our girl, molly, is getting married. she’s getting married and dang it, i’m coming out of my self-imposed (kind of not self-imposed but LIFE-imposed) blogging hiatus to make her a pie. but not just any pie, brisket pie with honey garlic mashed potatoes and topped with a little brocollini bouquet, you know, to class it up and stuff. and the super coolest part for me? molly and her mama will be recreating this pie for her wedding day. pretty cool, right?
(you’ll also notice, to further honor our kallah, bride, i’ve adapted her quirky little habit of only writing in lower case. it’s killing me but you know, what we do for friendship).
the story of how little ol’ me got asked by THE molly yeh to make a recipe for her wedding is an interesting one, to me at least. if the food blogging world were a high school, molly would be its queen bee, only she’d be everyone’s ideal queen bee; the one that is nice and is inclusive of everyone. the thing is, the food blogging world is a little high school and a lot of the top bloggers who could really be amazing mentors to up-and-comers like me don’t actually engage with outside their successful network of fellow bloggers. not miss molly. we became pen pals after she left a comment on my shakshuka recipe from almost a year ago. i was so frikkin’ excited that a fellow food blogger, whose talent and skill inspire me so much, had read my blog and commented on it that i immediately emailed my kosher connection gang. one of them, melinda, suggested that i send molly an email thanking her for her comment and telling her how much i admire her work. so i did and, long story short, we’ve been writing to each other ever since. heck, she even made a cake for my kiddo’s 2nd birthday. the least i could do is rep her jewish heritage by putting brisket in pie form.
let’s break down this pie. because it’s for a wedding (you should know that molly requested only savory pies) and out of the insanely amazing bloggers that she asked (talented folks such as renee shuman of will frolic for food, stephanie le of i am a food blog, izzy hossack of top with cinnamon, and emma galloway of my darling lemon thyme), i’m the only one repping the kosher/jewish crowd. knowing that, i wanted to make sure that the pie was dripping in kosher/jewish wedding, or ‘smachot’ (hebrew word meaning ‘celebrations’), symbolism.
the world knows that jews love to eat, especially when it comes to any kind of jewish celebration of any kind. it’s basically your usual, ‘ain’t no party like a jewish party cause a jewish part has tons of booze and food’ situation. but, what the world might not know is that a lot jews believe that there MUST be meat at a celebration or ceremonial meal in order for it to be considered a ‘true’ celebration. as with a lot of immigrant communities, our history is steeped in poverty but no matter how little we had (and by ‘we’, i mean my great, great, great grandparents and so on and so forth), we would make sure that if there was a celebration to be had or a holiday to commemorate, there would be meat. meat came to symbolize celebration and happiness. the same can be said for wine. no holiday meal or celebration is complete without the blessing over the wine, otherwise known as ‘kiddush’. in fact, tradition has it that if a single person were to drink from the kiddish cup at a sheva brachot, they would be the next to marry. so, let’s just all agree that meat and wine are a big deal for jews.
and finally, the honey. there’s yet another custom, this one involving challah and honey. tradition has it that newly weds should dip their challah in honey during the first shabbat meal they spend together so as to guarantee a sweet life together. my husband and i took it one step further and continued that tradition with every shabbat we’ve ever shared together as a married couple. i mean, also, it’s honey and honey is good.
ok, let me get serious for just one moment. it is an honor and a privilege to have been asked to create this post. blogging and having time for myself just doesn’t happen these days. this temporary single parent/full-time director of school counseling gig has sucked all my energy/time. i can barely set up a seen for a photo, much less the energy it takes to keep up with it multiple times a month. my viewership has plummeted and my love of cooking has suffered because of it. that being said, this small request has reinvigorated my quest for creativity. whether through tweets, actually reading and commenting on my rare post or telling all of China to check out jewhungry, molly has been 100% supportive throughout my sojourn from blogging by not-so-silently encouraging me to get back out there and i am eternally grateful to her for it. molly is one of the greats. she is living our food blogging dream. but more than anything, she is living her dream and i wish her and her eggboy all the best for this very inspiring step in their lives. marrying my husband was the #1 best decision i ever made in my life and i am deeply touched by the kavod, honor, molly has given me to be a part of this beautiful decision in her life. mazal tov, molly.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions sliced into rounds
2 – 3 pounds beef brisket
coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup whole baby carrots
1 cup beef/mushroom/vegetable broth
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red cooking wine (or the real stuff if you’re a baller)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
cooking the brisket:
heat a deep sauté pan over medium heat with the olive oil. add the onions and cook on medium-low to medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the onions have caramelized lightly.
while the onions are cooking, take the brisket out of its packaging and pat it dry. season the meat generously with salt and pepper. heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat and turn on your vent or fan, if you have one. sear the brisket until a golden brown crust appears on both sides of the meat. Remove and place in a slow cooker insert, fatty side up.
sprinkle the minced garlic over the meat. when the onions are lightly browned, pile them on top and around the meat. Mix the broth, worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce, and pour into the slow cooker insert.
cover and cook in the slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the brisket is very tender. let the brisket rest for at least 20. using two forks, shred the brisket until there are barely any large chunks. cut up the carrots while you’re at it so that they are bite-sized. scoop the meat and carrots into a pie pan with some of the meat juice enough so that there is roughly half a cup or so of meat juice in the pan along with the meat but not so much that it’s meat soup.
ingredients for honey garlic mashed potatoes:
3 pounds of yukon gold potatoes (roughly 5 – 6 potatoes)
2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 cup almond milk
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp earth balance
3 – 4 tbsp honey
cooking the honey garlic mashed potatoes
place the potatoes and garlic in a large stock pot. cover with 1 to 2 inches cold water and season generously with salt. bring the pot of water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. drain out the water from the pot. keep potatoes and garlic in the stock pot and using either a masher or large fork, mash up the potatoes. add the earth balance and almond milk. stir all together with mashed potatoes and garlic. add the honey. if potatoes are not fluffy enough, add a little more almond milk until you reach desired fluffy mashed potato consistency. taste as you go, adjusting seasoning as needed. i like my mashed potatoes a bit sweet to juxtapose the brisket but you should season and flavor yours to your liking.
using a spatula, scoop out mashed potatoes onto brisket in pie pan and smooth. you should have at least a 1/2 in. layer of mashed potato on there. broccolini bouquet is optional. enjoy! mazal tov, molly!