What’s Your Damage?: Onion- & Garlic-Free Hanukkah

onion garlic free brisketWe’re right in the middle of the Festival of Lights, which means one thing: BRISKET!!! Okay, two things. Brisket and latkes. While I already did a Thanksgivvukah mash-up of gluten-free sweet potato latkes using my gluten-free latke recipe, I decided it was brisket time. And I was reminded of my friend Nicole who has a serious allergic reaction to onions and garlic, and let’s face it, probably all alliums. Which is a super bummer during this delicious onion-y time of year.  Solution? Ditch the onions and garlic for Hanukkah and bring on the fennel and cumin!

Sure, I usually make this version of my gluten-free brisket and cook onions down like nobodies business, but I decided to experiment with a slightly different flavor palate that would not make my friend swell up, throw up, and pass out. (Although she’s on vacation right now, but I do plan on springing it on her at some point.) I’m also realizing that I could sub the fennel in the latkes and it would make for an interesting taste as well. Try it if you’ve got an allium problem and let me know how it goes.

I think it goes without saying that these dishes are also gluten-free (use gluten-free flour, or none at all). I used my usual recipe and just de-allium’d it. Enjoy allergetics! And Happy I-didn’t-get-sick-this-year Hanukkah.

Gluten-Free Brisket

adapted from Fresh Direct

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 3-4 hours


1 brisket of beef (5 to 6 pounds)
1 to 2 teaspoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 bulbs of fennel, thickly sliced and separated into rings
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse (kosher) salt
2 teaspoons cumin
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Dust brisket very lightly with the gluten-free flour. Sprinkle with pepper.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy flameproof casserole. Add the brisket, and brown on both sides over medium-high heat until some crisp spots appear on the surface.

4. Transfer the brisket to a dish. Keeping the heat medium-high, add the fennel to the casserole and stir, scraping up the brown particles left from the meat. Cook until the fennel has softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove the casserole from the heat, and place the brisket, along with any juices that have accumulated, on top of the fennel. Spread the tomato paste over the brisket as if you were icing a cake. Sprinkle with cumin, pepper and the coarse salt. Add the carrots, and cover tightly. Place the casserole on the middle rack in the oven, and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Remove the casserole from the oven, and transfer the meat to a carving board. Cut it into 1/8- to 1/4- inch thick slices. Return the slices to the pot, overlapping them at an angle so that you can see a bit of the top edge of each slice (in effect reassembling the brisket, slightly slanted). Correct the seasoning if necessary, and if absolutely necessary add 2 or 3 teaspoons of water to the casserole.

7. Cover, and return the casserole to the oven. Cook until the meat is brown and fork-tender, 1 3/4 to 2 hours longer.

8. Transfer the roast, fennel, juice, and carrot slices to a heated platter. Serve at once.

Makes: 16 servings

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Damage?: Onion- & Garlic-Free Hanukkah

  1. Of the many things to which I am allergic, I am sooooo glad that aliums are not among them (knocks on all the wood within reach).

  2. Pingback: You Can’t Please Everybody, or, That Time I Almost Poisoned a Dinner Guest | Gluten Is My Bitch

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