A Juicy, Tender Brisket

Brisket by Scottgaspar

Brisket photo by Scott Gaspar.

— by Elana Horwich

Brisket is incredibly easy to make and pretty hard to mess up: You can add a little too much of this, or a bit too little of that, but as long as you have a few basics, all of the flavors will meld perfectly with time in the oven to bring you a delicious, juicy brisket.

The problem with many briskets, however, is that they are either too sweet, too dry and/or too fatty. Furthermore, they can be both too dry and too fatty.

The brisket cut of meat is historically poor man’s food; it cost less than tender cuts of meat like filet mignon, but if cooked long enough will be just as tender.

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Megina: Passover Meat Casserole

— by Marcia Israel Weingarten

One of the staples of our seder meal is a Megina, sometmes refered to as “mina“, or a “meat quajado“. My mom’s is made with crumbled matzah mixed in giving it a quajado-like texture once cooked, and able to be cut into and served in squares. This mina version is often made with layers of soaked and softened matzahs and constructed more like a meat lasagna. I am sharing the recipe as my mom makes it for our family and as she has taught it in community cooking classes. This is one of those dishes you can customize to your liking, adding different spices for a differnt flair (think cumin or ras el hanout or even cilantro instead of parsley, to name a few). This version is made with ground beef, although ground turkey could be a substitute.

Full recipe after the jump.
Kaye Israel’s Passover “Megina” (meat casserole)

  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 lbs ground meat
  • 2 tblsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup farfel (soaked in warm water, and squeezed dry) or 4 sheets matzah (soaked in warm water, squeezed dry and crumbled)
  • touch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Brown the meat with the onions in oil; transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, parsley and farfel (or matzah). Add 2 beaten eggs at a time until 8 eggs are mixed in.
  3. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan (preferably pyrex type) and heat in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pan. Spread the remaining two beaten eggs to top of mix.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.

As with all things Passover… enjoy the opportunity to be with family and friends. Document your family recipes and traditions, cook together, enjoy the time. With each dish we serve and each traditional song we sing, we recall lovingly those family members who are no longer with us, whose recipes and memories are present at our table, and whose names we mention at various time throughout the evening (and throughout our many family gatherings).

Marcia Israel Weingarten is the creator of Bendichas Manos. “Bendichos Manos” which means “Blessed Hands,” is an exploration of the Sephardic recipes handed down in Marcia’s family.

Sinaia: Meat and Tahini Casserole

palestinian meat sinaiaFor the second week, I am getting through without smoking.

Memories from the last time I tried this made me believe that the task will be more difficult this time. On the one hand it’s encouraging, but then I think to myself that it really is not that complicated. What is the urgency in quitting? Why not smoke again?

Luckily I can transfer these lecherous thoughts to the kitchen.  Today I am thinking about a traditional Middle Eastern dish of seasoned ground meat baked with tahini sauce. Before we begin I should make one thing clear: Sinaia is entirely about the quality of the meat and the grinding. There is no choice but to grind it at home. I asked my wife if she would be able to stop by the best butcher we know to buy some meat.
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