This succulent, tender brisket with its robust and aromatic sauce is well worth the time it takes to prepare. The prunes completely break down under pressure, giving the sauce body and sweetness, while the smoked paprika, cinnamon and bay leaf make it fragrant and complex. Serve this with buttered noodles if you want to go the full-on comfort food route, or with polenta or roasted potatoes for something a little more sophisticated.
Technique tip: To cook this in a slow cooker, cut meat into 6 to 8 pieces and place in the pot. Cover the meat with the onion-carrot mixture. Cook on high for 6 to 8 hours or on low for 9 to 11 hours.
Swap option: If you don't love prunes, substitute other dried fruit like dried apples, raisins or dried apricots instead.
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pimentón (smoked hot paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 to 3½ pounds beef brisket, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 4 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
- 1 large white or Spanish onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/4 cup chopped prunes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, salt, pimentón, black pepper and allspice. Add the beef to the bowl and rub the garlic mixture all over the meat, then top with the sprigs of thyme. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
2. Using the sauté function, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the pressure cooker pot. Pull the thyme sprigs off the beef and reserve. Working in batches, add the beef to the pot and sear until browned all over, about 2 minutes per side, taking care to brown all sides of the meat, and adding more oil as needed. Transfer the beef to a plate as it's done browning.
3. If the pot looks dry, add a bit more oil. Add the onion and sauté, scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot, until the onions are golden at the edges, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomato paste and sauté until it darkens, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the beef to the pot and add the wine, carrots, prunes, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and reserved thyme sprigs.
5. Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then manually release the remaining pressure.
6. Transfer the beef to a plate or a carving board, preferably with a juice groove to catch the liquid, and tent with foil to keep warm. Using the sauté function, simmer the remaining sauce in the pressure cooker until it thickens to taste, about 20 minutes. Use a fat-separator to skim the fat, or let the sauce settle and spoon the fat off the top. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and thyme sprigs. Add any juices from the cutting board to the sauce.
7. Slice the beef and serve with the sauce alongside.
"Comfort in an Instant" © 2018 by Melissa Clark. Clarkson Potter/ Penguin Random House, LLC.
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