August 17, 2004


My Mother's Brisket

Pineapple Noodle Kugel

More books by Joan Nathan

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      Jewish holidays are celebrated in food, and with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur just around the corner, I'd like to offer up two delicious menu items from Joan Nathan's new Jewish Holiday Cookbook. This collection is the culmination of Nathan's decades of gathering Jewish recipes from around the world. Whether you are cooking for the holidays, or want to try great foods from another culture, you can't go wrong with her tried-and-true recipes. Below you’ll find a traditional brisket recipe and a pineapple noodle kugel that will add a touch of sweetness to any meal.

      Happy Holidays!

      Ashley Gillespie


        "Food is our common ground, a universal experience." —James Beard
Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook

Schocken | Hardcover
August 2004 | 0-8052-4217-1

Order your copy online


2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 tablespoon pepper

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup chili sauce

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

One 5-pound brisket of beef, shoulder of roast beef, chuck roast, or end of steak

1 cup chopped celery leaves

2 onions, sliced

4 carrots, sliced

2 cups water

Serves 8

My Mother's Brisket

Before the middle of the nineteenth century, beef was not widely eaten. Most Jews ate chicken, goose, or, in the Middle East, lamb. Potting what beef was available was a good way to preserve it. It is no wonder, then, that every Jewish mother has her special pot roast recipe, something that can be prepared in advance of Jewish holidays. Here is my mother's, one of the most popular recipes in this book.

  1. Mix the salt, pepper, brown sugar, chili sauce, and vinegar together. Pour over the meat and let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the meat in an ovenproof casserole and pour the marinade over the meat. Cover with the celery leaves, onions, carrots, and the water.
  3. Cover and bake for about 2 hours, basting often with the marinade. Remove the cover and bake for 1 more hour. (Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound for roasting.) When done, strain the marinade and reserve.
  4. This dish is best prepared in advance so that the fat can be easily skimmed from the surface when it has cooled. When ready to serve, slice and reheat in the strained pan marinade.
Note: You can also put all the ingredients in a covered casserole and bake in a 200-degree oven overnight, for about 9 hours. This slow cooking breaks down the membranes of the meat, making a more tender roast. Sanford Herskovitz, known as Mr. Brisket in Cleveland, says that when the brisket is roasting, the point (fatter side) should be down; when reheating, the flat (leaner side) should be down. "Use a choice, whole brisket; never use a first cut because the butcher throws away the fat and it’s drier."

Vegetable oil

16 ounces broad noodles

9 eggs

6 tablespoons pareve margarine, melted and cooled to room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

One 15-ounce can pineapple rings


Pineapple Noodle Kugel

In Eastern Europe, kugel was the official Sabbath dessert after a hot cholent. Made of lokshen (noodles) or soaked white bread mixed with beaten eggs and liberally dotted with raisins, sugar, spices, and shortening, it was baked until it was firm, brown, and fragrant. The kugel could be baked simultaneously with the cholent. A covered earthenware pot holding the kugel was placed in the center of the iron cholent pot. Then the cholent potatoes or beans were arranged to fill the empty space around this centerpiece. Cooked inside the cholent pot, the kugel came out moister than if it had been baked alone. With the heavy main course and heavy dessert, it is no wonder that Sabbath afternoons were (and for many still are) literally days of rest. The following kugel—my husband’s favorite—can be prepared for dessert or as a starch with roast or broiled chicken on the Sabbath or any day.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with the oil. Boil the noodles in salted water for half the time recommended on the package. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and margarine. Beat well. Add the sugar, crushed pineapple and juice, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the noodles.
  3. Pour the kugel in the prepared dish. Place the drained pineapple rings on top, with a cherry in the middle of each ring.
  4. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until golden.

Note: You can decrease the number of eggs, but the results will be less fluffy. To make a dairy pineapple kugel, use 3 eggs, 1/2 pound pot cheese, 1 cup sour cream, and 1 cup milk.

Excerpted from JOAN NATHAN'S JEWISH HOLIDAY COOKBOOK by Joan Nathan. © 2004 by Joan Nathan. Excerpted by permission of Schocken Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher


Click on the books below to find out more about books by Joan Nathan:



  • The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen (Hardcover)
  • The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen (Trade Paperback)
  • The Foods of Israel Today
  • Jewish Cooking in America


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