Several years ago, I hosted an annual online event called the Passover Potluck. I invited my blogging friends, both Jewish and not, to share recipes that would be at home (and kosher!) on a Passover table. My friend, Chef Cheryl D. Lee from the blog Black Girl Chef’s Whites, took part in the event. She shared this delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Brisket with Chipotle Cranberry Sauce. Cheryl is a gem– she’s a professional chef, and she really knows good food.
Many years and many recipes later, I wanted to revisit this post to share fresh pictures and a how-to video. This gluten free recipe contains some fun flavors from South of the border. The cooking method requires you to marinate the brisket in herbs and spices for several hours, so plan ahead. Using a slow cooker frees up room in your oven, so you can fit other dishes in there while the brisket slowly cooks on the countertop.
This brisket would work well for either a Passover or Rosh Hashanah meal. With sweet, smoky heat, the meat slowly cooks up tenderly in its own delicious sauce. What a treat! Thanks again to Cheryl for her lovely contribution to our virtual Seder table.
The Inspiration Behind Chef Cheryl’s Chipotle Brisket Recipe
Cheryl Says: What’s a Christian girl like me doing making a brisket for Passover? Food reaches across all ethnic and religious lines, in my opinion. Food is one way to break barriers between people. ‘Breaking bread’ is a Biblical term meaning both the literal tearing of bread or the sharing of a meal with others. Even if you don’t speak the same language as another, if you sit and share a meal with them, you come to an understanding.
Years ago when I was starting my culinary career, I worked for a small café in Brooklyn owned by a Jewish couple. Hanukkah and Passover were big catering holidays for us. I learned to make brisket, matzoh balls, tzimmes, kugel, charoset, and even gefilte fish! We were not a kosher kitchen, but we did follow strict rules regarding the preparation of food for the Jewish holidays.
I learned how to make all of these dishes from the African-American female head chef named Leslie. Leslie had worked for the café for so long, she had all of these recipes and techniques ingrained in her head. She wasn’t Jewish, but she didn’t need to be to appreciate and learn about another culture or religious tradition.
So you see, food really does cross all barriers.
This version of brisket is influenced by Mexican cuisine. Growing up in Southern California, I was exposed to Mexican culture through food. I used dried chipotle peppers to add a smoky heat to the sauce. If you are unable to find whole dried chipotle peppers, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili or ancho chili powder, or 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes.
Slow Cooker Chipotle Brisket with Cranberry Sauce
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 5-6 lbs beef brisket
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup red wine
- 1-2 dried chipotle chile
- 1 cup dried cranberries, divided
- Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional – for garnish)
- Mix the cumin, oregano, thyme and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spices over the entire brisket. Place the coated brisket in a glass or ceramic dish. Cover with a lid, wax paper, or plastic wrap and let the brisket marinate for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- In a large slow cooker, layer the onions, garlic, and chipotle, then place the brisket on top, fat cap facing upward. Pour the wine over the brisket, then sprinkle 1/3 cup dried cranberries on top. Set the slow cooker to high and the timer to 6 hours.
- Turn the brisket over after 5 hours, making sure that the cranberries are immersed in the liquid. Continue cooking for another hour. Check for doneness – brisket should be fork tender at this point. If not, continue cooking an additional 30 minutes at a time until fully tender.
- When the brisket is done, gently remove it from the slow cooker to a plate. Pour the remaining ingredients from the slow cooker into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour the puree into a small pan. Using either water or broth, thin the puree out to a thinner sauce consistency. Add the remaining 2/3 cup dried cranberries and let them warm and plump in the sauce. Adjust the seasoning to taste, if needed.
- Slice the brisket thinly, and ladle some sauce onto the slices. Serve the remaining sauce on the side. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired.