How a nice Filipino girl learned to cook brisket

When Andrea Golden was in college at Virginia’s George Mason University, her best friend had a cute boyfriend. The boyfriend had a twin.

Andrea and Mark Golden will celebrate their 15th anniversary in October. And besides producing three adorable children, one of their greatest projects has been merging their two cultures through food.

Andrea grew up in the Philippines and came to the United States at the age of 12. She is number six out of seven children in her big Catholic family. Mark is one of four boys who grew up outside Princeton, N.J. in a Jewish family.

Andrea was raised on the vinegary stew called “adobo,” on the various noodle dishes called “pancit” and on spring roll-like “lumpia.” Mark was raised on typical American fare and Jewish specialties such as brisket.

Andrea and Mark Golden with their children Josh (9), Noah (3) and Bella (11)./AFR photo by Carol Hallowell

Andrea and Mark Golden with their children Josh (9), Noah (3) and Bella (11)./AFR photo by Carol Hallowell

“The very first time she cooked for me she made chicken adobo,” Mark says. “ It was awesome.”

Over the years, Mark has learned to make a mean adobo himself. And Andrea – who is a vegetarian — has perfected the art of brisket, not to mention matzo ball soup. Rather than keep all this goodness to themselves, they regularly share it with friends and family during holidays and at their Friday Shabbat dinners.

“For Shabbat we don’t do just Jewish food,” Andrea says, remembering a recent tofu stir-fry. “We’re trying to capture the spirit of Shabbat. It can be anything that brings our family together.”

— Text by Michele Kayal

— AFR video by Carol Hallowell





Makes 6 servings

Braised Brisket

Andrea Golden used brisket as a way to understand her husband's Jewish culture and to create a family tradition. When it's cooking, the aroma of beef and wine fills the whole house. Andrea adapted this recipe from one by the Food Network's Tyler Florence.


  • 1 (4-pound) beef brisket, first cut
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 3/4 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Drizzle brisket liberally with olive oil, then season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place a large Dutch oven or heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add roughly 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When oil is hot, place the meat in the pot and sear on both sides to form a brown crust. Remove from pot and set aside.

Add carrots, onion and celery to the pot. Brown the vegetables, then add garlic, tomatoes, red wine, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary and parsley.

Add the brisket back to the pot. Cover and place in the oven for 3 hours, or until the meat falls apart when touched with a fork.

Remove the brisket to a serving platter and let it rest for 15 minutes. Strain out the vegetables and pour off some of the fat. Pour remaining liquid over the brisket.

Slice the brisket across the grain and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Andrea Golden’s Chicken Adobo

This bare bones recipe is the one Andrea Golden used when she first introduced her husband Mark to the Filipino food she grew up with. Mark later perfected his own version.


  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • Handful minced garlic
  • Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 bay leaves, broken into pieces


Rub the chicken with garlic and pepper. In a bowl, stir together vinegar, soy sauce and bay leaf. Put the chicken in a pot and cover with liquid mixture. Cook on low heat for 1 hour, or until meat is cooked through.

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8 Responses to How a nice Filipino girl learned to cook brisket

  1. Marcie Ferris April 20, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    You can feel the love! This is SO SO beautiful!!!!!

  2. Betty Ann @Mango_Queen April 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    What a nice story & great recipes! Love to see another fellow Filipino on American Food Roots! Mabuhay!

    • Profile photo of Michele Kayal
      Michele Kayal April 21, 2013 at 6:28 am #

      BettyAnn, isn’t it a great story? Apparently Andrea’s husband, Mark, has learned how to make a really good adobo. The love goes both ways.!

  3. Mylene Ahmad April 21, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    Love it!!! Can’t wait to make your brisket and adobo.

    • Profile photo of Michele Kayal
      Michele Kayal April 21, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      Mylene, the brisket truly is to die for. It’s different from other briskets I’ve known, which have had a sort of sweet chili sauce. This is more like a really good stew.

  4. Emily Gleichenhaus April 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Thanks for the recipes! My son loved the Filipino Adobo dish he had once and it will be fun to try it with this recipe. I think the one we tried before was beef. I assume this same recipe would work for beef, too? Thank you!

    • Profile photo of Michele Kayal
      Michele Kayal April 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

      Emily, more likely it was pork. Whatever you try, please let us know how it turns out!

  5. Wendy April 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Thank you for your feature – it’s very nice to read something that brings people especially families together. Food is definitely a big part of that. Thanks for publishing the recipes also. I hope readers will try and make them cause they are definitely delish. I’ve been privileged partake in Andrea’s brisket and Mark’s adobo – and what a wonderful experience. I hope you enjoy them too.