Growing up, while my parents were still together, we were family friends with another Jewish family. They lived a few towns over and my mother and the mother of the other family taught together in Roxbury (Fun fact, my mother was teaching in the inner city of Boston when the forced busing happened. She can remember the helicopters flying overhead. Another fun fact, when I finally got around to reading Common Ground (I was in my late teens), I recognized so many of the names as people I had met!). Both the fathers were lawyers and the children were all girls. R. and M. remained close to my mother after my parents divorced and I played with their older daughter, A., often. (Another fun fact, a family friend of theirs, P., used to babysit me and A. when our parents would go out on the town. Fast forward 30+ years later and P. is the assistant at the daycare where I send my daughter. Small world!)
After my parents divorced, my mother and I spent many a Jewish holiday sitting around R & M’s table. R. is a wonderful cook and makes all of the traditional Jewish foods- latkes, matzo balls and brisket. She also makes a legendary pumpkin muffin and fantastic meatballs. I have such fond memories of sitting at her table, listening to the adults laugh, giggling along with A. and eating the delicious offerings. So, it’s no surprise that when I needed a brisket recipe, R was my go-to source. It’s a remarkably simple recipe with an incredibly delicious result. It’s so good, in fact, that I made a second brisket last night- there was none left over from the Seder and I had only gotten one bite!
R’s Famous Brisket
1 flat-cut brisket (The smallest I’ve used has been in the 5-7 lb range)
1-2 red peppers, thinly sliced (I use the cuisnart)
1-2 onions, thinly sliced (again, I’m lazy and use the cuisnart)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a roasting pan, place a small amount of olive oil. Layer the onion and pepper slices on it and toss to coat. Place the brisket on top of the onion and peppers. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, fill a drinking glass about 1/3 of the way with ketchup. Fill the other 2/3 with water and mix well. After twenty minutes, pour the mixture over the brisket and return it to the oven. Bake forever.
I mean it, forever. In R’s words, “there’s no way to overcook this.” Add more of the ketchup mixture to keep the liquid in the pan at a reasonable amount. I flipped mine about two hours in- it was starting to burn so I changed sides. I ended up cooking mine between 4 and 5 hours. In the last hour or so, I covered with foil to keep it from burning. When it’s done, it will sort of just shred itself as you try to pick it up. It’ll be delicious- sort of sweet and sour at the same time. So good.It may not be pretty but I guarantee, it’ll be gobbled up so fast, no one will notice that it’s not elegant.