If you’ve ever seen a baleboste serve a meal, you know when you pass your plate down, you’re getting “a bissel” (Yiddish for “a little taste”) of everything, whether you want it or not. When we were growing up, we often noticed that, due to lack of space on the dinner plate, the crispy kugel would always share real estate with a hefty portion of braised brisket. So we thought, maybe put a bissel of dis inside a bissel of dat? Have a nosh of it? We tasted, and oy vey iz mir! So good we nearly plotzed.
Photo by Cydney Puro
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb (1 kg) beef brisket, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) 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 (16 fl oz/500 ml) chicken stock
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) vegetable oil Kosher salt
3 lb (1.5 kg) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
1 yellow onion, minced 7 large eggs, beaten 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
To make the brisket, 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 sauté until the onion is softened and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, brown sugar, and tomato paste and sauté 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 barely covered with liquid when it is ready. If there is too much liquid at the end, transfer the liquid to a small saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced. Set the brisket aside.
Pour the vegetable oil into a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water.
Working in batches, pulse the potatoes in a food processor, leaving them slightly chunky, with pieces no larger than 1⁄4 inch (6 mm). (Be careful not to overprocess, or they will be gluey.) Transfer to a large bowl and add the onion, eggs, 1 tablespoon salt, and the 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 the remaining potatoes.
Bake until the potatoes are tender and the top is crispy, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Let cool slightly before serving.