12 Days of Christmas Recipes, Day Six: Best-Ever Brisket

This wonderful roast has roots in Jewish tradition, but everyone loves the richness of a tender roast that simmers in a medley of juices and fills the kitchen with tantalizing aromas. The juices that make this particular brisket extra delicious include wine and cranberry juice. And the secret to the rich flavor is the added molasses. The result is rich gravy that can be served napped over each serving, with extra sauce in a gravy boat for passing. Prepare this early in the day for a family dinner or an easy but comforting Christmas Eve. It simmers gently in the oven for several hours, leaving time to enjoy family activities. Because it roasts on a bed of potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips, all that is needed is a fresh crisp salad and crusty bread.


5 pounds brisket                                                   2 kg

1 teaspoon each: dried rosemary, thyme        5 mL

1 tablespoon paprika                                          15  mL

1 tablespoon dry mustard                                 15 mL

4 to 5 of each: potatoes, carrots, onions, parsnips, peeled and cut in large chunks

12 garlic cloves, minced

1 package dried onion soup mix

½ cup honey                                                          125 mL

2 tablespoons  molasses                                        25 mL

1-1/2  cups dry red wine                                     375 mL

1-1/2 cups cranberry or orange juice               375 mL

1 cup beef stock                                                   250 mL


Sprinkle brisket with rosemary, thyme, paprika and mustard.

In large Dutch oven, layer potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips to form bed for roast.

Place roast on bed of vegetables.

Mix together garlic, onion soup mix, honey and molasses. Stir well.Spoon mixture over roast.

Combine wine, cranberry juice and beef stock.

Pour combined liquid into Dutch oven, making sure vegetables are well covered and liquid comes just up to bottom of roast.

Cover and bake in 350 degree F oven for 4 to 4-1/2 hours or until brisket is very tender when pierced with a fork. Check occasionally and add more liquid and turn roast if it starts to look dry.

Carve roast across the grain in thick slices. Serve on individual plates with spoonfuls of vegetables and generous nappings of gravy.

Pass extra vegetables and gravy separately.

Makes 6 to 8 servings with leftovers for hot beef sandwiches on soft buns.

Cooking Tips:

If desired,about 30 minutes before cooking time is over, remove roast to a carving board and carve, across the grain, into thick slices. Return slices to Dutch oven, burying the roast slices in the sauce. This keeps the roast moist and delicious.

For smaller roasts of 2-1/2 to 3 pounds, cut the recipe in half and cook for about 3 hours until fork-tender. Larger, whole briskets will take longer, about 5 hours.

-Bonnie Baker Cowan