Moroccan Brisket with Olives, Tomatoes,
Onions and Preserved Lemons

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  • 5- to 6-pound beef brisket
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, diced (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups green Moroccan olives, pitted
  • 2 to 3 preserved lemons, diced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. With a knife, pierce skin of brisket in 5 places and insert the garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet or roasting pan; add meat, sear on all sides, and remove.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons of the oil to the same pan and sauté 3/4 of the onions (about 6 cups) until they are limp. Add the turmeric, ginger, white pepper, bay leaves, celery, 1/3 of the diced tomatoes and water to the pan. Stir-fry a minute or 2 and let cool.
  4. Place the brisket in a baking pan and surround with cooked vegetables. Roast, covered, in oven 3 hours or until a fork goes in and out of the meat easily.
  5. Remove, cool and refrigerate, reserving vegetables. You can prepare this ahead of time.
  6. The tomato-onion sauce can be done a day in advance as well; heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the frying pan; add the remaining onions and sauté until onions are translucent. Then add the remaining diced tomatoes and simmer, covered, a few minutes. Set aside or refrigerate overnight or until ready to serve the meat.
  7. When ready to serve, remove any fat that accumulated on the brisket as it cooled. Cut, against the grain, into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Return the slices to the baking pan along with the reserved vegetables in which the meat was cooked.
  8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and reheat the brisket, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  9. Add to the tomato-onion mixture olives, preserved lemon and 2 tablespoons each of the parsley and cilantro, and heat in a small saucepan.
  10. Remove the brisket and some, or all, of the vegetables to a serving platter and serve, covered with the tomato-onion sauce and garnished with the remaining parsley and cilantro.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.