Spanish-Style Braised Brisket

By Bruce Aidells
Brisket is the go-to main course for many Jewish holiday celebrations like Passover and Chanukah. This recipe adds a Spanish/Sephardic influence by using Spanish paprika, sherry and olives to flavor the meat and is sure to please at your next holiday celebration.


    • 6 pound first-cut brisket
    • Bay leaves
    • chicken stock (use low sodium stock)
    • chopped garlic
    • Fresh Thyme Leaves
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • kosher salt
    • Muir Glen diced tomatoes
    • olive oil
    • Onions
    • pitted Spanish green olives
    • saffron threads
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • sherry vinegar or more to taste
    • Spanish dry sherry
    • Spanish paprika (Pimenton Vera)


    1. Combine 1 tablespoon of the paprika, pepper and salt and sprinkle generously over all sides of the meat. For best seasoned flavor wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or proceed with the recipe.
    2. Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
    3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the brisket on all sides, 7-10 minutes. Remove the meat and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion mixture is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the sherry, stock, tomatoes, bay, saffron, thyme and vinegar. Bring to a boil, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add back the brisket and spoon some of the onions and tomatoes over the top.
    4. over the pot tightly with aluminum foil and put on the lid to form a tight seal. Bake the brisket for 1 1/2 hours. Carefully peel back the foil, turn the brisket over and add the olives. Recover and cook 1 1/2 hours more. Carefully peel back the foil and check the brisket. It is done when fork tender (you can also cut off a small slice and taste it). It may take 3-4 hours total.
    5. Remove the meat to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add the olives to the sauce in the pan and cook 10 minutes more. If sauce is too watery, bring to a boil and cook 3-5 minutes or more to concentrate the favors. Degrease the sauce and season to taste for salt, pepper and vinegar.
    6. To serve, cut the meat into 3/8-inch thick slices napped with the sauce, or, refrigerate it, tightly wrapped, to serve the next day. Refrigerate the sauce separately. Before serving, remove any congealed fat then slice the meat while cold and reheat the meat gently in the sauce or top of the stove or in the microwave.