When I married my husband, who was raised Jewish, I knew that making the perfect brisket would be on my personal “to do” list.

My mother-in-law always made beautiful, delicious, meaningful High Holy Day (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover) meals for the entire family, but in recent years it became too much for her to handle.

I decided to take it on.

This week we celebrate Rosh Hashana–the Jewish New Year–and once again I’m bringing out my “Barbara’s Brisket” recipe, putting on my apron, sharpening my knives, polishing my silver, and getting down to business.

A few years ago when I  had to make my first brisket, I turned to a friend who, I was told, made the best brisket this side of Russia. The first year I made this recipe, it was an instant success, and I’ve been making it ever since.

The key is to make it the day before, and to simmer it in a pot over very low heat.

Even if you don’t celebrate Rosh Hashana, you and your family will love this brisket.  If you do celebrate it . . . Shanah T’ova!

Barbara’s Brisket


  • 6 lb. first cut brisket
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 2 cups full-body red wine
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 5 cups sliced mushrooms (combine button and shiitake)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 bags baby carrots

How to prepare:

  • coat brisket with salt, pepper and olive oil and sear on very high heat until brown on all sides. Put brisket in large pot.
  • add mushrooms, onions, carrots, chicken broth, wine, and tomato paste to pot (brisket should be covered with liquid)
  • put pot on stove and bring to a boil on medium heat
  • as soon as it comes to a boil, lower heat, cover, and let simmer for at least 6 hours, stirring occasionally
  • after letting it cool, put into refrigerator overnight.
  • the next day, skim the layer of grease from the top, and put back on stove
  • bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for a few more hours.
  • you’ll know it’s perfect when you can easily poke your meat fork in and out of the center

How to serve the brisket:

Proper slicing is essential if you don’t want the tender brisket to look stringy. Here’s how you do it: Look for the grain, the muscle line of the brisket, indicated by the lines or grain of the meat. With a VERY sharp knife, slice the brisket ACROSS (or against) the grain in fairly thin slices. If a slice appears stringy, you are slicing the wrong way.

Put the slices of brisket on a large serving platter, and surround it with the carrot/mushroom mixture from the pot.  Pour the resulting gravy over all the slices, and put the extra gravy in a gravy bowl.

Serve with different potatoes, mixed vegetables, horse radish, a great salad and a fantastic bottle of red wine . . . and enjoy! YAY!!

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