Beef Brisket with Apricots and Prunes

Beef Brisket with Apricots and Prunes
Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn
  • Yield: 10 servings
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 200 mins

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


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

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 460
  • Fat 19g
  • Cholesterol 125mg
  • Sodium 320mg
  • Carbohydrate 23g
  • Fiber 4g
  • Protein 44g