This recipe features a brisket rub to rule all other brisket rubs. Covering the brisket with parchment paper before putting the lid on the pot is a classic French technique that creates a more richly flavored sauce.
Finely grind star anise in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in cocoa, sumac, pepper and cinnamon.
Season brisket with salt and 2 tablespoons of the spice blend. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over high heat. Add the brisket and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the brisket to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium, add onions to the pot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, apricots, cranberries, prunes, raisins, orange wedges and the remaining spice blend. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes more. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Return the brisket to the pot.
Cover the brisket with a piece of parchment paper and put the lid on the pot. Transfer to the oven and bake until the brisket is fork-tender, about 3½ hours.
Transfer the brisket to a clean cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with the sauce.
Tips: Made from the tart red berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush, ground sumac has a fruity, sour flavor. Find this bright red spice in Middle Eastern markets, well-stocked supermarkets and online.
Urfa is a smoky, mildly hot Turkish chile pepper. Find the jars of dried flakes at specialty shops and online.
Equipment: Spice grinder or mortar and pestle; parchment paper
290 calories;9 g fat(3 g sat); 2 g fiber; 16 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein; 31 mcg folate; 98 mg cholesterol; 10 g sugars; 2 g added sugars; 279 IU vitamin A; 10 mg vitamin C; 52 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 320 mg sodium; 758 mg potassium