Spinach Pesto Brisket is a unique way to prepare this popular beef cut. This recipe is designed for the Instant Pot® pressure cooker. However, if you do not have one, the recipe is easily adapted to other automatic pressure cookers. Consult the manual for your particular machine to make any potential adjustments. This dish is actually even better if you make it the day before and reheat, like most briskets. It may also be frozen.
The Author Says: “The best part of my never-ending book tour is that I pick up new friends along the way. I met Edna Schrank the first of four times I was invited to speak at Congregation Beth Sholom of Northbrook, Illinois, a truly vibrant community in the Chicago suburbs. She is a leader in her shul and the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism, a devoted mother and grandmother, and an obsessive cook and baker. She is also one of my best recipe testers. We came up with this idea together. –Paula Shoyer
Spinach Pesto Brisket Recipe
1 (4- to 5-pound [2kg- to 2.2kg]) second-cut brisket, cut in half
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tablespoons almonds
24 (about 1-ounce/28g) large basil leaves
1 cup (30g) loosely packed spinach leaves
6 Tablespoons (90ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 Tablespoons oil
2 large onions, halved and sliced
1/2 cup (118ml) water
Kosher salt to taste
Press Saute and make sure the device shows 30 minutes. When the display reads “Hot,” add half of the meat to the inner pot and brown for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, until you see some crispy parts. Remove to a plate. Repeat for the other brisket half. Remove to the plate.
While the meat is browning, place the garlic and almonds into the bowl of the food processor and process until finely ground and they stick to the sides of the bowl. Scrape down the sides. Add the basil leaves and spinach and process until they are in very tiny pieces. Scrape down the bowl again and process for a few more seconds. Leave the machine on and pour the olive oil in slowly until it is all mixed in. Add the salt and pepper and pulse a few times.
When all of the meat has been browned and removed to a plate, add the oil and onions to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned. Add the water, let boil, and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot clean. Press Cancel.
Use a silicone spatula to spread 2 tablespoons of the pesto on top of each of the pieces of browned meat. If you have more than two pieces, divide the 1/4 cup (59ml) of pesto among them. Return the meat to the pot, pesto side-up, overlapping. Cover the remaining pesto with plastic and store in the fridge.
Secure the lid, ensuring that the steam release handle is in the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button and set the cooking time for 70 minutes. When the cooking time is complete, let sit for 5 minutes to naturally release the pressure. Turn the steam release handle to the Venting position to release any remaining pressure. Press Cancel and remove the lid.
Remove the meat to a pan you can use to rewarm the brisket.
Press Saute and when the mixture bubbles, add the reserved pesto, reserving 1-1/2 tablespoons to add just before serving. Stir and cook for 4 minutes. Ladle some of the sauce on top of the meat so that at least half of the meat is submerged. Add some pepper on top and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Cover the meat and refrigerate until serving. Place the remaining sauce into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until reheating.
Remove the fat from the meat and the sauce. Slice against the grain into 1/3-inch (8mm) slices, and if you are freezing the brisket, pour the remaining sauce and pesto on top and stir in. Cover tightly and freeze.
To serve the next day, cover the pan with foil and heat at 325 F (162 C) for 30 minutes, or until warm. Remove the foil, and add the remaining pesto by spooning some on top of the meat and stir some into the sauce. Reheat the remaining sauce and serve alongside.
Yield: 8 servings
GLUTEN-FREE, MEAT, PASSOVER
HANDS-ON TIME: 28 Minutes, best made the day before for neater slices
TIME TO PRESSURE: 9 Minutes
COOKING TIME: 70 Minutes
BUTTONS TO USE: Saute and Pressure Cook
RELEASE TYPE: Natural Release for 5 Minutes
ADVANCE PREP: May be made 2 days in advance or frozen
Reprinted with express permission.
Spinach Pesto Brisket Recipe Photo ©2021 Bill Milne