To me, brisket and kugel are more like winter foods—something I’d cook for the holidays. But in San Francisco the fog’s rolling in and while most of you are thawing out from a very cold winter, we’re just getting started around here.
So, lately I’ve been making comfort foods like stews and one-pot hearty soups. Plus, it’s my kids’ last few weeks of school and something about that passage of time makes me want to cook comfort. (I think it’s me who needs the comforting from the inevitable passage of time as we close out another school year.)
I recently purchased the Sussman brothers’ new cookbook—Classic Recipes for Modern People. Max and Eli Sussman are two nice Jewish boys (and brothers) from Detroit who are taking over the New York food scene. Max is the former Chef of Roberta’s and The Cleveland and a James Beard Semifinalist and Forbes 30 under 30, 2012. Eli was the Chef of Mile End Deli, which has been featured on several “best of” lists, including Time Out, New York Magazine, GQ, and The Village Voice. He was selected as an Eater.com Young Guns Top 50 food professional in 2012 and was a Zagat 30 under 30 for NYC. Their new restaurant, Samesa, will serve up Middle Eastern food on The Lower East Side.
Max & Eli’s new cookbook reimagines classic favorites. And while not all the recipes are kosher, there’s still plenty to get excited about—like Brisket and Potato Kugel. How brilliant to marry kugel and brisket in one dish. It’s definitely a happy (and delicious) marriage.
Brisket and Potato Kugel (courtesy of Max & Eli Sussman)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb beef brisket, cut into 1-inch pieces
pinch of kosher salt
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, minced
7 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
In a wide pot, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the brisket and salt and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion and saute until the onion is softened and caramelized about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, brown sugar, and tomato paste and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the stock and red pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the meat is falling apart and tender, 2-3 hours. Add water if the pan begins to dry. The meat should be just barley covered with liquid when it is ready. Set the brisket aside.
Pour 1/2 cup vegetable oil into a 9 X 13 inch baking pan and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and cook for 3 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse under cold running water.
Working in batches, pulse the potatoes in a food processer, slightly chunky, with pieces no larger than 1/4 inch. (Be careful not to overprocess or they will be gluey.) Transfer to a large bowl and add the onion, eggs, 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper.
Remove the pan from the oven and spoon in half of the potato mixture, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan. Spread the brisket evenly on top, then cover with he remaining potatoes.
Bake until the potatoes are tender and the top is crispy, about 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly before serving.