- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 4 hours 35 minutes
- Serves 4 to 6
For many Jewish-American families, holiday entertaining and brisket are an inseparable pairing. There is simply no such thing as a celebratory occasion without a perfectly tender, slow-cooked brisket. And for good reason: It’s a forgiving cut, feeds a crowd, and most importantly, is pure comfort food, having been made for generation after generation here in the U.S. Many families braise their brisket in a sweet and savory sauce using one or a combination of quintessential American ingredients, like chili sauce, cola, grape jelly, ketchup, or onion soup mix.
In this recipe, I wanted to impart the same sweet-and-savory meat treatment using some of my own pantry staples: tomato paste instead of ketchup, and pomegranate molasses and juice for sweetness instead of chili sauce or soda. I did, however, hang onto the good ol’ packet of Lipton onion soup mix—because sometimes you shouldn’t mess with the classics. Combined with homemade stock (or store-bought, or even water) and a good splash of red wine (use whatever you have laying around your house) and this easy recipe brings big flavor for a Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration—or anytime you want to serve something special to a crowd—without endless, complicated cooking steps. I am not a brisket-hater, but actually prefer cooking a chuck roast. It's also a forgiving cut of meat, but has so much more flavor which is why it is my personal go-to; but if you adore brisket, you absolutely could trade the chuck roast for a 3 to 4 pound brisket in this recipe.
For more heft, you can add around 2 pounds of mini red potatoes to the Dutch oven halfway through the cooking time so the potatoes and meat are finished cooking at the same time.
To cook in a slow-cooker, follow Steps 1 through 5 per instructions below. Place all ingredients into the slow cooker on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.
— Shannon Sarna
1 4-pound chuck roast (boneless)
2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
3 to 4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 to 4 celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp neutral oil, such as canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil
¼ cup tomato paste
1 1-oz packet onion soup mix
2 cups chicken stock, beef stock, or water
1 cup red wine
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
Pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)
Rice pilaf, couscous, or mashed potatoes, for serving
- Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels on all sides. Season all over with salt and pepper.
- Heat the neutral oil in a large Dutch oven or large heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat.
- Sear the chuck roast on all sides until a golden-brown crust forms, around 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside, and reduce the heat to medium.
- Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat into a heatproof bowl. When cool, discard.
- Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the same Dutch oven or pot. Sauté over medium heat until softened, around 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, until combined.
- Add the stock, red wine, onion soup mix, and pomegranate molasses. Bring to a low boil, and return the chuck roast and all juices to the pot.
- Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is completely tender. Check periodically to ensure heat isn’t too high, and when the meat is easily shredded, it’s done cooking. Season with salt to taste.
- Remove the meat from the pot and place on a cutting board. Break apart the meat into pieces (I like roughly 4-ounce pieces, but you can go larger or smaller depending on your preference) and transfer to a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over the meat. Serve alongside rice pilaf, couscous or mashed potatoes.