugel and apple cake, I plan, shop, and cook like there is no tomorrow.
Whole Foods Market sponsored this post by providing ingredients and compensation. As always, all opinions are my own. For a coupon for a free Whole Foods challah during the 2016 High Holy Days from Whole Foods stores in DC, MD, VA, PA, KY, OH, and Cherry Hill, Marlton & Princeton NJ, see the note at the end of this post.
At the end of Rosh Hashanah our family hosts a pot luck for nine families from our Temple. The group of families, called a kallah, began when our kids were in elementary school. Over time, we have developed friendships, shared joyous celebrations and comforted each other during sadder times. The Rosh Hashanah pot luck began almost at the inception of the kallah and it’s been going ever since.
I look forward to the pot luck the way some people look forward to the opening of a sports season. Some families bring three generations to the event. It is an informal evening with hugs, plenty of catching up, and of course, lots of food.
At the pot luck we follow several food traditions common to Ashkenazic Jews on Rosh Hashanah. We dip apples into honey to symbolize our wish for a sweet new year. There are loaves of challah, too. The traditional Jewish braided egg bread is a staple of every Jewish holiday except Passover, when we do not eat leavened bread.
And there is always brisket. Often one family brings a big, old fashioned, Jewish style brisket – similar to the type I had growing up. I love it.
But lately I’ve been experimenting with my slow cooker; it’s perfect for making Jewish Style Sweet and Sour Brisket. This version has more tomatoes than my traditional brisket, a touch of sweetness from honey, and the barest hint of acidity from apple cider vinegar.
Serve it with carrots and potatoes, egg noodles, or kugel (sweet/Lokshen or savory) for a delightful meal.
This Slow Cooker Jewish Style Sweet and Sour Brisket is not adapted from a single recipe. However it was inspired by bits and pieces of a number of other recipes, principally versions from Chabad, The Kitchn, Ellie Krieger, and Dave Leiberman.
Although there are a few steps before this Sweet and Sour Brisket gets into the slow cooker, you’ll find they are worthwhile. Searing the meat and caramelizing the onions make a huge difference in the end result. Besides, while the brisket is in the slow cooker, you can attend to the rest of your holiday preparations. And it’s a perfect make-ahead dinner that only gets better the second and third day. Hint – slice off a bit of the meat and put it away for sandwiches. A brisket sandwich on lightly toasted challah is absolutely heavenly!
From 9/28-10/12/16, while supplies last, Whole Foods stores in DC, MD, VA, PA, KY, OH, and Cherry Hill, Marlton & Princeton NJ are offering my readers a free challah (a $4.99 value.) To access the coupon, click here.
Jewish Style Sweet and Sour Brisket
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided equal to 4 tablespoons
- 3 1/2-4 pounds brisket
- kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound onions, thinly sliced 2-3 medium/large onions
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, divided equal to 4 tablespoons
- 1-2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1-2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 3 cups diced tomatoes 24-28 ounces
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup honey
In a large, heavy pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil under medium high heat. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels on both sides. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Place the brisket in the pan and sear it on each side 3-4 minutes, until well browned. If there is slanted or raised portion on any part of the brisket that is not seared when both sides are done, press that part of the meat onto the pan long enough to sear it as well. Once the brisket is fully seared, remove it to the slow cooker, fat side up.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Slow cook the onions for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. They should look caramelized when done, although not as richly so as longer cooked caramelized onions. Remove the onions to the slow cooker, on top of the brisket. Add half (2 tablespoons) of the apple cider vinegar to the pan and scrape up any remaining bits of onion. Pour whatever remains over the brisket and onions and return the pan to the stove.
Add the final tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat it. Add the carrot and celery chunks, cooking them on medium-high heat for a few minutes until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds. Pour the vegetables into the slow cooker over the brisket and onions.
Mix the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and 2 remaining tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker over the brisket and vegetables. Turn the slow cooker onto low and cook for about 6 hours. Let the meat stand at least 30 minutes before serving (cutting it), although it is preferable to put the brisket and sauce into the refrigerator overnight and slice the meat the next day.
To slice the brisket, cut against the grain, using a large, sharp knife.
To reheat the brisket, separate the sliced meat from the sauce. Reheat the sauce on the stove, then add the sliced meat to warm it in the already hot sauce. (If you heat the cold sauce and cold meat together, the meat has a tendency to disintegrate into the sauce.)