There are four brisket recipes in Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman's new cookbook, The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home—one for each season. All are pot-roasted in flavorful sauces and packed to the brim with vegetables. The fall version is the most streamlined, containing little more than butternut squash, red onions, and cider-wine sauce spiked with garlic and thyme. It'd be a fine centerpiece to a Hanukkah dinner, or even Thanksgivukkah, if you're okay with eschewing the bird.
Why I picked this recipe: Simple, pot roasted brisket is a winner for holiday entertaining.
What worked: The sweet-and-savory wine and cider braising sauce was wonderfully warming and an excellent pair to the beef. I also appreciated the simplicity of the accompanying vegetables—bright orange squash and deep purple onions were really all this brisket needed.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: You could swap out the butternut for just about any winter squash (or potatoes and carrots, if you're a stickler for tradition). If you're serving more than 6, you could cook a bigger brisket. Increase the cooking liquid as needed to keep the meat mostly submerged in the pot.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.