Beef Brisket with Apricots and Prunes

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 10 servings
  • Prep 10 mins
  • Cook 200 mins

A richly flavored brisket is often the centerpiece of the Hanukkah table.

Beef Brisket with Apricots and Prunes
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn

In keeping with the symbolism of oil, Hanukkah cooks serve rich and lavish dishes, such as brisket, for the holiday.


1 tablespoon chopped garlic, plus 6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots, plus 1/3 cup quartered
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
4 to 5 pounds brisket (first- or second-cut beef), trimmed of excess fat, wiped with damp paper towel and patted dry
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chopped onion
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup dry red wine
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
2/3 cup pitted prune
Chopped cilantro, optional


  1. Combine chopped garlic, chopped apricots, 1 teaspoon cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper in a blender and process until coarsely puréed. Make slits all over the brisket with the point of a sharp knife. Using your fingers, rub the purée into the slits. Place brisket and remaining purée in a zip-top plastic bag and  refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 275F.
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Add brisket and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove to a platter.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon oil from pan. Add onion and sauté 10 minutes.  Add whole garlic cloves, carrots, ginger, coriander, cayenne and 2 teaspoons cumin. Sauté 3 minutes. Add wine, scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook until liquid is reduced to a glaze. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
  5. Return brisket to pan. Cover and bake 3 to 4 hours, until fork tender, basting with pan juices every half hour. About 30 minutes before the meat is done, stir in quartered apricots and prunes. Sprinkle with cilantro, if using, and serve.

Note: Author Jayne Cohen recommends cooling the brisket in the pan sauce, covering with foil and chilling overnight. The next day, scrape off and discard the solid fat and slice brisket thinly across grain. Bring gravy to a boil and cook down to desired consistency. Heat sliced brisket in the gravy until heated through. She likes to serve the brisket with a gremolata of grated ginger, minced garlic, fresh mint and a pinch of cinnamon.

Recipe adapted with permission from Jayne Cohen’s Jewish Holiday Cooking (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2008).



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