Recipe courtesy of Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov

Brisket Mina

Mina is the Ladino word for pie. This Passover dish, common throughout the Sephardic world, is almost too good to be true. Once the matzo is soaked and baked, it magically transforms into something more like traditional pastry than unleavened bread. Mina has great vegetarian potential and can be filled with anything from eggplant to spinach and cheese to potatoes. The mina is topped with the fruit-and-nut condiment so crucial to the Passover table: charoset. Cardamom is used to flavor coffee and in sweets throughout the Middle East, but the cardamom-coffee combination works perfectly in savory recipes like this one. The cardamom is super piney and fragrant, with a sweetness that balances the roasty, bitter coffee and the rich, salty meat.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Charoset:

4 carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 apple such as Granny Smith, grated

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon white vinegar (see Cook's Note)

Kosher salt

Mina:

1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for brushing

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon finely ground coffee, optional (only if your brisket was not already made with coffee)

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

12 ounces cooked leftover brisket, shredded

1/4 cup water or reserved brisket braising liquid

1 large egg, beaten

4 to 6 sheets matzo

Directions

  1. For the charoset: Combine the carrots, apple, cilantro, walnuts, horseradish, raisins, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside.
  2. For the mina: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or baking dish with oil.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and salt and cook until the vegetables have softened but not browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the coffee if using and cardamom and stir to combine. Add the shredded brisket and 1/4 cup water or reserved brisket braising liquid and mix to combine until warm. Transfer the brisket mixture to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the egg.
  4. Soak the matzo in warm water until pliable, about 1 minute, the remove to a clean kitchen towel to rest, about 5 minutes. Line the bottom and sides of the oiled cast iron skillet with the matzo, breaking up the pieces as needed to completely cover the bottom and sides of the skillet. Spoon the brisket mixture evenly over the bottom and cover the top with more matzo. Fold over the edges of the matzo running up the sides to seal the brisket, adding extra pieces of matzo to completely cover. Drizzle with canola oil and bake until the mina is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Invert the mina onto a serving platter. Slice into wedges and serve topped with the charoset. 

Cook’s Note

Be sure that the white vinegar is certified kosher for Passover as some are made from wheat.

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