Brisket is the Zelig of the food world," says Joan Nathan, the Jewish-American cooking authority and author. "It takes on the flavor of whatever goes with it."
A "mountain" of onions and a bit of tomato flavor the brisket made by Joyce Goldstein, the San Francisco-based chef and author of Tapas: Sensational Small Plates From Spain. But she notes some cooks are gussying the beef up with dried onion soup mix, chili sauce, honey, cranberry sauce, even Coca-Cola.
"So much stuff," she exclaimed. "And, so many liquids! Brisket can be so juicy, maybe they're cooking with horrible, dry meat."
Prep: 5 minutes. Cook: 1 hour, 25 minutes. Makes: 6 servings.
2 tablespoons each: packed dark brown sugar; dry mustard powder
1 tablespoon each: garlic powder, ground cumin, dried coriander, salt
1 teaspoon ancho or chipotle chili powder
1 beef brisket
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup beef broth
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together brown sugar, mustard, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, salt and chili powder in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over the meat.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the brisket; cook to brown each side. Add broth to pan; cover. Cook to desired tenderness, 1 hour, 20 minutes to 2 hours. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices.
Nutrition information: 326 calories, 40 percent of calories from fat,
14 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams carbohydrates, 41 grams protein, 1,361 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Note: Mustard is among items not eaten by Ashkenazic Jews during Passover, according to the New York City-based Orthodox Union.
Saffron could also prove a controversial addition because it may or may not be acceptable depending on custom, noted Rabbi Eli Eleff, rabbinic coordinator for the New York City-based Orthodox Union's kashruth division.
Cumin, dried coriander and ancho chili powder found in the Mexican brisket: The Union says these may require special checking to determine if they are kosher.