There’s no particular reason for that obscure reference to Easter Everywhere, the second album by cult favorite 1960s band The 13th Floor Elevators other than the fact that it mentions Easter and today's recipe is for Pressure Cooker Leg of Lamb, in my famous just barely in time for the holiday fashion (but it's good for any time). It is a dang good album, though. Give it a listen if you are a fan of Psychedelic Music.
Now back to food-related matters. I was tempted to call it Leg o' Lamb, but then I would hate myself because I get annoyed at such things as replacing the word "of" with "o'", and don't even get me started on "fixin's". So Pressure Cooker Leg of Lamb (With Yogurt Sauce) it is.
I am going to include separate recipes for the yogurt sauce and the lamb just to simplify things a bit, even though the sauce isn't a pressure cooker recipe.
It's best to make the sauce first so you can pop it in the fridge to let the flavors blend while you work on the lamb.
I used a boneless leg of lamb, since the bone-in ones at the store didn't look like they would fit in my pressure cooker.
The lamb I used was 3-1/2 lbs., so the time will need to be adjusted some if you have a larger or smaller piece of lamb.
It was nice of the store to include the decorative and photogenic bit of rosemary in the package.
Boneless lamb usually comes already dressed in one of these sexy fishnet numbers. If yours does not you will have to tie yours up S&M style. Before you get out the leather straps and handcuffs, S&M stands for String and Meat (OK, I just made that up, but really, if your lamb doesn't have netting, roll it up and fasten with butcher twine.
So first, let's do the sauce. It would probably work with low-fat yogurt, but I used full-fat Greek Yogurt, because let's face it, it tastes so much better (and it doesn't include those weird gums and whatnot that are used to make the lowfat ones thicker). Also, I haven't tried this with dried herbs, it would probably work, but would take away the nice, fresh flavor that comes from using fresh herbs, so use dried only as a last resort.
Use fresh lemon as well.
Finely chop the dill and mint, zest the lemon (I never used to use zest until I got one of these Microplane gizmos, now I'm a zesting fool) and mix it together with a cup of yogurt. Add a little salt and white pepper, too.
You could whisk it if you don't have an immersion blender, but I mixed it up with the Bamix. It blends the flavor a little better, and gives it a nice greenish color.
Not the most attractive concoction before blending, I know.
I put it in one of the these sqeezie deals so I could make cool squiggles on the lamb, but you could just put it in a bowl and plop it on old school.
Once that is all mixed, stick it in the fridge to get it out of the way, clear away the sauce ingredients and work on that lamb which has been taken out of the fridge befor you made the sauce, right?
I used a “wet” rub, which could also be used as a marinade if you have the forethought to do it ahead of time and let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours, which unfortunately I did not.
In a bowl or measuring cup, add 1 cup olive oil, a heaping tablespoon Herbes de Provence (I use this spice blend so often that I buy the jumbo bag, so I don't need to see my Herbes dealer as often), a tablespoon of dijon mustard, juice of a lemon and some white pepper. I add some salt slightly later. I used the Bamix to blend this mixture as well (even though I have been lusting after a Vitamix, I have found the Bamix to be one of the most useful things I have ever purchased).
Once you've got the rub all blended, go to town on that lamb. Rub that baby all over, bottom and top. make sure you have the lamb sitting on a large platter or something with sides that isn't going to make a big mess (I should have followed my own advice).
Let the lamb be for a minute while you put a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. When the oil gets hot, put the lamb in the cooker and brown on all sides.
After the lamb is browned, remove it to a platter and sauté the onion in the pot.
When the onions are translucent, add wine, Worcestershire sauce, and the spice bag (or cheesecloth packet) with the bay leaf, peppercorns and cardamom pods (cracked first).
Add salt and pepper to your liking at this point.
Turn heat to high and add the lamb back to the pot.
You know the drill, put the top on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, set timer for 35 minutes (This will result in lamb ranging from rare to medium depending what part of meat it is cut from. If you don't like it so pink, try 45 minutes. you can always bring it back up to pressure for a few more minutes if it is not to your liking). Temperature should be 135-140 for medium-rare. Around 160 if you don't want pink.
Let the pressure come down naturally, remove lid, put lamb on platter and tent with foil. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes.
Remove the netting, slice the meat, plate it and top with the Dill Mint Yogurt sauce.
Check out those cool squiggles that I mentioned earlier!
I leaned a little to the Mediterranean side of things with this, serving it with some Turmeric-Cardommom rice and a tomato-cucumber salad. You could easily serve it with more traditional Easter sides like mashed or boiled potatoes and a green vegetable of some sort.
Give it a try, it's pretty lamb good!
Now that I’ve been doing this blog for six months or so, I like to think I’m getting a little better at it, or at least “less bad”.
To that end, I’ve been going back over some of my earlier posts, and I have noticed that some, the Pressure Cooker Grits post in particular, could use some clarification. On my grits post, I didn’t really go into much depth regarding the “pan in pot” method that I used in order to keep the grits from sticking to the pan, and I can see how it could easily be confusing, especially for anybody that is relatively new to pressure cooking.
Since “Pressure Cooker Grits” is one of the top search terms that brings people to my site, I decided that instead of just trying to put a “Band-Aid” on the original post, it would be better to just do a brand spankin’ new post on pressure cooker grits, so here it is!
I know it’s getting right down to the wire, but at first I wasn’t planning on doing a St. Patrick’s day recipe, then I thought “What the hell? I have to post about something!” I just had to decide what Irish dish I could prepare in the pressure cooker.
I guess the reason I wasn’t that excited about a St. Patrick’s recipe is that I didn’t want to make the same old corned beef and cabbage (a meal that has most Irish people I know scratching their heads and thinking “what does that have to do with Irish food?” Nor did I want to take something that is not normally green and make it green, thereby proclaiming it “Irish”.
I started doing a little research on Irish food, and came across ”Coddle”, also known as “Dublin Coddle”. Coddle is, like many things I come across, one of those things where everybody’s mom made it different, and everyone’s mom made it the best. It also seems to be one of those things where the memory is fonder than the actual thing. Mention Coddle to some and they have unpleasant flashbacks to a mushy grey mass plopped on a plate that they were forced to eat in their youth. Much like meatloaf in the U.S., to some it is the ultimate comfort food, to others,they run screaming just at the mere mention of meatloaf, with visions of a grey slab of mystery meat, swimming in matching grey gravy alongside lumpy mashed potatoes.
So this morning, after deciding to make pressure cooker coddle, it was off to the Saturday farmer’s market to find the ingredients, or as many as I could find at the farmer’s market. I used local ingredients, so I didn’t use authentic Irish Bacon or Sausage. Irish bacon is closer to ham than it is to American bacon anyway, so I substituted ham for the bacon and some fresh pork bratwurst for the sausage. Any potatoes should work, but I bought a mix of purple and red ones, mainly because I thought they looked cool, and to take some of the “greyness” away from the dish. And because I didn’t want to be labled a heretic for making a green-free Saint Paddy’s dish, I decided to top it with flat-leaf parsley, and threw in a leek for good measure.
I have updated this post to include a few more details.
Everybody loves sausage. Be it the lowly bratwurst or the newer, more exotic varieties such as ostrich, alligator or the ultra-exotic unicorn with gold flakes and diamond dust (I’m beginning to think that I may have dreamed that last one). But judging by the number of people who end up at my blog after searching for things such as “how to cook sausage in pressure cooker”, many people seem to be wondering “how in the hell do I cook these things?” Have no fear, my friends. I will do my best to walk you through it.
Now, I am not talking about the pre-cooked type of sausage that just needs to be heated through. Just slap those on the grill and Bob’s yer uncle.
No, I mean the “fresh” sausage, the kind that is completely raw. I often end up burning the casing before the center is done all the way through. I know the trick is to simmer in a small amount of water and when the water cooks away, then brown the outside, but I have never gotten a firm grasp on this method. Either I don’t have enough water, or I have too much. I have eaten enough burnt and/or rubbery sausage and ended up with more than my share of difficult to clean pans to know that when it comes to cooking raw sausage, nothing beats the pressure cooker. I always wind up with moist, perfectly cooked sausage.
I have already featured a couple of sausage based recipes (check out my Oktoberfest and Currywurst recipes). But I thought I would include something more general, so that you may adapt it to any recipe you like.
I usually have a sausage meal at least once or twice a week. I know, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but it might just be the tastiest. I try to at least “healthitize” it a bit by getting the uncured, no nitrate sausages. Once difficult to come by, they seem to be getting easier to find, even in the regular supermarket. I also try to have a lot of vegetable items with it to kind of balance things out (even though the vegetable items may amount to sauerkraut or onions and peppers, they are vegetables just the same.)
I always try to have a package or two of sausage in the fridge for those evenings when I need something quick, such as when I have to work late.
Usually I brown the sausages first, remove them to a plate, sauté any vegetables I may be adding, deglaze with a little beer or wine, then put the sausages back in the pressure cooker on top of whatever you may be having them with.
You can basically just put sausages in with any recipe you might be making.
One of my favorites in Sauerkraut and sausage. I usually just dump in the sauerkraut and add the sausage on top (sometimes I brown it, sometimes not). There is usually plenty of liquid in the sauerkraut. If it doesn’t come up to the minimum line on your pressure cooker, just add a little beer or water to make up the difference, then bring to high pressure for 5 minutes. Time may vary slightly depending on the size of the sausages, but 5 minutes seems to work almost all of the time.
Another way I like to prepare sausages is with onions and peppers. Sometimes I might just sauté 2-3 sliced onions and a couple bell peppers, then add some beer and water or broth, then put the sausages on top (again, browned or not). The onions and peppers make quite a bit of liquid themselves, so after you sauté them, add just enough liquid to come up to the minimum line. If using beer or wine, be aware that once the lid is on the pressure cooker, the alcohol doesn’t evaporate. When using wine, I usually don’t like to use more than 1/4 cup (I have a couple recipes where I use more, but this is a good rule of thumb). For beer, most of the time I don’t use more than 1/2 bottle (again, I make some exceptions). For sausage with peppers and onions I have made them with the liquid as described above, but have also made them with marinara sauce. For this method, I sauté the onions and peppers, pour in a jar of sauce and add a little beer, wine or water. Five minutes at high pressure and you are set.
If you just want to pre-cook the sausage to use for something else such as grilling, always use the steamer basket, as placing the sausage directly on the bottom of the pot will net you a meal resembling something the walkers on The Walking Dead might enjoy.
Just add the minimum amount of liquid for your particular pressure cooker, add whatever liquid you would like. I usually use beer, water or a combination. Place your steamer insert (most pressure cookers come with one) in the pot, place the sausages on the steamer insert, place lid on the cooker and steam for 4-5 minutes. If you are going to use them in another recipe, go for the shorter time.
Following these simple rules will get you perfect sausages every time. So, give it a try, and happy sausageing!
I have made a quick Thai-style pressure cooker chicken curry a few times before, but this time I decided to make it more of a one-pot meal and add some cabbage as well (although I did make some rice in a separate pan. As often happens, just when I think I have come up with a totally unique recipe, I search on the web just to check, and what should come up, but a recipe very similar to the one that I had just made on a blog I had never come across before, called Paleo Pot.
Despite the similarities, I decided to post my version anyway, since whereas that version requires 4 hours of simmering in a crock pot (I have included a link to the crock pot version if you happen to use a crock pot), my pressure cooker version can be on your table in less than an hour, including prep time. In fact, I usually try to keep a jar of curry paste and a can of coconut milk on hand for those evenings when I don’t have a lot of time.
The cabbage turns out to be a good match for the chicken and coconut, and I will definitely be using this particular combination again.
Oh, and pay no attention to the tomato paste in the ingredients “group photo”. I had originally planned to use it, but once the whole thing started coming together, it was unceremoniously dropped from the lineup.
I like to serve it with turmeric rice. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!