Brisket-Braised Beans & Portobellos

March 29, 2022
2 Ratings
  • Prep time 6 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

A fat brisket swimming in tomatoey gravy was always on my Passover table growing up. Tasty as it is, there’s no way around the beef’s sizable price tag, often upwards of $10 per pound. When developing a budget-conscious Passover menu, I knew I wanted the rich flavors and centerpiece look of a classic brisket, without breaking the bank along the way. Here, a pound of beans ($2) easily serves a crowd. Like a classic brisket, the beans are slowly braised in the oven with a smoky-sweet mixture of onion, tomato paste, and paprika, then finished with vinegar and a garlicky parsley mix ($2.10). Then thick slabs of seared portobello mushrooms ($7) channel even more meaty vibes.

Depending on the variety and age of your beans, as well as their soaking time, the beans may cook through before the braising liquid reduces. If this happens, at Step 5, strain the liquid into a small saucepan and simmer over medium until you have just about 1 cup of gravy, then stir into the beans. The beans can be made up to 24 hours in advance of serving (after 2 hours at room temperature, transfer to an airtight container and chill) and reheated, covered, in a 350ºF oven until warmed through. Sear the mushrooms just before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

(If you don’t eat kitniyot during Passover, skip this recipe and check out the main article for a alternative that meets the budget requirements.) —Rebecca Firkser

Test Kitchen Notes

$25 Passover Menu
Brisket-Braised Beans & Portobellos
Cozy Potato-Carrot Kugel
Tangy Romaine With Cucumber & Horseradish
Permission to Not Make Dessert

Nickel & Dine is a budget column by Rebecca Firkser, assigning editor at Food52. Rebecca usually shares an easy, flavor-packed recipe that feeds four for $10 or less—this is a special edition: a $25 Passover for six or eight. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound dry white beans, such as cannellini or navy, or chickpeas
  • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for sautéing
  • 2 medium yellow or red onions, quartered through the root end and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet or hot smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (about 4) portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped out, sliced 1/2-inch-thick
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and all stems
  1. Pick through the beans for any debris, then rinse well in a colander or strainer. Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water by 2 inches. Cover, transfer to the refrigerator, and soak the beans for 6 to 12 hours. When you’re ready to cook, drain the water and rinse the beans.
  2. Heat the oven to 325°F. Remove 2 cloves of garlic from the head (if it breaks, that’s OK) and set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or another oven-safe pot) over medium. Add the onions and halved head of garlic, cut-sides down, and let char, flipping the onions a couple of times, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste and, if the pot seems dry, another 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook until it turns brick-red, about 90 seconds, then add the paprika and Worcestershire or soy sauce, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the drained beans to the pot along with enough water to just cover the beans inch (the exact amount of water will differ based on pot size; in a 10-inch-wide, 5 ½-quart Dutch oven, it’s about 3 cups water), 2 teaspoons of salt, and lots of black pepper. Stir well, then increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cut the heat, place a lid on the pot, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 45 minutes, then taste a bean for tenderness. (You may need to add a bit more water to ensure the beans are just covered.) Cover the pot and keep cooking until the beans are tender all the way through, another 35 to 65 minutes—this varies by bean, so check in every 20 minutes.
  5. When the beans are tender, the gravy should be thick and stewy, not soupy (if it’s soupy, see the Author Notes for tips) . Remove from the oven and stir in the vinegar. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until starting to take on color, about 4 minutes. Toss and cook, undisturbed, for another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms, leaving any oil in the pot, to a large plate. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.
  7. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves, then finely chop the parsley and combine on the cutting board. Stir half of this mixture into the beans, taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Transfer the beans to a shallow bowl, then top with the mushrooms, the remaining garlicky parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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7 Reviews

Demi Z. April 10, 2022
Also wondering how many pounds is “q”….a typo for 1?
Gayle A. April 10, 2022
or maybe "2"? Both 1 and 2 keys are above "q" on my keyboard. "Pounds" implies a plural.
Brinda A. April 10, 2022
1 pound! Apologies for the typo.
Gayle A. April 8, 2022
ditto "q" pounds of beans???
Brinda A. April 10, 2022
1 pound! Apologies for the typo.
Karen K. April 7, 2022
How many pounds of dry beans is “q” pounds- I am guess one pound?
Brinda A. April 10, 2022
1 pound! Apologies for the typo.