Passover Brisket Recipe

Passover Brisket with Prunes & Carrots

Passover Brisket

A few years ago, I participated in a fun event at Temple Israel Synagogue of Westport, CT, where I was one of the judges for a brisket throwdown competition. Although we used the term “competition” to announce the event, it was really a celebration of brisket recipes, of cooking and community coming together. Brisket is one of those dishes, where each family has its own traditional recipe. Until then, my association with brisket always brought memories of meat smothered in ketchup with too much sugar and too little salt. As I sampled one brisket after another, I realized that this association was frozen in my mind through some kind of one-time bad experience and the world of brisket is worth looking forward to. Brisket should be cooked like any tough, beefy cut: seasoned with salt and pepper, seared until deeply browned, strewn with aromatics and braised until fall-apart tender.

This recipe for Brisket with Prunes and Carrots, inspired by the amazing chef Lauren Braun Costello (author of The Competent Cook and Notes on Cooking) was just incredible. I made some mild changes to her original recipe, but the result is amazing! You want to brown the meat on top of the stove and then cook it in the oven low and slow. Blend the sauce to a rich spoonable liquid. And yeah, of course there will be some hit (in this case chipotle powder) because every hunk of meat deserves some heat!

As we brave this Passover all on our own during times of social distancing, I ‘d like to wish everyone who’s reading and/or cooking this and any recipe in this site, the most wonderful Passover!

May we heal and thrive together!



Passover Brisket with Prunes & Carrots

Inspired by chef Lauren Braun Costello

Serves 10-12 people


For the Spice Rub:

4 cubes beef bullion

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon parsley flakes

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the Brisket:

One 7-8 lb brisket (not too lean)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 large onions, chopped

2 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder

One 12 oz bottle beer

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

8 carrots, peeled and cut into sixths

1 cup pitted prunes

One 3-inch cinnamon stick


Pre-heat the oven to 325˚F.

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients for the dry rub together. Pat the brisket dry and season all sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the brisket. Cook 5 minutes per side until nicely browned and the fat renders. Remove the brisket from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic in the Dutch oven using the fat rendered from the brisket and cook until it just starts to turn golden. Be careful as the pan is already hot, so it will cook fast. Add the onions and chipotle powder and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the spice rub evenly to both sides of the already seared brisket. Return the brisket to the pan on top of the onion mixture. Pour the beer and Worcestershire. Place the carrots, prunes and cinnamon stick around the brisket and cover the pot. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 3 hours, checking once in a while to make sure the liquid level is good. If it seems a little dry, add ½ to 1 cup water.

Remove the pot from the oven and let the brisket rest inside the pan for at least 30 minutes before opening. Remove the brisket from the pot and transfer to a cutting board. Slice the brisket on the bias, against the grain and arrange on a platter.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the carrots and prunes and distribute nicely along the meat. Cover with foil to keep moist.

Remove the cinnamon and any other large pieces of cooked meat or cooked vegetables. Using a ladle, transfer the remaining cooking liquid and puree in a blender. Pour the blended sauce on top of the meat/carrot prune making sure it’s covering all of the meat.



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Matzoh Buttercrunch Toffee

Matzo Buttercrunch

Matzoh Buttercrunch Toffee

I write this recipe for Matzo Buttercrunch with a tight heart. As the world is navigating uncertain times with this pandemic, I wanted to come here to my blog and offer help and hope. If there is one thing that hasn’t changed in my life, is the way I feel about cooking, baking, spending time in the kitchen nourishing those we love. Back then, when life was normal, cooking has always been my anchor. OK, it can also be a source of stress sometimes, when I have a big job. But it’s always a good stress, if you know what I mean. Now that the world has turned upside down, cooking is more therapy than ever.

During Passover, we celebrate the exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt. We do that with many habits and traditions, like abstaining from eating leavened foods for seven days. Instead of bread, we eat Matzoh. You can find it in just about any supermarket. I’m sharing a classic recipe for Matzo Buttercrunch that I discovered through Arthur Schwartz, adapted from his cookbook Jewish Home Cooking. Even if you’re not Jewish, you’re bound to love this recipe! In fact, I have given these treats to friends from all walks of life and they loved it! Everyone does! If you like toffee covered in caramel, you will like this recipe as well. You can top it with almonds, pecans or just about any nuts of your preference. The photos are quite helpful understanding the process. But if you have any questions at all, reach out to me. I’m always here!


Matzo Buttercrunch

Adapted from Arthur Schwartz Jewish Home Cooking

Makes one 12 by 15 inch sheet, or about 50 pieces of buttercrunch



4 to 6 matzo boards

1 cup unsalted butter (or parve margarine)

1 cup light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate Callebeaut, chopped

1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted and roughly chopped


  • Pre-heat the 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with silicone mat. Spread the pan with the whole matzo boards, cutting extra pieces to fit any uncovered spaces. You want to leave the matzos as whole as possible, but you don’t want to leave any extra space on the sheet pan without matzah. Also, don’t overlap any pieces of matzo.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and sugar and cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. At first, the mixture will separate, but as you mix constantly, it will come together in a beautiful caramel. Continue boiling and whisking for an extra 3 minutes. Add the cinnamon and whisk well.
  • Immediately pour over the matzos and using an off-set spatula, spread the caramel all over. Do not worry about covering both sides of the matzoh boards; spread only on the side facing up.

Matzoh Buttercrunch Toffee

  • Place the sheet pan with matzoh caramel in the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate all over the sheet pan.

Let it stand for 5 minutes, then use an off-set spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly and thinly over the matzos.

Matzoh Buttercrunch Toffee

  • Sprinkle with toasted almonds and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Matzoh Buttercrunch Toffee

  • While the matzo is sill “wet”, cut the candy into squares, or simply, just break it into pieces with your hands. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Bring it bag to room temperature and let it rest and set. At this point, you can keep the matzo buttercrunch in a covered container for up to 1 week, or in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.


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See you next time!



Moroccan Couscous with Winter Squash

Moroccan Couscous with Winter Squash

To celebrate my father’s 70th birthday, I am cooking tons of Moroccan food this month. He is from Morocco, and  immigrated to Brazil when he was a young teenager. I turned to the amazing book Modern Jewish Cooking and found this amazing recipe. Right up our alley!


Moroccan Couscous with Winter Squash

Recipe inspired by Leah Koenig’s Modern Jewish Cookbook


Serves 6 to 8


¼ cup olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced

4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

One 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 cups (¾ lb) cubed butternut squash

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

¼ cup golden raisins

2 ½ cups vegetable (or chicken) broth

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 ½ cups water

2 cups Morrocan style couscous

¼ cup freshly chopped parsley


  • Prepare the Sofritto: In a medium saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until it just starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until it’s nice and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened, about 5 more minutes. add the cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander and paprika and cook, stirring often until fragrant.
  • Add the chickpeas, squash, carrots, raisins, broth and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and some twists of pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat, cover, and cook gently until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering until the mixture thickens slightly, another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Cook the Couscous: Meanwhile bring the water to a boil in a separate saucepan over high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat, add a pinch of kosher salt and the couscous. Cover the pan, set at the back of the stove (off the heat) and let it stand until the couscous absorbs all the liquid, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Uncover the couscous and fluff with a fork. Carefully spoon the couscous onto a large serving platter. Make a well in the center and ladle the vegetable mixture right in the center. Or, you can serve individual portions, but be sure to spoon the liquid of the vegetables as well. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.


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