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Shared by Michael Solomonov

Chef Michael Solomonov’s Brisket Recipe Has Evolved With Each Generation

Chef Michael Solomonov’s Brisket Recipe Has Evolved With Each Generation

Family Journey

East Liverpool, OhioGnei Yehudah, IsraelPittsburgh
Orlando and Boca Raton, FloridaKfar Saba, IsraelPhiladelphia
1 recipes
Coffee-Braised Brisket

Coffee-Braised Brisket

8 servings4 h 30 min + 30 min to reheat before serving

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground black cardamom (instead of both cardamoms you can substitute 1 ½ tablespoons total dried mint)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 brisket (first cut, about 4 pounds)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large onions, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 10 garlic cloves, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups dried apricots
  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 8 large eggs in their shells
  • Grated fresh horseradish, for serving
Recipes
1
Coffee-Braised Brisket

Coffee-Braised Brisket

8 servings4 h 30 min + 30 min to reheat before serving

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon ground black cardamom (instead of both cardamoms you can substitute 1 ½ tablespoons total dried mint)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 brisket (first cut, about 4 pounds)
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large onions, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 10 garlic cloves, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups dried apricots
  • 2 cups brewed coffee
  • 8 large eggs in their shells
  • Grated fresh horseradish, for serving

Chef Michael Solomonov remembers his mother’s parents Alex and Betty as “macher-y cadillac driving” types, he says, who were “very humble, but kind of got blingy in their old age.” His grandfather, whose parents owned a grocery store, “bootlegged whiskey to pay for medical school,” adds Michael, who is the chef and owner of the acclaimed Zahav and a constellation of other restaurants in Philadelphia. 

Alex was deeply involved with Israel Bonds while Betty was part of Hadassah. Michael laughs remembering a photo of Alex wearing a three piece suit standing next to Golda Meir “who’s wearing a muumuu, smoking a cigarette.” 

“And so that is sort of the spirit of this brisket,” Michael explains. A signature family recipe, the brisket has evolved with each generation. The original started with Betty and calls for carrots, potatoes, and Heinz Chili Sauce. She served it at nearly every holiday, including when she hosted up to 40 people at her home for Rosh Hashanah in East Liverpool, Ohio when Michael’s mother was growing up. “I guarantee my grandparents were probably friends with the Heinz family,” he adds. His aunt Ava says he’s not far off, though she believes her grandfather might have been the one who knew the Heinz family.

Sometime in the 1980s, Ava says, the family brisket took a leap forward with her sister, Michael’s mother Evelyn, who moved back and forth between Israel and Pennsylvania during her life. She added coffee and brown sugar to it, keeping the Heinz Chili Sauce. Leftover, it was always served with challah to soak up the juices. The hit recipe was shared with relatives and friends. The first time Ava made it, she didn’t know she needed to brew the coffee before adding it to the pan and the brisket came out dry. “I’m a terrible cook,” Ava concedes, but she’s mastered the recipe and says it’s the one dish she’s relied upon for. 

After Michael’s brother David was killed while serving in the Israeli Army, the recipe took its next step. In 2004, Michael hosted a Seder along with Marc Vetri, a friend and the chef he worked for at the time. “That was the first time I made a version of the brisket,” says Michael. He called his mother for the recipe and put his own spin on it, replacing coffee with espresso and adding cardamom to evoke Turkish coffee. As for the Heinz Chili Sauce, Michael’s replaced its sweetness with dried apricots. 

Over the years, he’s experimented with serving it alongside bone marrow mashed potatoes and rice pilaf. But some things are best served simply. “That brisket on a slice of challah with horseradish would be the best,” says Michael. 

Michael’s grandfather Alex and Golda Meir, likely in the 1970s.