I’m Yemenite, and my husband and his family are Bukharian Jews who hail from Uzbekistan. After we married, my mother-in-law gave me full tutorials on several traditional Bukharian dishes that are special to her and the family, including this osavo, a slow-cooked brisket and rice dish that reminds me of a rich tomato-based risotto studded with meat.
As I learned the dishes, I would always ask for measurements. My mother-in-law would say, “Oh, it’s all by eye.” So I would pull out my kitchen scale to portion the ingredients as best I could in order to re-create the dishes in my own home.
I love making so many of her recipes, but the dish I come back to over and over for cooler weather is this osavo. Like an Eastern European cholent, the dish cooks all night in a crockpot, so you wake up in the morning to a house filled with a delectable savory aroma.
One element of this recipe that might surprise is the addition of grated Granny Smith apple and fresh lemon juice. These flavors are so crucial to the complexity of this dish, and they add sweetness and acidity that balance out the richness of the brisket.
The original recipe from my mother-in-law calls for bone marrow bones and flanken, but I prefer brisket so that there is more meat and no bones to remove. I’ve made it dozens of times both ways, and there’s no major difference in flavor.
Note: I prefer to use a crockpot liner for easy cleanup with this dish. It is plastic and disposable, and a huge time saver.
2 lbs. brisket, excess fat trimmed
1 can (24 oz.) diced tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
juice of 1 lemon
1 or 2 russet potatoes, whole plus skin on, rinsed and scrubbed
2 cups round, short grain rice (often sold in the Asian aisles)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. sweet paprika
3-1/2 to 4 cups water
4 eggs, rinsed
1. Fill a medium-size pot halfway full with water. Bring to a boil.
2. Cut the brisket in 1-inch pieces and place in the boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Line the slow cooker with a plastic, disposable liner.
4. Add the partially cooked meat, along with the chopped onion, canned tomatoes, grated Granny Smith apple, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and paprika to the slow cooker.
5. Rinse the rice well, until the water runs clear, then add it to the pot.
6. Cover the ingredients with the water, then nestle in the whole potatoes. Place the eggs in a slow cooker bag and add them to the pot.
7. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.
8. Check in the morning and add more water if it seems dry.
9. Add another large squeeze of lemon juice before serving. Serve with prepared tahini, Israeli chopped salad and challah. Serves 6.