Persian Pulled Brisket and Latkes for Hanukkah

I know brisket. If there's anything that I can do without thinking, relying only on instinct, it's cooking brisket. And I have a family who loves brisket - it's a pleasure to cook for people who appreciate it, right?

It's all chemistry. Sear in a dutch oven to enhance the flavor. It's the brown bits on the bottom of the pan that you want.

Give it some room. This is 2 lbs of brisket that I seared in one go - any larger and have the butcher cut it in two pieces. If your dutch oven is crowded, it'll end up steaming rather than searing and will be grayish rather than have a golden brown crust. Grayish = not so tasty.

Of course you need some aromatics - onions and a bit of garlic and thyme.

I tweaked the recipe by adding some Persian-inspired flavors. This year has been about experimenting with Middle Eastern spices. I added some pomegranate molasses and some allspice.

And lots of kosher salt. More than you think. Ever wonder why restaurant food tastes so much better than home cooking? They use more salt and lots of butter.

And it's Hanukkah! Yay for latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jam doughnuts). Hanukkah's the season for all things oil-based. Simply put, one day of oil lasted eight days - a miracle. Hence oil-related cooking.

When I decided to use the pulled brisket with latkes I was thinking of brisket hash, one of my fave breakfasts from the Huckleberry Cafe cookbook. But why not for supper? So instead of the usual apple sauce and sour cream, I topped the latkes with pulled brisket.

Have any leftovers? Throw a poached or soft boiled egg on top the next morning for breakfast. And grab a handful of arugula as a garnish.

Chag sameach!

Persian Pulled Brisket and Latkes for Hanukkah

(serves 4-6)

(print recipe here)


2lbs brisket (you want it well marbled but have the butcher cut off any excess fat)

olive oil

salt & pepper

2 cups chopped onions (one large or two medium onions)

1 chopped clove of garlic

2 tbsp thyme leaves

750ml bottle of red wine (I like a shiraz as it’s more of a spicy flavor than a cabernet)

1 28oz can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp allspice

Preheat the oven to 300F.

Season the brisket on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a dutch oven to medium high heat and add 2-3 tbsp olive oil.  Brown the brisket on both sides. (I brown the long narrow ends to get even more yummy goodness). Remove to a plate.

With the heat still at medium, add the onions, garlic and thyme to the same pan. Saute for 4 minutes til softened, scraping up the brown bits. Add the bottle of wine and stir, for 2 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes.

Return the brisket to the dutch oven. Spoon some of the sauce over it. Some of the brisket will be sticking out but that’s okay. Cover with a lid and put in the oven. Bake for 4-5 hours.

When it’s fork tender, remove the brisket and put it on a cutting board. Put the dutch oven back on the stove over medium heat and add the pomegranate molasses, allspice and salt. Stir and season to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce til you are happy with the thickness.

Using two forks, shred the brisket on the cutting board. Return the brisket to the dutch oven and stir with the sauce. 

Serve on top of latkes (you can make your own latkes or purchase them made from your nearest deli).