Pati Jinich is a Mexican chef best known for her PBS show Pati's Mexican Table. A new season of the show, exploring the food in the Yucatan region in Mexico, premieres on September 15 available on local PBS stations and to stream on-demand on Amazon and Spoon chatted with Pati about this Mexican-inspired brisket she is cooking for Rosh Hashanah, how she combines both her Mexican and Jewish culture in her cooking, and and advice she has for those cooking brisket for the first time.

Spoon University: Tell me about this caramelized pasilla brisket. What is the inspiration behind it?

Pati Jinich: I first tried a version of this brisket in Santa Fe de la Laguna, Michoacan. This dish is popular in that region and goes by the name Carne Enchillada, which is typically made with pork but I couldn't resist making it with brisket. A young and knowledgeable Purepecha cook, Berenice Flores, showed me how to make it in her home, and we kept asking for more tortillas to wipe the sauce clean off our plates! This is by far the best brisket I've ever had, where the meat chunks gain a nutty brown crust as they cook, yet fall apart in your mouth. The sauce is thick, a bit tart, a bit spicy, and wholeheartedly rich to enhance the flavor of the meat.

SU: What is your favorite thing about combining two cultures you are a part of through cooking?

PJ: I love that I get to understand myself better because I'm part of two cultures. I'm both Mexican and Jewish, and there's so much that being a Mexican and Jewish mom brings together. Both Mexican and Jewish cultures are centered around family, and around the table eating, and showing love and affection through food and cooking, and overfeeding the people we love. The food is saucy and comforting, served in big bowls and pots, to encourage eating together — it's not pristinely plated. Both cuisines have a way of incorporating other ingredients and immigrant influences into its soul through waves of migration in history: in Mexico from Old World trade during colonial times between European, Asian, and African countries, and immigrant waves to Mexico, and in Jewish culture migration led to fusions of recipes and techniques from our ancestors being adapted with ingredients found in new places.

SU: Any advice for someone cooking brisket for the first time?

PJ: Don't get intimidated! Cooking a brisket sounds complicated and laborious, but you actually don't have to do much. All you need is some good seasoning and a good marinade, and patience. Brisket cooks low and slow, so it needs time to cook until it's succulent and falls apart.  

Caramelized Pasilla Brisket

  • Prep Time:4 hrs 30 mins
  • Cook Time:30 mins
  • Total Time:5 hrs
  • Servings:6
  • Medium


  • 2 ounces about 5 to 6 dried pasilla chiles; stemmed and seeded
  • 3 pounds beef brisket; trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt; divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper; to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos; husked rinsed quartered
  • 1 large white onion; cut into chunks
  • 10 garlic cloves; peeled
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ounces or 1/2 cup grated piloncillo or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes; halved
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots; peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • Greens your choice for salad
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice and olive oil; to dress the salad
Photo courtesy of Pati Jinich
  • Step 1

    Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Heat up a comal or skillet over medium heat, then toast the pasilla chiles for about 1 to 2 minutes, flipping with tongs as they toast. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.

  • Step 2

    Season the meat with 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat oil in a large casserole or roasting pan set over high heat. Brown the meat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the toasted pasilla chiles, tomatillos, onion, garlic, chicken broth, piloncillo, the remaining teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Make sure chiles are covered with the broth. Cover and seal tight with a lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven and braise for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender. Remove from the oven. Remove the meat and place on a chopping board.

  • Step 3

    In a pot with salted boiling water, cook the potatoes and the carrots for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and reserve. Pour all the remaining contents of the roasting pan into the jar of a blender and puree until completely smooth. Pour the sauce back into roasting pan.

  • Step 4

    Slice the meat against the grain into about 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices and return it to the roasting pan. Add the potatoes and carrots, cover everything with the sauce. Cover the dish and return to oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the lid or aluminum foil, return to the oven and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Toss the greens of your choice with lime juice and olive oil to taste. Serve the brisket with the side salad. If there is any meat left over, you can cool, store and refrigerate it in a closed contained and then reheat, covered over a low simmer.