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Brisket with Spiced Coffee and Charoset Juice

In a delicious twist on the classic brisket, Chef Michael Solomonov chops the braised meat and vegetables, then layers them between pieces of matzo in a casserole dish. To get a head start, prepare the brisket and vegetable filling a day in advance; let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, place the filling in a large sauté pan, cover and rewarm over medium heat, then assemble the casserole as directed.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. ground coffee
  • 4 Tbs. ground cardamom
  • 1 brisket, about 5 lb., fat trimmed to 1/4 inch
  • Kosher olive oil as needed
  • 2 large white onions, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into slices 1/2 inch thick
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 1 cup water
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 pieces matzo (see related recipe at left)

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the 4 Tbs. salt, the ground coffee and 3 Tbs. of the cardamom. Place the brisket on a baking sheet and rub all over with the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Preheat an oven to 450°F.

Place the brisket on a rack in a roasting pan and roast until the fat is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a slow cooker. Remove 3 Tbs. of the fat from the roasting pan, adding olive oil as needed to equal 3 Tbs.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the fat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 1 Tbs. cardamom and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and add the brewed coffee and water.

Cover and cook on low until the brisket is tender, 8 to 10 hours. Transfer the brisket to a carving board and let rest for about 15 minutes. Strain the vegetables from the cooking liquid, reserving the vegetables. Skim the excess fat off the liquid. Transfer the liquid to a large saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 25 minutes; you should have about 2 1/2 cups.

Cut the brisket into 1/2-inch pieces and roughly chop the vegetables. Stir them into the reduced liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the broiler.

In a large bowl of warm water, soak the matzo until pliable but not breaking, 3 to 4 minutes. Place a single layer of matzo on the bottom of a 2 1/2- to 3-quart wide casserole, folding and overlapping the pieces as needed to cover the bottom. Add the brisket mixture and seal the top with another layer of soaked matzo. Broil until the top is crispy and browned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Recipe by Chef Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia.