NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

November 28, 2012

Pressure cooker speeds up a classic Hanukkah dish

The nice thing about cooking a monster brisket for Hanukkah — aside, of course, from the fact that the meat can be mouth meltingly delicious — is that it is a dish you can mostly ignore as it cooks.

Season a massive hunk of brisket, toss it in a Dutch oven with some liquid, then pop it in a 275 F oven for the better part of a day. Done. And delicious.

And that’s what I planned to do for this recipe. Until I realized that while that approach does leave the cook free to do other things, it also monopolizes the oven. And it does so at such a low temperature that it becomes difficult to share the space with other dishes you might want to prepare.

So instead, I turned to that most terrifying — and misunderstood — of kitchen tools, the pressure cooker. Modern pressure cookers are quite safe. Basically, they lock in moisture and — thanks to the pressure seal — are able to cook at a higher temperature. The result is fast, even cooking that won’t dry out your food.

Which means my sweet-and-tangy barbecue brisket sliders cook in about 11/2 hours instead of all day. And the hands-on time is the same.

SWEET-AND-TANGY BARBECUE BRISKET SLIDERS

Start to finish: 1 hour 45 minutes (15 minutes active)

Servings: 10

4-pound brisket, trimmed of fat, cut into 3 or 4 pieces

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

2 cups water

15-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Slider buns

Season the brisket on all sides with salt and pepper.

In a large pressure cooker over medium-high, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the brisket and sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until well browned.

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