« Recipe for roasted chickpea salad with creamy tahini dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free} | Main | The Pantry Quiz #76 »

Recipe for Mediterranean beef brisket (pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop)

Mediterranean beef brisket, made fast (in the pressure cooker) or slow.

When I was a little girl, I witnessed a pressure cooker explosion in my grandmother's kitchen. I can't remember exactly what it was that ended up on her ceiling, but the impression that experience left on me remains, to this day, one of my kitchen nightmares. In a million years, I never expected to be in close promixity to a pressure cooker again, yet thanks to my friend Kalyn, I not only own an electric pressure cooker, but I'm kind of falling in love with it. The first time I pulled the machine out of the box, I made a batch of black beans, without presoaking, in less than an hour. They were perfect, and my kitchen did not blow up. As I learn more about this machine and how to make it work for me, I'm trying a few more recipes. Some have worked, and some have not, but one I really love (and made several times to get the timing right) is this beef brisket with Provencal-style seasoning. Cook it fast, in the pressure cooker, or cook it slow. Like all brisket, it's better on the second day. Now, tell me: do you use a pressure cooker?

Mediterranean beef brisket, with tomato and herbs (The Perfect Pantry).

Mediterranean beef brisket (pressure cooker, slow cooker or stovetop)

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, canned chopped tomato, thyme, garlic, Dijon mustard, red wine, olive oil.

Pressure cooker version of this recipe adapted from the booklet that came with my Cuisinart 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker. Serves 6-8.


1 2- to 2-1/2 lb beef brisket
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence (or 1 Tbsp dried thyme leaf)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, drained (discard liquid)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry red wine (for slow cooker or stovetop, use entire bottle of wine)

Directions (pressure cooker)

Trim the fat on the brisket to no more than 1/4-inch thick (leave some fat on the meat, to help keep it moist while it cooks). Season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper.

Set the pressure cooker to Browning, and add the olive oil. When the pot is hot, brown the meat on all sides. Remove the meat and set aside on a platter. Turn the cooker off.

Reset the cooker to Sauté, and add the onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the herbs, tomato, mustard and wine. Cook for 4 minutes. Turn the cooker off, and return the meat to the pot. Use a spoon to top it with some of the tomato mixture.

Cover the pot and lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure, and set the timer for 45 minutes. When the cooker beeps at the end of that time, use Natural Pressure Release for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure (follow instructions for Quick Pressure Release that came with your pressure cooker). When the float valve drops, remove the lid carefully, tilting it away from you to allow the steam to escape safely.

Remove the meat from the cooker and set on a serving platter. Use a slotted spoon to extract some of the tomato and onion from the pot, and top the meat with the vegetable mixture. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes.

Serve hot, or allow to cool completely, wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

Directions (slow cooker)

Trim the meat as described above, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium heat in a nonstick frying pan, and brown the meat thoroughly on all sides.

Add the meat to a 4-quart slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Use an entire bottle of red wine, to cover the meat. Cook on LOW for 8 hours, until the meat is tender.

Remove the meat from the cooker and set on a serving platter. Use a slotted spoon to extract some of the tomato and onion from the pot, and top the meat with the vegetable mixture. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes.

Directions (stovetop)

Prepare the meat as described above. In a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat, and brown the meat thoroughly on all sides.

Add all remaining ingredients. Use an entire bottle of red wine, to cover the meat.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover, and cook for 3-1/2 to 4 hours, until the meat is tender.

Remove the meat from the pot and set on a serving platter. Use a slotted spoon to extract some of the tomato and onion from the pot, and top the meat with the vegetable mixture. Let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More brisket, because I love it and can never have too much:
Slow cooker barbecue beef brisket
Oven-barbecued brisket
Oven-braised apple cider brisket
Grandma's beef brisket
Slow cooker Southwestern beef brisket

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Crunchy oven baked fries with herbes de Provence, from Joy the Baker
Roasted leeks with herbs de Provence, from Inspired Taste
Julia's stuffed tomatoes Provencal, from Ezra Pound Cake
Zucchini and summer squash gratin with herbs de Provence, from Healthy. Delicious.
Provencal tomato soup, from The Dogs Eat the Crumbs

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I never witnessed a pressure cooker mess as a kid but heard about them that I never got one until last month! I got an electronic one after a blogger I love convinced me with her pressure cooker blog that I needed one. So far only used it once with chicken and it worked very very well and easy. The meal was done before my stovetop rice was. Can't wait to give your recipe a try. Sounds delicious! Thank you!

I have had a stove top pressure cooker for years and LOVE IT------they put so many safety valves in the newer ones thus I cannot imagine it would explode. I have never heard of an electric one.

Winnie, I never would have bought one, ever, but once I got over the fear of explosion, I've discovered that there are some things it's really good for (like a soup recipe I'll post in a couple of weeks). I'm grateful for some good pressure cooking blogs that I've turned to for guidance in these early days.

PJ, once you see an explosion, you never get that image out of your head. This new electric one does seem to have a lot of safeguards, and I'm looking forward to getting better acquainted with it. What are your favorite things to make in the pressure cooker?

I am so happy that you're enjoying the pressure cooker, and I'm loving the sound of this recipe!

Kalyn, thanks for the push! I am working on a few more recipes and enjoying the process of learning more about the pressure cooker.

I was not at Grandma's when it happened but the pressure cooker explosion became part of our family lore. I seem to recall being told it was green beans that ended up being cleaned off the ceiling!

Martin, I honestly can't remember anything except how loudly I screamed! You'd be impressed with how well I'm taking to this new electric pressure cooker that does everything automatically.

I do love my pressure cooker! I have Lorna Sass's books, full of wonderful recipes, but I use it almost entirely for cooking beans. Soaked, brought to pressure, black beans cook in 8-10 minutes, and yield the equivalent of 3 1/2 cans. My mother's pressure cooker lived in the deep recesses of the kitchen cupboard, and I don't remember her using it. No disaster stories, though.
I love your Southwest Brisket - without the brisket, it makes a tasty vegetarian stew. We had it again last night, with more veggies and seitan and tempeh, over rice. Last time in the oven to roast butternut squash halves, and polenta. Great sauce!

Susan, you're the only person I know who would make a brisket recipe without the brisket! I've bought one of Lorna Sass's books, too.

My grandmother and my mother got their Mirror pressure cookers in the late 40's - early 50's. They used them everyday for many years. I never witnessed any problem with explosions. I have used mine and now the ones they owned for almost 50 years with no problems. I recently purchased an electric pressure cooker and I am finding it is easy to use the old recipes and to try newer recipes with the electric cooker.

M4layne, what are the differences between the old pressure cooker and the new electric one? I think that the pressure is lower on hi pressure setting in the electric cookers, but that's all I know.

Lydia, The old Mirror-Matic pressure cookers have a round pressure control that goes on the vent tube on the lid. The control has a 5 lb hole, a 10 lb hole and a 15 lb hole. You place the round control on the vent tube according to the recipe. (I have the original recipe directions for our cookers) When the cooker reaches the correct pressure the control will jiggle and sputter. At that point you reduce the heat until the control only jiggles about 1-3 times a minute. You count cooking time from the point of the first jiggle. After the cooking time is reached you remove the cooker from the heat and allow pressure to drop before removing the mirro-mattic control.
There are other ways to reduce the pressure explained in the book.

The 4 qt pressure cooker can be used for pressure canning in half Pint and Pint and Quart jars. We did not use it for canning. We had a very large pressure cooker for our canning jobs.

I hope this helps. I would think that the explosions happened when all of the liquid was cooked out of the cooker or when the heat was not reduced when the proper pressure was reached.

My Mum was cooking tripe in white sauce once in the pressure cooker, and it exploded covering the ceiling of the kitchen. As a child it looked spectacular. It was the last time a pressure cooker was seen in the house. Now 50 years later I have an electric one and what a beauty it is. So good for curries, corned beef, and steamed puddings. More pressure cooker recipes needed Susan.

"Americas test kitchen" did a review of pressure cookers on PBS TV show. including electric ones in 2013, I think; I cannot remember the results accurately; surely one of the readers has that info

I love my Fagor pressure cooker. I use it with an induction cooktop because of the built-in timer. If the recipe is natural release then it is set and forget it after you come to pressure and set the timer as the timer turns off the induction stove top. I love Miss Vickie’s web site and her big cookbook of pressure cooker recipes (400 recipes and everything you ever wanted to know about pressure cookers) and complete guide to the workings of a pressure. In number two spot is Laura Pazzaglia’s web site Hip Pressure Cooking for additional guides to pressure cooking from a European perspective with plenty of recipes and infographics charts.

m4layne, thanks for the additional information. I have even more appreciation for my electric pressure cooker now, as it takes care of the timing for you!

Wayne, the image of tripe hanging from the ceiling will stay with me for a while.

Shirley, I'll look it up. Thanks.

Ken, I've discovered both of those sites and one more I think you'd like: Pressure Cooking Today. Barbara, the blogger there, uses the exact same pressure cooker I have, which makes it easy for me as I'm just starting out.

Lydia, when I lived in Rhode Island I used to have an old jiggle type pressure cooker I would use for canning my garden vegetables.

I gave my brother a Cuisinart 6-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker for Christmas and he loves it.

I have a standard Fagor Futuro 6-qt. pressure cooker which has two pressure settings 15 lb. high and 8 lb. low with optional additional trivet, steamer basket, steamer rack, steam roast pan, silicone dessert kit and glass lid.

Electric Pressure Cookers have two pressure settings 10 lb. high and 5 lb. low.

Unless the recipe expressively indicates it is written for an electric pressure cooker you must assume it is written for regular standard pressure cookers.

To adjust the recipe for electric pressure cookers you must add 20% more time to the recipe due to the lower cooking pressure.

I also use an induction cooktop because it is 60% more efficient cooking than using natural gas, ceramic cooktop or electric stove.

I have 9 pressure cooker recipe books with over 2,000 recipes of all types of cuisine and one book specializing in only authentic Hawaii Regional Cuisine cooked in a pressure cooker or in a slow cooker.

By the way, Instant Pot Company out of Ottawa, Canada is releasing the third generation of their electric pressure cooker March 2014. Instant Pot IP-DUO60 is a 6 qt. electric pressure cooker with 7 functions: $179.95 USD.

It includes 3-ply bottom stainless steel cooking pot, stainless steel steam rack with handle, rice paddle, soup spoon, and measuring cup. Instructions, recipes, and cooking time tables in English, Spanish, Chinese and French.

It is UL and ULC certified with 10 proven safety mechanisms; highly energy efficient and kitchen friendly.

There is an optional professional grade tempered glass lid with a steam-release vent and stainless steel rim, additional 3-ply bottom stainless steel cooking pot and aluminum with non-stick coating cooking pot.

Here is the big kicker to the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 appliance, it is a 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker--Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, sauté/browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer with large, easy to use control panel with 14 built-in smart programs, dual pressure, automatic keep-warm, and 3 temperatures for sauté/browning and slow cooker and has delay cooking time up to 24-Hours; manual setting up to 120 minutes of cook time. One countertop appliance in place of 5 countertop appliances.

Ken, I wanted to make my life easier by spending $150 in the instant pot from canada... i ordered in january and got it in march! i have very few recipes and mainly i am used to the crockpot. Can you please help me with family friendly recipes? I tried to return the pot but the company said they will only reimburse me 50% and i must pay the shipping to canada. i am so frustrated!

Can't wait to try this on my electric pressure cooker. I have 2 questions:

1) My cooker, like most electric models, ask for a minimum of 1.5 cups of liquid in order to achieve pressure. There doesn't appear to be enough liquid here, especially if you drain the tomatoes. Should I use 1 cup water or stock? (I don't drink wine) That and the tomatoes should be approx 1.5 cup liquid.

2) I don't have a Sauté mode, only Brown. Can I sauté in Brown mode? Thanks!

Thanks for the recipe. Looks like possibilities for me, though I'm amused by the instructions for an electric pressure cooker which has settings for 'browning' and 'sauté', neither of which is given on my pressure cooker, which is simply...not electric. You put the meat in and brown it, then remove the meat and then sautée the rest, then add the meat back in and cook at high pressure. Not much different, I suppose.

I've always used a pressure cooker but yes I saw my mother blow beans all over the kitchen before so Ive never cooked beans in one. My favorite thing is Swiss Steak. I use a cheap cut of beef, slice onions and green pepper rings on the top, season and add a can of tomatoes over it all. I pressure 15lbs for 45 minutes. The broth can be thickened for gravy or used as is thin. We love it and usually have all the stuff to make it handy. It just has a great flavor my husband loves.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.