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Moroccan-Style Brisket with Dried Fruit & Capers

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Moroccan Brisket

As a special treat for Passover, I’m delighted to give you a sneak peek of one of my favorite recipes from my new cookbook, Once Upon a Chef, The Cookbook: 100 Tested, Perfected, and Family-Approved RecipesPerfect for the Jewish holiday or any special family dinner, this Moroccan-style brisket recipe is a wonderful twist on Nach Waxman’s “most-Googled brisket recipe” that I’ve been making for years. The ingredient list looks long but don’t let that scare you off; it’s really just a lot of spices. Plus, you can make it days ahead of time — in fact, you should because the flavor improves the longer it sits. This dish is so abundant and impressive looking, you can keep the sides simple: some cauliflower purée and a green vegetable and your holiday dinner is done.

Note that butchers typically sell two types of brisket: flat cut and point cut. These two pieces together make up a full brisket, a large slab of muscle from the cow’s chest. The point cut has more marbling, while the flat cut (also called first cut or center cut) is lean but topped with a thick fat cap. This recipe calls for a flat cut brisket. Don’t let your butcher trim all the fat off! A small fat cap bastes the meat, adding flavor and keeping it from getting dry and tough. You can trim any excess fat off of the brisket and skim the fat off the gravy once it’s cooked.

Moroccan Brisket

Moroccan-Style Brisket with Dried Fruit & Capers

Servings: 8
Total Time: 4 Hours


  • One (4- to 6-lb) flat-cut brisket
  • 1 heaping Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (okay to substitute matzo cake meal)
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 medium yellow onions, cut into slices 1/2 in thick
  • 2 tsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 6 carrots, peeled and quartered on the diagonal
  • 14 dried apricots
  • 12 pitted prunes
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. Season the brisket on both sides with the salt and pepper. Lightly dust with the flour, turning to coat both sides evenly.
  3. In a heavy flameproof roasting pan or ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot just large enough to hold the brisket, carrots, and dried fruits snugly, heat the oil over medium‑high heat. Add the brisket to the pan, fatty-side down, and sear until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a pair of tongs and a large fork, flip the brisket over and sear the other side in the same manner.
  4. Transfer the brisket to a platter, and then add the onions to the pan. (If the pan seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water.) Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until the onions are softened and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add the brown sugar, paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne to the onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Add 1 cup water and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Remove from the heat and place the brisket, fatty‑side up, and any accumulated juices from the platter on top of the onions. Spread the tomato paste evenly over the brisket, and then scatter the garlic around it. Cover the pan very tightly with heavy‑duty aluminum foil or a lid, transfer to the oven, and cook for 1½ hours.
  7. Carefully transfer the brisket to a cutting board (leave the oven on). Using an electric or very sharp knife, cut the meat across the grain on a diagonal into thin slices (aim for 1⁄8 to 1/4 in thick). Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice. The end result should resemble the original unsliced brisket leaning slightly backward. Scatter the carrots, apricots, prunes, and capers around the edges of the pot and baste with the sauce; cover tightly with the foil or lid and return to the oven.
  8. Lower the heat to 325°F and cook the brisket until it is fork‑tender, 1¾ to 2½ hours. Transfer the brisket to a serving platter, and then sprinkle with parsley. If you’re not planning to serve the brisket right away, let it cool to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  9. Note: If the sauce seems greasy, transfer the meat and vegetables to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce into a bowl and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Using a small ladle, spoon out the fat. Pour the skimmed gravy back over the meat.
  10. MAKE AHEAD: The brisket can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and refrigerated. Reheat the brisket in a 300°F oven until hot, about 45 minutes. Brisket also freezes well for up to 2 months; just be sure to defrost in the refrigerator 2 days ahead of time.

Pair with

Reviews & Comments

  • The brisket available at my grocery store didn’t have a fat cap. Can I still use your recipe on this type of brisket? Any modifications? Thanks 🌼

    • — Nicole Pryor on February 8, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Is it possible to do this all stove top on low in a braise? An hour per lb approx?

    • — Julia on December 31, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 2, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi- What other cuts of meat can I substitute for the Brisket?

    • — Lauren Mayer on December 14, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauren, I think boneless beef chuck would also work here. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made this over the weekend as a sort of “weekend project” because I thought the pictures were so pretty and I wanted to learn a recipe that will really *WOW* at a dinner party.

    Holy cow. This brisket is OUTSTANDING. It’s literally gorgeous when it comes out of the oven. Used 2lbs of carrots because I thought they were pretty (good choice; they looked lovely) but otherwise followed the recipe. Paired with Jenn’s Moroccan Basmati rice pilaf with dried fruit and almonds and some green beans.

    This is a real show-stopper. Can’t wait to make it for friends in the future.

    • — Jake on December 11, 2018
    • Reply
  • I just made this and the smells and taste are outstanding. However I barely have any liquid. I even added a whole other cup of wine because there was barely any liquid after I cooked down the onions and added the cup of water (I actually used vegetable broth). What did I do wrong?

    • — Brooke on November 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Brooke, did you use a roasting pan that was just large enough to snugly fit the brisket? If it was larger than that, the liquid won’t be very deep in the pan and will cook off during its time in the oven. Also, did you cover the pan very tightly with foil (or a lid if it has one)?

      • — Jenn on December 1, 2018
      • Reply
      • I have a feeling my pan was too big. It was a long piece of brisket so I would have had to fold it over in a smaller pan. Is that what I should do in the future. Also, when reheating should I add some
        vegetable broth so it doesn’t dry it out even more? Or will that dilute the flavor?

        • — Brooke Hazan on December 2, 2018
        • Reply
        • Yes, you can fold it over a bit if necessary. And it’s a good idea to add a little broth when you reheat it – it should be fine. Hope that helps!

          • — Jenn on December 2, 2018
          • Reply
  • Hi! Can this recipe be made with a french roast, brick roast or california roast?

    • — Lauren Mayer on November 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Lauren, I think any of those cuts would work from a texture standpoint, but they are likely to have a very different shape than a brisket, so not certain how it will impact the cooking time. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it with one of these!

      • — Jenn on November 29, 2018
      • Reply
  • This recipe turns out perfectly. I followed the instructions and only added more prunes – many more. Making it the day ahead means the meat is tender and flavourful. The taste is delicious. Everyone loved it. I froze the leftovers which taste fine.

    • — Harriet Zaidman on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Absolutely wonderful recipe. That is easy to follow and needs no substitutions. My Moroccan friends even gave it the thumbs up!

    • — Sarah on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Amazing and an excellent compilation of exotic species. My entire family loved it! They said I really out did myself, but I told them I followed a new recipe and it was a lot simpler then it taste and looks. Thank you so much for sharing this devine recipe with us. Posting pictures of this delicious meal on my social accounts 😋

    • — Mel Riv on September 26, 2018
    • Reply
  • Will this be ok if I do not sear the brisket first?

    • — Elisheva on August 15, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, it will be fine, Elisheva – that step does add flavor though.

      • — Jenn on August 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • My house smells heavenly with the brisket cooking in the oven. I can’t wait until dinner! My husband thinks I am a good cook, but it is because your recipes are so good. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • — Charlotte Willman on May 8, 2018
    • Reply
    • 🙂 Hope the brisket tasted as good as it smelled!

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jenn, made your other brisket recipe twice and it came out perfect. Loved the flavors in this but my brisket was very dry. I cooked it for 2.5 hours after the initial 1.5 hours. Do you think I overcooked it, undercooked it or it just wasn’t a good brisket. It was a flat brisket as suggested

    • — Veronica on April 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Veronica, It’s essentially the same recipe – just different spices and add-ins — so I’m guessing it was the brisket or that it was undercooked. How many pounds was it? Was there a generous fat cap on it?

      • — Jenn on April 14, 2018
      • Reply
  • I made the Moroccan Brisket for Easter and it was simply AMAZING ! It was so complex, full of flavors. So glad I stumbled upon your site.

    • — Marlena on April 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Thank you for the interesting seasonings in this recipes. I seem to be the lone dissenter, however. I am an experienced cook and a lover of all types of seasonings., but I found these to be overwhelming and tended to mask the delicious flavor in the meat itself.
    Further, I find that if you cook the meat fully ahead of time, remove and let chill, it’s easier to slice and return to pan to pan and just reheat before serving.

    • — Irene on April 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • Delicious day of and even better day after!!!!!

    • — Megan M. on April 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • Sounds well wonderful, but I still have leftover brisket from 2 six lb flat cut pieces for Passover, and I can neither afford to buy a brisket or eat anymore for a long time.

    I was wondering if you can adapt the recipe for chicken. My people don’t like the olives and capers in Chicken Marbella, but I think they would like this recipe for chicken. Any ideas?

    • — Fran on April 2, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Fran, I definitely understand what brisket overload feels like around the holidays! Unfortunately, I don’t think this recipe can be adapted for chicken – sorry! I’m planning on developing a Moroccan-style chicken soon, so stay tuned. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2018
      • Reply
  • I made this brisket on Thursday to serve on Saturday night. I have to admit that on Thursday although the house smelled incredible, the flavor hadn’t worked its way into the meat and I was upset that I didn’t increase the spices to accommodate an almost six pound brisket. You are right when you say it gets better in time. By Saturday it was absolutely delicious. Everyone loved it. I was hesitant to try a new brisket since everyone expects our old family recipe but it did not disappoint.

    • — Abbie on April 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • I just made this for Passover and realized I left out the capers! Have I done irreparable harm? Can I add them to the sauce now, let them sit overnight, and have them cook while reheating?

    • — Sheri on March 29, 2018
    • Reply
    • No worries, Sheri…go ahead and add them now. It won’t make any difference – promise!

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2018
      • Reply
      • Thanks Jen – did that and it was perfect! I didn’t think I could like something better than your onion braised brisket but this was wonderful. Everyone loved it! Happy Passover!

        • — Sheri on March 31, 2018
        • Reply
        • Yay! So happy it worked out. 🙂

          • — Jenn on March 31, 2018
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I hate to mess with your recipes at all because they never fail me! However, my brisket is 7 lbs. Should I increase the seasonings, vegetables etc. a bit (maybe by 1/4)? Or, should I stick with your original quantities? Thank you!

    • — Karin on March 28, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Karin, Yes I’d increase by 1/4 and you may need to increase the cook time a bit, too. I hope you enjoy it!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • I want to make thisnut live in the UK – do you know what meat is equivalent ? Google doesn’t seem to help

    • — Lee Ann on March 28, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Leeann, I’m not sure what brisket is called in the UK – sorry! I would tell your butcher it is a cut from the breast or lower chest of beef, and maybe show him a photo (there’s one on Wikipedia).

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • I would assume this for a beef brisket?? Not all cooks would know this. Please specify. Thanks

    • — J on March 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, beef brisket. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2018
      • Reply
  • I wasn’t going to make brisket for Passover this year, but the recipe alone made my mouth water! Just made it and gave my son (finicky eater) a taste. He literally patted me on the back! This is the best brisket recipe ever. Thank you Jenn!!

    • — Debi on March 25, 2018
    • Reply
  • Soooo worth the time spent in the kitchen! I always tend to shy away from cooking red meat, especially big, impressive chunks like that, but I’m glad I mustered the courage! Followed the instructions to a T, just left out capers as I don’t like them. Turned out splendid, just perfect. Thanks Jennifer, you never fail me 😉

    • — Marine on March 23, 2018
    • Reply
  • My husband is allergic to onions. What do I do?

    • — Nancy on March 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Nancy, Unfortunately, I don’t think this recipe will work without the onions. So sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 22, 2018
      • Reply
  • This sounds fantastic but I wonder: if making this 2-3 days ahead, should I just cook the brisket the first 1.5 hours, refrigerate it and then slice and continue the cooking with the fruit and veg when I’m ready to serve it? I don’t want everything to get mushy.

    • — Peggy Morgan on March 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • That will work, Peggy, but you can also make it entirely ahead – it reheats beautifully.

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • At the end, you mention that brisket freezes well for a while; may I please assume you’re referring to the cooked brisket? (Probably a stupid question, right?) Thanks!

    • — Wayne Daugherty on March 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Not a stupid question! (But, yes, I’m referring to the cooked brisket.) Hope you enjoy. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Sounds yummy! I have a friend strongly allergic to garlic, so I’d replace with shallots. Do you think that would work okay?
    Btw, every one of your recipes I’ve tried have been winners!

    • — Jane on March 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jane – that’s fine. Glad you’re enjoying the recipes! 😊

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jen,
    This is making my mouth water!
    Going to make it BUT my family doesn’t care for Cumin or Corriander. Are there any other complementary herbs or spices that you would recommend to replace the above? Oregano, Rosemary???
    Michele Glemser

    • — Michele Glemser on March 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Michele, It’s fine to leave the coriander out. I’d replace the cumin with chili powder – if your family doesn’t like chili powder (it does have some cumin in it), you can leave that out too. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • I tested this one for the cookbook and it blew everyone away. The second time I made it I wondered if how good it was had been a fluke. Nope! Second time it was every bit as fabulous. The fruits kind of melt into the juices and become succulent and such a good compliment to the meat. This is the best roast I have ever cooked or eaten! Thanks, Jenn.

    • — Judy on March 21, 2018
    • Reply
    • Jenn,
      Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes. This brisket recipe is fantastic. My husband is usually not a fan of brisket, but he loved this one. I love your cookbook. Thanks! Kim

      • — Kim Craighead on August 1, 2018
      • Reply
      • ❤️

        • — Jenn on August 1, 2018
        • Reply

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