After taking a few weeks off for Spring Break, this week was supposed to be an all-new recipe, Chipotle Mango Pulled Pork Tacos.
Unfortunately, I hit a few snags along the way. I had some issues getting the electric pressure cooker coming up to pressure, and when trying to transfer the massive mound of meat to the stove top pressure cooker, the pork slipped and fell back into the pot, the splash resulting in a few second-degree burns.
On the plus side, the pulled pork resulted in what is definitely among the top ten tacos that I have ever had. And living in SoCal, I have had a lot of tacos in my day.
The pork, along with the tangy slaw and the chipotle cilantro sour cream dressing definitely hit the spot.
Of course, the problem is that the recipe did not work in the Instant Pot, which means that I cannot post it until I can confirm that it will work in both the stove top and electric PCs.
So, I guess the Spring Break will continue for 1 more week, and next week I hope to have the final recipe for my pulled pork tacos!
So, come back next week for the deets, as the kids say these days.
A couple months ago, a reader asked if I could post some simple bean recipes. At that time we were in the middle of a scorching heat wave, so I put any bean recipes on the back burner (figuratively of course, if the beans had actually been on the back burner they would be quite scorched by now). But now that we are starting to see the beginning of El Niño, which I believe is Spanish for “crappy weather”, it is now the perfect time to be trotting out some bean recipes. This here one is super simple but quite flavorful thanks to smoked ham shank and a couple common herbs and spices.
I used a ham shank that weighed in at 1-1/4 pounds. You could substitute ham hocks (is there actually a difference anyway?), or you could use an equivalent size of smoked turkey thigh.
For the beans, I highly recommend soaking in salted water. I know, it has always been a hard and fast rule that you shouldn’t add salt until after cooking or your beans will be tough. Lately, however, I have been seeing a lot of people suggest soaking the beans in salt water (brining). And by George I think they are onto something. Normally I would soak the beans overnight, but I didn’t buy them until the morning that I was going to make this. I used a pound of beans, sorted them and removed the weird ones, rinsed them, covered them with water by about 2 inches above the beans and added 2 tablespoons of salt and stirred it all together. I let them soak for about 5 hours and that was plenty of time. Rinse them again before adding to the dish.
Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker pot, then add a ham shank and some chopped onions. Sauté, turning the ham shank occasionally until the onions are translucent and the shank is browned.
Run 5 cloves of garlic through a press, toss in the pot and sauté for another minute.
Put some paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt (that should be plenty, remember that we already salted the beans) and a little black pepper into the onion mixture and stir for 30 seconds.
Dump in the beans, pour in 6 cups of water, then toss in the thyme and bay leaves.
Lock the top on the cooker and bring to high pressure. Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure.
Set the time for 35 minutes.
When the time is up, let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes then do a quick release.
Uncover and remove the ham shank to a plate and let it cool enough to pull the meat from the bones.
In the meantime, put the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
When cool enough, pull the meat from the shank and stir into the beans. Continue to simmer for a couple more minutes to thicken slightly.
Remove from heat, and ladle into bowls. Serve with biscuits or corn bread.
The holiday is behind us, we have all loosened our belts, or in some cases poked extra holes in our belts with a paring knife (I’m just guessing). With visions of huge turkey dinners and huge leftover sandwiches dancing in our heads, what do we have for dinner now?
For me, I’m ready for something relatively healthy (compared to what I have eaten for the past several days, what isn’t)?
Just a few months ago I never would have seen myself posting a recipe with not only ground turkey, but definitely not with quinoa. Quinoa? I don’t even know what it is, but I have slowly started to acclimate myself to the evil pseudo grain. And you know, it isn’t bad. I guess too many “healthy” restaurants that serve plain quinoa with steamed kale put the fear in me. But like most things, it can be a tasty treat if served in tasty ways.
Sure, I top it with sour cream and pepper jack with corn chips on the side, buy hey, it could be worse.
I was kind of inspired by Spanish Rice and maybe a little by a certain product that is intended to assist hamburger.
Yes, it still has turkey in it, like you have been eating since Wednesday, but it is ground turkey. You just want to wean yourself off the “bird” a little at a time. Once you have the turkey on your back you don’t want to quit cold, um cold what? Well, I guess that is where the name comes from. Anyway this recipe is intended to get you back to normal.
But, as I usually caution, do not use ground turkey breast, use ground dark turkey. It took me awhile to get used to ground turkey at all, but ground white turkey, I am not sure if I will ever be OK with that.
And I am starting to warm up to quinoa. It is super fast to cook and takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it with, kind of the “tofu theorem”.
To start, in a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium heat, sauté the turkey and onions until the turkey is no longer pink.
Dump in the garlic and continue to sauté for a minute longer.
Now’s the time to introduce a packet of taco seasoning (I always look for one with no MSG) and the quinoa (always make sure to rinse quinoa well before cooking).
Stir and sauté for another minute or so.
In a measuring cup, pour a can of Ro-Tel (juice and all), or another brand of diced tomatoes with green chiles. Then add enough chicken (or vegetable) broth to make 2 cups.
Add the tomato/broth mixture and stir.
Dump in a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and a cup of frozen corn (fire roasted corn would probably be nice in this also).
Give the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle a stir and lock the top on the pressure cooker.
Bring to high pressure and set time for 2 minutes.
When time is up, let pressure come down on its own. If pressure is not completely released after 10 minutes, do a quick release.
Let sit another 5 minutes or so to further absorb the liquid.
Serve in bowls or on plates, topped with grated cheese (I like to use pepper-jack), sour cream and chopped cilantro.
I serve it with corn chips on the side. I usually put them right on top, it provides just the crunch it needs.
A Few Suggestions For A Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving
I was thinking of doing a post gathering a few of my Thanksgiving appropriate recipes, but then I thought, “Thanksgiving isn’t for a couple weeks.” Then a wave of panic swept over me, as I thought “Thanksgiving is in a couple weeks!”
I know many of you are traditionalists and would consider nothing but Turkey for your feast. I, on the other hand rarely make turkey for Thanksgiving. Below I will offer some alternatives. Or, you could offer your guests a choice of Turkey or something else! Something perhaps prepared in the pressure cooker! I also have a couple dessert ideas.
Since I just posted this one recently, it is still fresh in my mind, so it comes first:
Just because they are called Jerky Joes, they are not made with jerky!
These pork and beef Sloppy Joes with Jamaican jerk style seasonings are a spicy update to the old lunchroom classic.
It finally cooled off just enough that I can do a little cooking. With a temperature of only 80 degrees today, I even contemplated putting on long pants this morning (I only contemplated it, mind you).
I made this in the Instant Pot, so I wrote it for electric pressure cooker, but it can easily be made in any stovetop model.
Because it is still fairly warm around here, I wanted to prepare something quick and tasty. This was easily done in the Instant Pot, so I did not even have to turn on the oven. And I served it with sweet potato chips to avoid needing to heat up a side dish.
It seems nearly impossible to find Scotch Bonnet peppers around here, which are traditional Jamaican peppers, so I used habeneros, which are related to Scotch Bonnets and are easy to find. You can use whichever you like. The heat level is pretty similar. If you don’t like things quite so spicy you can use jalapenos.
I have had these both with and without cheese, so the choice is yours. When I do use cheese, I prefer pepper jack.
I top them with grilled pineapple slices. Just heat a grill pan or iron skillet (dry) over medium-high heat and grill however many slices you need until they take on a little color. Flip once.
If you can find it, use the Pickapeppa sauce. They had it at my local grocery store in the hot sauce section. If you cannot find it, the closest thing would probably be Worcestershire Sauce. It has a similar flavor profile, but I recommend seeking out the Pickapeppa sauce. It gives it that “Jamaican” flavor.
In blender or food processor, add all the sauce ingredients. And pulse a few times until it is fairly smooth.
In the pressure cooker in a couple of tablespoons of oil, with sauté mode on high, sauté onion until translucent.
Add pork and beef and sauté until broken up. It’s ok if it is a little pink, it will finish cooking under pressure.
Add the salt and pepper and top with two bay leaves.
Turn off sauté mode and add the sauce.
Give everything a stir, toss in a couple of bay leaves and lock top on pressure cooker.
Using manual setting, set for high pressure and 8 minutes time.
When time is up, do a quick release.
When pressure is released, remove top and turn on sauté mode on high.
Simmer until mixture thickens a bit (about 5 minutes).
Serve on toasted buns with a grilled pineapple ring.
To grill pineapple rings:
Put grill pan or iron skillet over high heat.
Put desired number of pineapple rings between two paper towels for a minute to dry some.
When pan is hot, place pineapple rings in pan.
Flipping once, cook until they take on a little brown color.
I know, “in a hurry” would have been much catchier but since there is a chain called “Hurry Curry”, I didn’t want to infringe on any copyrights and whatnot. I’m sure all major corporations are watching my blog like a hawk, just waiting for me to slip up.
This one is so simple that it barely counts as a recipe, which is why I am posting it on my Wednesday miscellany day rather than my weekend recipe day.
Cue harp arpeggio:
Here’s the story, I remember it as if it were yesterday (when in fact it was four days ago).
After enjoying my Butter Chicken Recipe on Saturday, I had almost enough left for dinner on Sunday. Almost. How could I augment the leftovers to make an entire meal? I wanted something in the same family as butter chicken and something quick and easy. You see, Sunday is my pub day, and I don’t want to cook anything too complicated after a rough day at the pub.
So I decided to make a curry that actually had some sort of vegetable in it, since the chicken dish did not (except for onions and garlic). So I bought some frozen spinach, a can of chickpeas, a jar of curry sauce and an onion (you need to have something fresh).
Besides slicing and sautéing the onion, everything else is just plopped into the pot. This would also be a good crazy-quick dinner for two on its own with some rice. I think the entire thing took around 20-25 minutes.
I also made it in the Instant Pot, making it even easier.
All you need to do is heat some oil on the HIGH sauté setting, and sauté the onion until it it is translucent.
Dump in a jar (15 ounce) of Madras Curry sauce, a large can (29 ounce) of chickpeas and half a 16-ounce bag of frozen spinach (or an 8-ounce package if you can find it).
Turn off the sauté mode, lock on the lid and using the manual setting, set to reach high pressure (which is the default) and 4 minutes time.
When time is up, do a quick release, give it a stir and serve! It is excellent with a dollop of sour cream.
It’s hard to believe that it is almost the end of summer. With the weather we have been having lately, it’s even harder to believe. It seems to finally getting back down to reasonable temperatures just in time to cook up some tasty treats for the last big blast of the summer!
Here are a few recipes using the pressure cooker so that your Labor Day can be less laborious.
Since I didn’t want to go yet another week without posting a recipe, I had to come up with something I could make utilizing the pressure cooker in this crazy heat wave we have been having, so I came up with this tomato beet salad with pickled onions, goat cheese and candied pecans.
My wife is not a huge fan of beets (in other words, she doesn’t like them), but if I dress them up with enough accoutrements, such as pickled onions, tomatoes and goat cheese, she can tolerate them.
By doing the cooking part at 8 AM, when it was a mere 80 degrees in our apartment, by the time dinner time came around the cooked components were cooled and it was just a matter of assembling the salad.
I did all the cooking in the instant pot. Even though the onions aren’t cooked under pressure, I used the Instant Pot so I only had to dirty one pot. So I’m happy, the wife’s happy, it’s a win-win!
I used seven smallish beets which came out to about 1-1/4 pounds. Trim the leaves off, leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem attached. Doing this will keep the beets from bleeding while cooking and will help to keep your kitchen from ending up looking like a venue which recently played host to the Red Wedding.
Pour 1-1/2 cups water into the pot and insert the steam tray. I could have used the tray that came with the instant pot, but opted to use the “daisy” style tray that most of us have.
Place the beets in the tray, lock the cover on the pot and set the time for 20 minutes. As I said, these beets were on the smaller side, if your beets are larger, you may have to add 4-5 minutes.
While the beets are cooking, you can get the red onion ready to go. I used the second-thinnest setting and sliced them on my mandoline, which I refer to as “The Widowmaker”, after a treacherous trip to the ER in which my thumb was spewing a stream of blood reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch. Which leads me to caution you to always use the safety guard, kids, or at the very least, a kevlar glove!
When the time is up for the beets, let the pressure come down on its own.
Carefully remove the beets to a plastic cutting board and let them cool for a few minutes while you work on the pickled onions.
Rinse out the inner pot of the cooker, and replace.
Pour 1 cup cider vinegar, or a mixture of vinegars. I used mostly cider vinegar, but added a little sherry vinegar because I didn’t have a full cup of cider vinegar left. Also add 1 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pickling spice. Next, add 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set the pressure cooker to sauté mode on the high setting and bring to a boil, stirring often until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Turn off cooker and let cool for about 2 minutes.
Strain the liquid through a strainer into a bowl to remove the pickling spices, Add the sliced onions to the bowl and let them sit until cooled, about ten minutes or so.
Transfer the onions and liquid to a jar or other container and refrigerate. I did this in the morning, so they had all day to steep. If you plan on doing this later in the day, refrigerate them for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Now that the beets are cooled, you can easily rub the skins off with a paper towel. Put in a container and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to wait until assembling the salad to cut them into pieces.
Now, let’s assemble this thing.
Take a pint of halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, all one color or mixed, (regular cherry tomatoes will do as well) and place in a bowl.
Cut the beets into quarters (if larger, cut int 6-8 pieces). Add these in with the tomatoes.
Take about half of the pickled onions out of the jar with a fork and add to the other vegetables.
Pour about 4 tablespoons of the onion liquid and two tablespoons olive oil into the salad and gently mix together.
Crumble a 4 ounce package of goat cheese and a few ounces of candied pecans (pecans are optional).
Gently toss once more and serve on plates or in bowls. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I would recommend serving on top of greens such as butter lettuce, which I would have done if I had remembered to buy some (c’mon Michael), but it was still delicious, but not quite as pretty.
So, I have been using my Instant Pot since the beginning of the year and it has since become part of my normal workflow.
I tend to use it for things that take advantage of its “set-in-and-forget-it” capabilities more than anything. In reality, you can “set it” and kind of “forget it” briefly. Which means you need to remember to release the pressure when you need to or some things will become overcooked.
Anyway, I use it use it most often for cooking sides and such while working on the main dish.
It is now my go-to pot for making rice while I am preparing an entree in one of the stovetop pots. If I am making a cup of rice (dry measurement), I still prefer my copper sauce pan, but if I am preparing 1-1/2 cups or more, I use the instant pot. And if I sauté some onions and substitute a can of Ro-Tel for some of the water, I have Spanish Rice in 4 minutes under pressure.
Making potatoes is a breeze also. Either mashed, steamed or boiled, the Instant Pot makes quick work of it.
After 8 months, I can’t remember the last time I used one of the programs. For the most part, all the programs do is set the time for a certain length. If it is not the exact amount of time that you want, you need to adjust anyway, so I find it easier to always use the manual setting.
I do use the sauté feature. One entree I find easier to make in the InstantPot is pasta. I just brown some ground beef or Italian sausage using sauté, add in some pasta, sauce and enough water to cover the pasta, switch to manual pressure mode and in 4 or 5 minutes under low pressure I have a complete dinner ready.
In fact, anything that requires low pressure I find myself gravitating to the InstantPot. Instead of trying to catch it at just the right moment and keeping the flame adjusted at the perfect amount to maintain low pressure, I just set the Instant Pot for low pressure and don’t have to worry about it.
Hard “boiled” eggs is another thing that comes out better since I have had the Instant Pot, because of the low pressure setting.
For one pot meals such as chili, stew and soups I still turn to the 7-quart Kuhn Rikon. The 6-quart capacity of the Instant pot is just a tad too small for these things.
I still haven’t gotten around to using the yogurt making feature, but that is still on my mental to-do list.
Like my Fissler, I wouldn’t want the InstantPot to be my only pressure cooker, but in combination with my others, it is a very useful tool.
This doesn’t mean that for others, the InstantPot wouldn’t make a good “only” pressure cooker, and it would probably be a good place to start for many, if not most users. It can be quite a bit less intimidating if you have never used a pressure cooker before. But for me, I find the 7-quart stove top cooker to be more versatile.
The removable pot makes clean up a cinch. I have read some complaints that the silicone seal tends to hold odors and takes on a bad smell, but I haven’t had a problem at all. The seal gets washed after each use, and I haven’t once noticed any lingering odors.
I know, I am a day late with my post, but I somehow managed to give myself a stress fracture in my foot, and didn’t do much except rest yesterday. But better late than never, I say, so here you go!
After a couple years, I thought it might be time to do some quick reviews of my pressure cookers. These will be totally unscientific reviews, and are 100% my opinion.
Up this week, the Fissler Pressure Pan Set. If you are considering a second pressure cooker, this is a great choice. It would not be a good choice for your only pressure cooker, but as a second cooker it is excellent.
No, this isn’t great for making a big ol’ pot of chili or soup, but for recipes such as my Chicken Adobo, or Chipotle Orange Meatballs, or perhaps my Atlanta Brisket it really shines. The extra width and the “Novogrill” grilling surface that allows for excellent browning makes it perfect for wide flat cuts of meat or multiple items like meatballs because it allows you to keep them in one layer.
A couple things to keep in mind when reading the description on the Fissler Website.
1. The description may lead you to believe that this has a nonstick surface. It is true that the surface sticks less than a normal flat surface, it is by no means nonstick, as in it does not have a nonstick coating. To me, this is a good thing. I try to avoid all nonstick cookware. The “Novogrill” surface does do a great job of browning meat, though. And the shallow depth prevents the meat from steaming rather than browning which seems to happen when trying to brown meat in a deeper pot.
2. The basket that comes with it is referred to on the website as a “frying basket”. Don’t let this lead you to believe that you can deep-fry under pressure in this! You can use this pan as a fryer, but not with the pressure lid. Doing so could be dangerous.
The basket also doubles as a steamer basket, which can be done under pressure. Since a conventional steamer doesn’t really fit in this pan, it can come in handy.
It also comes with a glass lid, which lets you use it as a conventional skillet or steamer.
I occasionally use this as a skillet, since it is my widest and deepest fry pan. I use it for things such as home fries when my 10″ cast iron skillet isn’t quite deep enough.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the handle tends to get loose after using it for awhile. It can be easily tightened, it is just something to look out for since a loose handle can be dangerous.
All in all, I would say this is well worth the price. I use it at least as often as my 7 litre Kuhn Rikon, it’s just that each one excels at different things. And its usefulness as a non-pressure skillet, fryer and steamer is just a bonus.
So if you are considering a second pressure cooker, the Fissler would be well worth taking a look at.
This review is entirely my opinion and I am in no way compensated for this review.