The Coffee Revolution : Good to the Bottom of the Plate

For the most part, coffee belongs in a cup, not on a plate. But there are some delicious exceptions.

“Years ago I was shopping at one of the kosher butcher shops on Fairfax Avenue and I told the counterman I was looking for a brisket recipe that was a little different. And he said, ‘Did you ever try coffee?’ He said that strong leftover coffee gives the gravy a nice flavor. I tried it and it was wonderful.”

These are the words of Fran Waldman, and in my circle, her brisket is famous. I first ate it at a Rosh Hashanah dinner she’d prepared for 20 people. Everyone there wanted the recipe, which turned out to be ridiculously simple.

“Recently I’ve added to it,” Fran says. “I take Hungarian sweet paprika and smother the top of the brisket before I bake it. It’s wonderful.”


It certainly is.


1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 (5-pound) brisket


Cold coffee

1 (1-ounce) package dry onion soup mix

1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional

1 teaspoon paprika, optional



1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, optional

Red wine

Place red onion slices on bottom of large baking dish. Place brisket on top of onion. Pour over 1 to 2 cups cold coffee. Sprinkle brisket with onion soup mix, garlic powder, paprika, pepper and cumin. Add red wine until brisket is almost covered. Cover dish with foil and bake at 325 degrees 2 to 3 hours, or until tender.


Cool and refrigerate. When preparing to serve, skim off fat and slice when cold. Place slices back into juice. Cover and and reheat at 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Note: This recipe is good for parties because it can be made 1 day ahead. It tastes better the second day.