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Michael Solomonov's Mom's Brisket

Michael Solomonov's Mom's Brisket

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Servings: 8

Perfect for Hanukkah, this recipe comes to us from Michael Solomonov, chef and co-owner of Zahav in Philadelphia. It’s his take on his mother’s brisket, and it was her take on the dish her mother made. His grandmother prepared her brisket with carrots, potatoes and Heinz chili sauce, which gave it a traditional sweet-and-sour flavour. His mother added the coffee—she doesn’t remember why, but Solomonov says it’s pretty brilliant because the deep, roasted flavours work really well with beef. The chef includes some cardamom as well, to evoke Turkish coffee, and replaces the sweetness of that chili sauce with the deeper flavour of dried apricots. The braised eggs take on an almost creamy texture from the long cooking time, and as the coffee braising liquid penetrates the shells, it colours the eggs and subtly flavours them.


  • 2 Tbs. finely ground coffee
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. ground black cardamom
  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 first-cut brisket, about 4 lb. (2 kg)
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) canola oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) dried apricots
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) brewed coffee
  • 8 eggs in their shells
  • Grated fresh horseradish for serving


  • In a small bowl, stir together the ground coffee, cardamom, black cardamom and salt and rub into the brisket. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat an oven to 475°F (245°C).
  • Set a rack inside a roasting pan. Put the brisket on the rack and roast until the exterior has browned, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (150°C).
  • Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, carrots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reduces slightly, about 2 minutes more.
  • Remove the brisket and rack from the roasting pan, then transfer the vegetables to the pan. Place the brisket directly on the vegetables and add the dried apricots, brewed coffee and eggs in their shells. Add enough water to bring the liquid halfway up the sides of the brisket.
  • Cover the pan tightly with two layers of aluminum foil, return to the oven and braise for 1 hour. Remove the eggs, gently tap them all over to make a network of small cracks and return them to the pan. Continue braising until the brisket shreds easily with a fork, about 3 hours more. Let the brisket cool in its braising liquid, then refrigerate overnight.
  • To serve, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Slice the cold brisket, return it to the braising liquid in the pan and bake until warmed through, about 30 minutes. Spoon the broth over the meat. Serve with the peeled eggs and grated fresh horseradish. Serves 8.
  • My Mom’s Coffee-Braised Brisket from Zahav, © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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