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I love nothing more than to sit around a table with tons of food, surrounded by good friends and loved ones, telling stories. And that's why my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Passover; but really Passover takes the (forbidden for that week) cake.
Not just once, but for two nights, we Jews are commanded to have a feast where anyone is welcome - we even leave an empty seat in case a stranger shows up in need - and where we must drink four glasses of wine, have a literal "festive meal," and tell the story of how our ancestors escaped slavery in Egypt.
My mom, Susan, you know her, and if you don't, take some time to do so, made the best brisket every year on Passover. And I know, everyone's mother makes the best brisket, but just go with me here, hers is really really good. So when I found myself in California during my first year of grad school, with no where to go, and having invited ten of my closest friends for my very first seder, I knew I wanted to make my moms brisket. And I did. And it was wonderful. This year, when me and my fiance will be unexpectedly on our own for Passover, isolated in our midtown Manhattan one-bedroom, I'm going to make that brisket and I know it will bring us closer to home.
The recipe is below, but I'd also love to know what dishes make you feel at home. Share in the comments the kinds of recipes that make you feel like you're surrounded by friends and family even if they can't be there during these crazy times.
3-5 pound brisket (try to avoid the first cut, and get a slab with the deckel)
~3 tbsp paprika
4 yellow onions
2 cloves crushed garlic
Preheat your oven to 350oF. Start by peeling the onions and cutting into 1/2-1 inch slices. Layer half of the slices in the bottom of a roasting pan (whatever size will fit your brisket). Season the brisket with salt and pepper, and then liberally shake the paprika all over. Use however much it takes to cover it evenly. Then place the brisket on top of the onions (they serve as a little roasting rack, but with delicious results), and cover it with garlic and remaining onions. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 2-3 hours or more depending on the size your brisket. It will be done when you can easily stick a fork in it and pull it out. Slice and serve with those melty orange onions and the jus that forms.