When I was a youngster, probably my least favorite thing to eat was split pea soup. I absolutely hated it. Just the thought of it brought visions of the Exorcist. No, the movie wasn’t even out yet. I mean the actual exorcist. I wasn’t a very well-behaved kid so my parents brought in an exorcist once a month to give me a “tune up”. Not really, I kid, I kid!
But seriously, I couldn’t stand split pea soup, but I had never eaten a homemade version. It was always from a can. On a good day, it might be from the familiar red and white can, which was only slightly less disgusting. But most of the time it was the dreaded “store brand”, words that send shivers down my spine.
Then one day recently, while watching one of the many cooking shows that I watch, or “my stories” as I refer to them, I saw a recipe for split pea soup, and thought “hmmmm, that looks pretty good”, (I think it was this recipe) so I decided to set aside my former opinion and give it a shot.
My opinion has completely changed. I am sure that if you were to set a bowl of that grayish mush from a can in front of me, I would still hate it, but now I know that, as with most things, there are good versions and bad versions. And I like to believe that this is a good version.
Remember that when cooking any grain or legume in the pressure cooker, never fill it over 1/2 full.
Start by chopping up some onion, celery, carrots, garlic and ham. I only had two celery stalks in the ingredients picture, but I decided to add another at the last minute.
Heat up some oil and sauté the onion, celery carrot and ham for about five minutes or so, until the onion starts to become translucent.
Add in the garlic and continue for another minute or so.
Now toss in the Herbes De Provence, cayenne and a little salt and pepper and cook for another 30 seconds or so.
Add the peas.
Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, chicken stock and water.
Toss the Bay Leaves in, cover the pressure cooker and turn the heat to high.
When high pressure is reached, lower the heat to maintain high pressure and set the timer for fifteen minutes.
When time is up. let the pressure come down on its own.
When pressure is released, open pressure cooker very carefully.
Give it a stir to break up the peas.
Serve it with toppings of your choice. A little cubed ham, some Feta cheese. And I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought onion rings would go great with this. So the next day, I served the leftovers with onion rings on the side and topped each bowl with an onion ring. And it turned out my hunch was right, they went great together!
As an added bonus, this is a perfect way to use up that leftover Easter ham!
Sneak Peek, or not? How to use that leftover Easter ham.
Ok, I’ve been wrestling with whether to post this recipe or not. I don’t know if its uniqueness is enough to warrant a post.
With the number of recipes for pressure cooker Split Pea soup around, I don’t know if there is enough to differentiate this one from the innumerable others.
I was wondering whether I should post this or not, but all I know is that as a kid, I hated split pea soup. Of course I had never even tasted split pea soup that didn’t come in a can that had to be mixed with a can or two of water. Nasty stuff.
So, I decided to try and make some “non-gross” split pea soup. I figured that since I like soups of red and yellow lentils, why wouldn’t I like soup made of split peas, since it is essentially the same thing. And my hunch was correct, this is delicious.
So, I am still trying to decide if I should post the recipe or not. At the moment I am thinking yes.
Check back on the weekend to see if I decide to post this, or if I come up with something new. Stay tuned!
Since Easter is right around the corner, I thought it was time to add another lamb recipe to my repertoire.
One of the more popular dishes in Kashmiri cuisine, Rogan Josh Wikipedia description here is one of those things that no matter how you do it, everyone is going to tell you that you are doing it wrong and that it is “not authentic”, but don’t let that deter you. I’m not claiming that this is authentic, just good.
My version probably leans a little more towards the version you would get at a British Curry House, but since I have never been to a British Curry House, I cannot verify that either. Much like Chili and Gumbo, there is the Tomato/No Tomato debate here as well. And yes, I do use tomatoes. A lot of recipes use yogurt, but I use some coconut milk, mainly because it works so well in the pressure cooker. I do top it with a little yogurt, though. You can skip this if you would like a paleo version.
I found some good lamb at my local butcher and they even offered to cut it up for me, so I couldn’t very well turn that down. Either leg or shoulder would work well for this. The shoulder was a few bucks per pound cheaper, so shoulder it is!
I know two onions looks like a lot, but they will totally break down and you will end up with a tasty, oniony sauce.
Just as a lot of recipes start out, this one starts with browning the meat. I just brown it on one side. That is enough to add the caramelized flavor without taking too much time.
After the meat is browned and set aside on a plate, toss the onions in the pot, adding a little more oil if the pot looks dry. Let them cook until they start to darken just a bit, about ten minutes. Toss the garlic and ginger paste (or freshly grated ginger) in and sauté another minute or so.
Now its time to add the paprika, cayenne, cardamom, cumin, coriander, Chinese 5 spice, garam masala, fennel and turmeric. Sauté for just about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so nothing burns.
Pour in the tomatoes, coconut milk and water.
Now, return the meat to the pan and stir everything together.
Toss in a couple bay leaves, put the top on the pot, bring to high pressure and set time for 15 minutes.
Let the pressure come down for about ten minutes, then do a quick release.
If it looks really liquid, turn heat to medium and let it boil for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens a little.
Serve it on plates or bowls with rice and naan or pita bread.
I like to top it with a little yogurt, but you can leave it off if you want a paleo version.
Hippity Hoppity Easter’s On Its Way! Pressure Cooker Lamb Recipes!
I’ve noticed an increase in searches for Lamb recipes the closer it gets to Easter, so once again I’ve used the bad sitcom idea of the “clip show”, to bring you a “very special” Easter episode of Pressure Cooker Convert.
So here are links to a couple of pressure cooker lamb recipes perfect for your Easter meal. And if all goes well, I will have a brand new lamb recipe this weekend.
Man, I really had to switch gears on this week’s recipe. My plans were to post a recipe for chowder, until the last several days saw the mercury climbing ever higher (yeah, I know that no thermometers use mercury any more, but I really like the sound of it). It was pushing 80 F by the time I unstuck myself from the sheets this morning (no air conditioning in the apartment). Even in the morning, while it was slightly cooler, I could not imagine myself eating chowder later in the day.
So, I decided that I must figure out how to use the pressure cooker to make a salad. After many hours of head-scratching and brow-furrowing I decided to make a salad with grains and beans, which of course, can be made in the pressure cooker.
Cooking the barley and beans together, I was able to cut down on the time spent using appliances. And, using the Instant Pot it does not increase the temperature in the kitchen by any detectable amount.
Even so, it is probably a good idea to get the cooking part out of the way early while it is still relatively cool, then let it cool for awhile before you add in the other ingredients.
First, let’s just worry about getting the beans and barley ready. Yes, I know these days that there doesn’t seem to be any other grain besides quinoa, but I decided on barley. Beer is made from barley, and I like beer, so obviously barley is better than quinoa.
I wasn’t able to try this a couple times before posting it, but fortunately it turned out pretty well.
Put 4 cups of water, 1 cup of beans and 1 cup of pearl barley in the pressure cooker along with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and a bay leaf. For most dishes I would soak the beans overnight, but for this, I recommend just rinsing. For this, we want the beans to remain firm, not to break down like you would want for soup.
Bring to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
When time is up, remove from heat, wait 10 minutes then do a quick release.
Let it cool while you go somewhere air-conditioned to have breakfast (at least, that’s what I did).
When you get back, chop and slice and whatnot the various vegetables, cheese and meat. Mix it in with the beans and barley.
Now, let’s get to the dressing. In a blender or food processor, mix together the juice of 2 limes, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey (if making a vegan version, you can sub agave nectar), 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Go ahead and blenderize (yes, blenderize!) that mixture and when it is smooth pour over the salad and mix together.
It is best to let the flavors blend, so pop it in the fridge and go to the local pub for a brewski while the flavors meld.
When you get home, remove the whole deal from the fridge, mix it up again, and serve it up.
Enjoy, and make sure you have some ice cream on hand for dessert!
Of course not! There is no such thing as too many pressure cookers!
Last night, it suddenly occurred to me that I may have a problem. I was in the middle of preparing dinner when I realized I had three pressure cookers going at once. I thought nothing of it as I was getting everything started, it was just when I realized I was monitoring the time on three different devices when it hit me.
Some folks think about it a long time before deciding whether they really need just one pressure cooker. What will I do with it? Do I really like beans that much?
I like a good one-pot meal as much as the next guy, but when I’m cooking I tend to reach for a pressure cooker more often than any other pot or pan, no matter what I may be preparing.
So I guess it makes sense that if I am preparing three different things, I reach for three different pressure cookers.
I see each of my PCs as being better at certain things than the others. Last night for instance, I prepared Pork Tenderloin with a Balsamic Pan Sauce, Kale with Onions and Garlic, and Polenta.
As with any long, flat piece of meat, I immediately turned to the Fissler pressure pan. It’s wide, shallow depth is perfect for such a dish. And the bottom surface just seems to brown things a little better. Part of it is because the pan is wider, so I get more surface area without cutting the meat into smaller pieces.
I have been using the Instant Pot for anything that should be cooked at low pressure, because it is easier to just set it to “low” and put in how much time you need, than closely watching the stovetop cooker waiting for it to hit the low pressure mark, then adjusting the flame just right so it doesn’t creep up to high pressure (not that it’s that difficult, but when I have the option to be lazy, then that’s the option I’ll take!)
My Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker is my largest at 7 liters, so anything that needs the room goes in that one. I used it for the Kale last night, since it takes up a lot of room (and very little room by the time you take it out).
When I first got the KR, I planned on purchasing the 5 liter, but for some reason the 7 liter was slightly cheaper on Amazon at the time. Do I need such a gigantic cooker, I thought? Once it arrived, I realized it wasn’t giant at all. Since you can only fill a pressure cooker 2/3 full (and 1/2 full for starchy items such as beans and grains), I realized it wasn’t too large at all. In fact sometimes I consider getting a larger one as well.
But for now, my little pressure cooker family of 3 works just fine.
What was my point? Oh yeah, there is nothing wrong with having several pressure cookers. No, not at all. It’s very healthy in fact. Yeah, that’s it. It’s good for you. No, I don’t have a problem. Not at all.
This Red Lentil Barley Soup Recipe Makes a Hearty Meal
I got the idea of adding barley to lentils from a recipe on the back of the bag of lentils. I never would have thought of it without seeing it on the bag, although my recipe is quite different from the one on the bag.
A meal in itself, as they say. This fiber-packed soup with warming North African influenced spices is sure to keep you warm on a chilly night.
I made this using my relatively new Instant Pot (this one right here), which I am liking more all the time, but should translate just fine to a stovetop model.
But I must admit, I am having trouble getting very excited about waxing enthusiastically about a hearty, stick to your ribs soup today.
It is definitely not because this isn’t a really tasty soup, because it is quite tasty. It’s because today in SoCal we aren’t having quite what you would call “soup weather’.
As I am writing this on my phone, I am sitting in my local pub wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt with a cold one in front of me, just to get a break from my hot, non-air conditioned apartment.
When I cooked this earlier this week, it was a chilly, rainy day. Today it is 83 degrees with nary a cloud to be seen. Such is life in Southern California, but it is my job to bravely press on.
I myself am not a vegetarian (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so I used some chicken Better Than Bouillon that I already had on hand, but this can easily be made as a vegetarian or even vegan dish (just leave out the feta cheese at the end and Bob’s your uncle!)
Start out by sautéing the onions in a couple tablespoons of oil. When the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic to the party and continue to stir for a couple more minutes.
Now, add those carrots and the celery and sauté for a few minutes
Introduce the spices and sauté for another minute
Now it is time for the tomatoes, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper (you can adjust these a bit later)
Add the water and Better Than Bouillon. You can substitute 4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock for four cups of the water to make a vegetarian or vegan version.
Toss in the bay leaves, place the top on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.
Set the timer for 18 minutes
When time is up, let the pressure come down naturally.
When pressure is released, remove top
If you have never worked with red lentils, be aware that they will break down completely, leaving a nice, thick stew-like soup.
I like to top it with a little crumbled Feta cheese, skip this step if you would like to make a vegan version.
Corned beef and cabbage? Bah, humbug! Wait, I think that saying is for a different holiday, Is Saint Patrick’s Day even a holiday? I don’t get a day off for it. Of course, many people call in sick the day after it.
If you tell someone from Ireland that you are making corned beef and cabbage because it is Saint Patrick’s day, their reaction is likely to be, “Um, huh?”
I’m led to believe that Steak and Stout pie is something you might actually be able to find in Ireland, at least in the pubs. And if I ever visited Ireland, most of my time would most likely be spent in pubs, so I would probably come across this quite often.
In this in-depth article (really, really in depth) it is explained that there is some corned beef in Ireland, but it isn’t even close to being the national dish. Though, some places do serve corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day, they are serving it for tourists.
What the heck am I going on about corned beef for? This recipe isn’t for corned beef. I guess the point I am trying to make is that there are other things you can make for your St. Patrick’s day party. Take this Dublin Coddle recipe I posted last year, for example. Or this Steak and Stout Pie I hope to eventually get around to talking about.
You can use any stout you like, but I don’t recommend anything labeled as “extra stout” or “imperial stout”. These are higher in alcohol, and since the pressure cooker doesn’t let any steam escape once it reaches pressure, it will be too strong of a flavor and these stronger ones can also result in a bitter flavor.
This recipe is kind of a hybrid recipe, as the filling is made in the pressure cooker but then is cooked in the oven to cook the crust. I use frozen puff pastry for the crust, so it is still a relatively quick recipe. It is best to let the filling cool for an hour or so before putting the crust on top because if the crust becomes too warm it will not be flaky, and as anyone will tell you, I know flaky.
I like to use frozen pearl onions, but if you can’t find them, or already have onions on hand, a large chopped onion will work fine. The onions mostly break down during the cooking time anyway, I just think the pearl ones lend kind of a nice, sweet flavor to this recipe.
Cut about 2 pounds of chuck into 1-inch cubes. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat. Put as much of the meat as will comfortably in the pressure cooker pot and brown on two sides. I usually only brown about half of the meat. That is enough to add the browned flavor and it saves a little time. Remove this to a plate.
Now brown the onions. Add another splash of oil if necessary. Sauté the onions until they start to caramelize. Remove these to a bowl. Do not remove these to a plate unless you would like to chase pearl onions around your kitchen (don’t ask me how I know this).
Next, sauté a chopped shallot and four cloves of pressed garlic until the shallot starts to soften. Add the carrot and sauté for a few minutes until it softens slightly.
Now add a couple teaspoons of Herbes De Provence, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of tomato paste and some ground black pepper. Don’t add any salt at this point, you can adjust that later. Between the cheese and the beef bouillon, you may not need any additional salt at all.
Add 1/2 cup of stout and stir everything together.
Dump the onions and meat back in.
Add 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 1 cup of beef stock for the 1 cup of water and the Better Than Bouillon.
Put the cover on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, set the timer for 20 minutes.
While this is cooking, it is a perfect time to grate 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, then after the cheese is grated, make a slurry of two level tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of water. Now that you’ve got those two things out of the way, grab what’s left in that bottle (or can) of stout and relax for a few minutes until the timer sounds.
When the timer sounds, quickly down the rest of the beer, then go over and take the pressure cooker off the heat. If you have an electric pressure cooker, turn it off. Let the pressure come down naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release.
Uncover the pressure cooker, then put over medium heat, or put on “medium” sauté setting on your electric pressure cooker. Stir in the flour and water mixture and continue to stir for a couple minutes. Stir in about half the cheese, stirring in a little at a time. Continue to stir for about five minutes more to cook out most of the flour taste.
Now, at this point you have a pot of Steak and Stout Stew, and if you really want to (or if you are pressed for time) you can stop now and serve over mashed potatoes or with good bread, but you should keep stirring over medium heat for about another five minutes to make really sure that the flour taste is cooked out. But hey, you’ve come this far, you might as well take it all the way and go for the whole pie experience.
Let the filling cool for 60-90 minutes if you have time. This is where a little foresight would have come in handy and you would have bought an extra can of stout. If that is the case, open that baby up and enjoy.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Set a sheet of puff pastry out to thaw. It should be pliable enough to work with but still cold. If it gets too warm, the layers will meld together and your pastry won’t be puffy and flaky. On a floured work surface, roll out your dough until it is an inch or so wider than your pie pan.
Pour filling into a pie pan or au gratin dish about 9 or 10 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the filling. Place the crust on top of the pan. Trim the edges to round it off. Roll the edges up until they only slightly protrude over the edge of the pan. Brush the top with beaten egg. Score the top in a cross-hatch pattern then pierce the top a few times.
Place the pan on a baking sheet (it is certain to bubble over, and better a baking sheet than the bottom of your oven). Set the timer for twenty minutes. Check on it after about fifteen minutes just to be safe. When the timer goes off, check that it looks brown and flaky. If not, give it another few minutes.
Take the pie out of the oven and let it cool for about five minutes. Cut the crust into four pieces and serve.