Spinach Pesto Brisket
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.
Servings Prep Time
8people 30minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
8people 30minutes
Cook Time
  • 1 4- to 5-lbs second-cut brisketcut in half (118ml)
  • 3 garlic clovespeeled
  • 2tbsp Almonds
  • 24 large basil leavesabout 1-ounce (28g)
  • 1cup loosely packed spinach leaves30g
  • 6tbsp extra-virgin olive oil90ml
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepperplus more to taste
  • 2tbsp oil
  • 2 large Onionshalved and sliced
  • 1/2cup Water118ml
  • Kosher salt to taste
  1. Press Sauté 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Use a silicone spatula to spread 2 tbsp 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove the meat to a pan you can use to rewarm the brisket.
  7. Press Sauté and when the mixture bubbles, add the reserved pesto, reserving 1 1/2 tbsp 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.