Pressure Cooker Brisket With Mac & Cheese


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.

Mac & Cheese:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed
1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces macaroni
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped chives, for garnish

  1. Using the sauté function, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the pressure cooker pot. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and set aside. Let the pressure cooker pot cool to room temperature (this is quicker if you remove the pot from the cooker).

  2. In a blender, blend the milk, heavy cream, cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of the butter, the garlic (if using), 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne and nutmeg until smooth.

  3. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoon softened butter over the bottom and a bit up the sides of the cooled pressure cooker pot. Add the cream cheese mixture and macaroni to the pot and stir to combine.

  4. Lock the lid into place and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes. Manually release the pressure.

  5. Stir the macaroni, adding more milk if it looks too dry. Taste a piece of pasta; if it’s too al dente, stir in the mushrooms, Gruyère, fontina and Parmesan, then cover the pot with the lid (but don’t lock it on), and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes; the noodles will cook a little more in the residual heat of the pot. Otherwise, add the mushrooms and cheeses and stir until the cheeses melt, then taste and add more salt if necessary. Top with the chives and serve immediately.