I’m Yemenite and my husband and his family are Bukharian Jews that hail from Uzbekistan. After we got 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 was learning the dishes I would always ask for measurements, and she 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 recreate 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 clean-up with this dish. They are plastic, and disposable, and a huge time saver during clean up.
- 2 lb brisket, excess fat trimmed
- 1 24 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1-2 russet potatoes, whole + 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 – 4 cups water
- 4 eggs, rinsed
- Fill a medium sized pot halfway full with water. Bring to a boil.
- Cut the brisket in 1” size pieces, and place in the boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Line the slow cooker with a plastic, disposable liner.
- 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.
- Rinse the rice well, until the water runs clear, then add it to the pot.
- 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.
- Cook on low for 10-12 hours.
- Check in the morning and add more water if it seems dry.
- Add another large squeeze of lemon juice before serving. Serve with prepared tahini, Israeli chopped salad, and challah.