Passover is a beautiful holiday full of tradition, family gatherings and unique food. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are centered around holiday time when my mom and I would spend many a day and night in the kitchen cooking up a storm in preparation for the “big day”. She would go all out cooking and baking enough food and dessert so our guests could take some home and so we would have plenty of leftovers.
Passover was always particularly special because we had the added challenge of creating recipes that didn’t use many of the ingredients we so often used in our daily lives. Of course at the time I wasn’t the one creating, I was learning. Now, I enjoy the excitement of recreating/reinventing my mom’s recipes and developing my own which adhere to the dietary rules prohibiting the consumption of leavened bread. Instead, we eat matzoh which symbolizes the bread that didn’t have time to rise as the Israelites fled Egypt during biblical times. Being of Ashkenazi descent, in addition to avoiding the five forbidden grains: wheat, oats, barley, rye and spelt, I also do not consume items which might be ground into flour such as beans, legumes, seeds, rice, corn and soy (not an all inclusive list).
Every family has their traditions and those special Passover foods that will always be on the Seder table, for my family they are my mother-in-law’s incredible from scratch gefilte fish, my mother’s amazing chicken soup and matzoh balls and my melt-in-your-mouth brisket.
My mother-in-law’s gefilte fish recipe has been passed down through many generations of her family. Some day I will learn how to make it, but that will have to be when I’m not hosting. Hmm, I wonder if she still goes back to the Bronx to get the fish? There’s a funny story about the fish being kept in the bath tub in years past before there was refrigeration, yikes!
Then there’s my mother’s chicken soup and matzoh balls. I learned how to make this at her side many years ago and I must admit I make a mean chicken soup and matzoh ball (though this took a wee bit longer to learn than the soup), but this is one of those situations where somehow you just can’t beat mom’s; she just has to make it, even if I am hosting, like this year.
We always have two main dishes on our table, one beef and one chicken. The chicken dish varies from year to year. This time I did a split and deboned, skin-on breast stuffed with a mixture of spinach, mushrooms and onions.
The beef dish is one of our staples: my much loved Passover Brisket. This recipe evolved from my mom’s delicious twice-cooked, low and slow version and Lora Brody’s Slow Cooker Cooking slow cooker recipe which provided me with some ideas and good guidelines for conversion to the slow cooker.
I enjoy this brisket so much I thought it would be fun to shoot a video of it’s making. Please ignore the awful slippers and sweats, had I any idea that part of me would get caught on screen, I’d have put on human clothes. Guess that’s what happens when you roll out of bed to brown meat at the crack of dawn! My husband shot the video for me as I was cooking and did all the visual and audio editing. If you listen closely you’ll hear some family chatter in the background. Hope you enjoy our first foray into video. Oh and of course the recipe, which you will find below said video.
Hey and let me know if you make it, I’d love to hear how it came out!
– I add salt and pepper as I go to the brisket and onions. Do so to your own taste.
– I use a 7 quart oval slow cooker for this recipe.
– Food Safety Rule: Do not open the slow cooker during the cooking process.
And now for the recipe:
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced ½” thick
2 Tbs Kosher for Passover Vegetable oil
6 pound flat cut brisket
2 large onions, cut into ¼” half moon slices
6 garlic cloves, minced
12oz dry red wine
½ cup beef broth (homemade if you have it)
1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves
4 large carrots cut into ½” slices
4 long celery stalks cut into ½” slices
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Line the slow cooker with the potatoes.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
3. Season the meat with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Brown on all sides. Place the meat in the slow cooker.
4. Sauté the onions until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and cook two minutes more.
6. Pour the onions and garlic over the brisket.
7. Deglaze the pan with the wine and broth, scraping the brown bits.
8. Add the stewed tomatoes and tomato paste until dissolved.
9. Pour over the onions and brisket.
10.Toss in the bay leaves and scatter the celery and carrots over the brisket.
11.Cover and cook for 8 hours on low.
A Zissen Pesach!
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