Leslie’s Holiday Brisket

brisket w honey

When I told my friend Jon that I was starting my blog, his first words out of his mouth were, “Are you going to post your brisket recipe”

I did try to explain that the blog was mostly healthy recipes and he did his best to explain the healthy side of brisket – which well, I didn’t quite buy.  However, since I do promise that this blog will have some splurges included, since that is part of the Hellbent Living way – 85% healthy 15% naughty I decided to include it as there is no better time to be naughty than the holidays.

Jon has been a guest at my table for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Passover (Seder) for more than a dozen years and I’ve been making brisket for the celebration for most of those years.  Unlike most Jews, I didn’t have a brisket recipe that was handed down from generation to generation.  In fact my mother never made it.  My recollection of brisket from when I was a child, was my mother’s father’s version…which my mother never made because my father never liked brisket – neither my mother’s father’s version or his mother’s version.

brisket plate

When I started to make my own holidays, I tried various brisket recipes but non really stuck. Then, my sister found a recipe for brisket that calls for Marsala wine and Lipton Onion Soup…and it was really good so I made that for a couple of years and then as my holiday guests (most of whom have been celebrating with me or 12-17 years) put the order in for brisket for Passover.  Now I’m not kosher, but I do observe many of the diet restrictions fo Passover, due to coming form a more observant mother.  So I had to some doctoring to do to make this dish comply with the kosher dietary rules of Passover – lack of Lipton onion soup which is made with corn syrup and corn starch, and corn being one of the ingredients I stay away from during Passover.  What resulted has become my holiday brisket — the dish that my guests holiday after holiday, year after year, have cone to love, expect and request.

Marsala wine continues to be a key ingredient in my brisket.  And what I ended up doing was replacing the onion soup mix with a mixture of kosher salt, onion powder and potato starch.  I end up using more onion powder and salt than the original recipe and it works out really well.  The potato starch actually helps thicken sauce more so it coats the brisket and the higher levels of salt and onion powder flavors the meat.  I also heavy up on the ketchup more so than what the original recipe called for because the acid in the ketchup helps break down the protein (beef) and the higher quantity really helps soften the beef more. Lastly, I added a higher wine to water ratio.  This brisket has been a favorite for years and keeps my guests waiting for the next holiday to come back for more.  I hope it does the same for you.

brisket uncooked in pan cropped

Leslie’s Holiday Brisket


4-lb brisket, though I make the same amount of sauce for 8-10 lbs of brisket

4 onions, sliced

2 tablespoons oil

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces

3 tablespoons onion powder

3 tablespoons Kosher salt

3 tablespoons potato starch

6 tablespoons of ketchup

6 cloves of garlic

3 cups of Marsala wine

3 cups hot water

Kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.  Trim fat off Brisket. Oil both sides of brisket, add salt and pepper to taste and sear brisket on both sides.  Add onions, carrots, garlic and add to roasting pan.  In a separate bowl add onion powder, salt and potato starch and mix through to blend then add to roasting pan.  Add 2 cups of Marsala wine and ketchup to roasting pan and mix to incorporate ketchup and potato starch mixture.  Add brisket to pan and 2 cups of hot tap water plus the remaining cup of Marsala. Cover brisket with onions and carrot.  Cover and bake for 3 hours, turning every hour.

brisket in pan cropped

5 thoughts on “Leslie’s Holiday Brisket

  1. stacyo

    Looks yummy! Even this vegetarian can admire the pics! But watch that ketchup inclusion. Most are made with corn syrup…

  2. Natalia Taylor

    I just cannot praise this recipe enough! It was the first brisket I ever made, and probably the only recipe I will ever use. My family and I enjoyed it so much, that I decided that I’m going to make it for my husbands family on Christmas eve as well. I am determined to try all your recipes now:) Thanks for the blog!

  3. Candy

    Thanks to Leslie for posting this recipe and to Tal Taylor for making it! I couldn’t believe it was her first time – it tasted just like Leslie’s.


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