Beef Brisket with Apricots and Prunes

Beef Brisket with Apricots and Prunes
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 200 mins

In keeping with the symbolism of oil, Hanukkah cooks serve rich and lavish dishes, such as brisket, for the holiday.


1tablespoon chopped garlic, plus 6 garlic cloves
1/3cup chopped dried apricots, plus 1/3 cup quartered
3 1/2teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1/4teaspoon ground cinnamon
1teaspoon kosher salt, divided
-- Freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5pounds brisket (first- or second-cut beef), trimmed of excess fat, wiped with damp paper towel and patted dry
3tablespoons olive oil
4cups chopped onion
2medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1teaspoon ground coriander
1/8teaspoon cayenne
1cup dry red wine
3cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2/3cup pitted prune
-- Chopped cilantro, optional


  1. Combine chopped garlic, chopped apricots, 1 teaspoon cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper in a blender and process until coarsely puréed. Make a slit in the fat side of brisket with the point of a sharp knife. Insert a little purée into slit, using your fingers and the knife tip to push it in as far as possible. Repeat all over the top, bottom and sides of brisket, spacing slits evenly. Reserve any remaining purée. Place brisket in a plastic zip-top bag or wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 275F.
  3. Scrape off any purée that may have seeped out of the slits. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add brisket and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Do not over-brown or let a hard crust form. Transfer fat side up to a platter.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil from pan. Add onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until softened and gold. Add whole garlic cloves, carrots and chopped ginger; sauté 3 minutes. Add coriander, cayenne and remaining cumin. Stir 30 seconds. Add wine. Boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits, until liquid is reduced almost to a glaze. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
  5. Spread any reserved purée over brisket, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper, and add meat to pan. Cover and oven-braise 3 to 4 hours, until fork tender, basting with pan juices every half hour. About 30 minutes before the meat is done, stir in quartered apricots and prunes.
  6. Remove from oven, cool, cover well with foil and refrigerate overnight. Scrape off all solid fat and discard. Remove brisket from pan and slice thinly across the grain.
  7. Bring gravy to a boil and cook until thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  8. Return sliced brisket to pan with gravy and simmer until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Recipe adapted with permission from Jayne Cohen’s Jewish Holiday Cooking (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2008).

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 460
  • Fat 19g
  • Cholesterol 125mg
  • Sodium 320mg
  • Carbohydrate 23g
  • Fiber 4g
  • Protein 44g