Orange-Apricot Passover Brisket
Updated: Apr 8
Made with freshly squeezed orange juice, dried apricots, and tons of onions!
My son and I updated our family's Holiday Brisket recipe a few years ago, and it is so good that it even won first prize at our temple's annual brisket throwdown! But it contains ingredients unkosher for Passover, so I knew I had to develop something that would satisfy with the same sweet and sour flavors. I love a good carrot and prune brisket, and I adore a tzimmes made with flanken. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and since I had no prunes on hand but tons of dried apricots and Cara Cara oranges, this spectacular new classic was born. Prunes would be a welcome addition, incidentally. The truly important part of the recipe is the mastering the braising technique of browning the brisket first, then building the sauce.
Essential equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; peeler; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; reamer; Dutch oven or rondeau; tongs; large wooden or metal spoon
1, 7-8 lb. brisket (not too lean) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 large (or 6 small) onions, thinly sliced lengthwise 2 garlic cloves, minced 2½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice 2 cups (or 1, 14-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
1-2 cups chicken or beef stock 6 carrots, peeled and cut into sixths 1 cup dried apricots 1-2, 3-inch cinnamon stick(s)
2 oranges, thinly sliced crosswise
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
It's About Technique, Not Torture!
“The fattier the cut of brisket, the better the dish. You want the fat to help flavor the braise and keep the meat moist while it cooks. Once the brisket is cooked and has chilled, it will be easy to remove the excess fat from the braising liquid/sauce.”
1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Pat the brisket dry and season all sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven or large rondeau over medium-high heat and add the brisket. Cook 5 minutes per side, until browned and the fat renders.
2. Remove the brisket from the pan and set aside. Combine the orange juice, crushed tomatoes, and 1 cup stock in a large bowl and set aside. Cook the onions and garlic in the Dutch oven using the fat rendered from the brisket until softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Once the onions are softened, return the brisket to the pan on top of the onions. Pour the orange juice-tomato mixture not op of the brisket and all around. If the brisket is not at least halfway submerged in the sauce, add another cup of stock. Place the carrots, apricots, cinnamon stick, and cloves around the brisket. Place the orange slices, shingled, on top of the brisket. Return the liquid to a simmer and cover the pot. Place the pot in the oven for 2½ hours.
4. Remove the brisket from the pot and let stand to cool. Discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. To make the gravy, remove the carrots and apricots and set aside. Reduce the sauce, over a medium simmer on the stovetop, by up to half, or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Taste the sauce; add the brown sugar, lemon juice, and additional salt and pepper should the sauce need more punch. Cool to room temperature then chill overnight in the refrigerator along with the brisket.
5. The next day, skim the fat from the sauce and discard the fat. Slice the brisket on the bias, against the grain, and arrange in a casserole. Place the carrots and apricots around the meat and spoon the gravy over the top. Warm covered in a preheated 350°F oven for approximately half an hour.