Have A Pressure Cooker Fourth!

Need some (pressure cooker) ideas for your holiday get-together?

Well, I just happen to have some right here!

Ribs Stacked2

In addition to my Cherry Sriracha Ribs from last week, I thought I might list a few other things that could work for the occasion.

Frijoles_Charros_Ribs2

How about these Frijoles Charros? All-American? Perhaps not, but if you are having anything such as pulled pork or carne asada, this is the perfect accompaniment.

PotatoSaladFinal

For a change from the traditional, mayonnaise-y potato salad, give this pressure cooker German version a try.

Coney_Sauce_Final3

And last, but not least, if you happen to hail from the Midwest and you happen to be grilling some hot dogs, you might just want to try this Coney Island Chili. I have been told it is closer to the original than most. Give it a try!

So, have a great holiday, and be careful out there!

Make It A Pressure Cooker Summer!

Don’t Let Your Pressure Cooker Take The Summer Off!

PC_VACATION

As soon as the warm weather starts moving in, I’m sure that one thing on the minds of many is “Good, I can put away the long johns, the heavy sweaters, the winter coats, and the Pressure Cooker.

Just because it is Summer is no reason to give the old PC the entire summer off.

One day last week as I was making dinner, I realized that I had just used two pressure cookers to make a salad! I was making a “steak” salad, which also had some green beans in it. Just one minute in the pressure cooker and the beans were perfectly tender-crisp. As for the “steak”, chuck was on sale at the market for a price too good to pass up. Since chuck can be a little tough if you try normal steak-cooking methods, I braised it in some beer in the pressure cooker for about 30 minutes, and it was tender as all get-out.

It’s true that I don’t use the pressure cooker to make as many complete meals as I do in the cooler months, but I often use it to get things prepped for my summer meals.

The shorter cook times and lower heat keep the temps in the kitchen at a reasonable level.

What can you use the pressure cooker for in the summer?

Well, I just happen to have some suggestions:

You can “steam” potatoes for potato salad, which is a lot quicker and cooler than letting water come to a boil, tossing in the potatoes and then boiling for 20 minutes or so.

Try hard “boiling” eggs, for use in egg salad, the aforementioned potato salad, as well as many other salads. And it makes them so easy to peel.

Par-cook vegetables such as green beans and corn in a matter of minutes.

Make a big pot of “baked” beans to take to your picnic. It’s far better than canned, and keeps things a lot cooler than cooking them in the oven.

I almost always cook pasta in the pressure cooker now, too. Make pasta salads in half the time (or less).

I’m sure there are many other ways to use the pressure cooker in the summer months.

Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments.

 

Pressure Cooker Taco Pasta

This Ain’t No Hamburger Helper!

Taco Pasta Plate1

Now that summer is upon us, I try to make a lot of super quick meals, so as not to generate any more heat than is necessary in the kitchen. This is based on the classic dish that is sometimes know as “goulash”, but I just can’t get myself to call it that, since it bears no resemblance to actual goulash.

Taco Pasta Ingredients

The version as written is quite spicy, but you can leave out as many of the jalapeños as you like, or replace them with canned mild green chiles.

I don’t often use packaged seasoning, but recently I’ve added some of them to  my repertoire (such as in my Atlanta Brisket recipe) to save time during the summer months. But I do try to avoid ingredients such as MSG.

So let’s get started on it now, so you have time to take a dip in the pool after preparing the meal:

Heat a couple tablespoons cooking oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.

Add the ground beef, chopping it up as it cooks, until no longer pink, then move beef to the side and add the chopped onion. Sauté the onion until it starts to soften.

Ground Beef Browning

Stir the beef and onion together, then add the taco seasoning and stir it together.

Beef Onion Taco Seasoning

Add in the Ro-Tel, olives, jalapeños and the macaroni and stir everything together well.

Beef Rotel Mixture

 

Pour in the beef broth until macaroni is covered (I used the entire 32 oz. carton, but it might vary depending on your pasta).
For stove top pressure cooker, cover and turn heat to high until LOW pressure is reached, then adjust heat to maintain low pressure.
For electric pressure cooker, turn off sauté mode, put top on cooker and set for LOW pressure.

Macaroni

The general rule for pressure cooking pasta is to cook it for half the time that is specified on the pasta package for al dente pasta, but I prefer slightly softer than al dente, so I usually cook it half the specified time plus 1 minute and it turns out just the way I like it. In this case, the macaroni package specified 8 minutes, so I set the timer for 5 minutes (four minutes, plus 1 minute).

When time is up, turn off heat and do a quick release.

Remove top and stir everything together.

Cheese Shredded

Add in about half of the cheese (about 1-1/2 cups), reserving the rest for topping.  Add in about 1/4 cup of the sour cream.

Give it a stir and let it sit for a minute or so.

Stir it once more, then serve on plates, topping with the reserved cheese and sour cream.

Taco Pasta Plate 4

Pressure Cooker Taco Pasta
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
A South-of-the-Border take on the classic Macaroni & Beef. A perfect weeknight meal made super quick in the pressure cooker.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1-1.5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 box (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
  • 2 cans (10 oz. each) Ro-Tel
  • 1 can (4 0z.) sliced black olives
  • 1 can (3 oz.) diced jalapeños (if you prefer it less spicy, you can use less or substitute canned mild green chiles instead)
  • 1 quart (approximately) beef broth
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar, or cheese of your choice
  • ¼ cup sour cream, plus more for topping
Instructions
  1. Heat a couple tablespoons cooking oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat
  2. Add ground beef, chopping it up as it cooks, until no longer pink
  3. Move beef to the side and add the chopped onion
  4. Sauté the onion until it starts to soften
  5. Stir the beef and onion together
  6. Add the taco seasoning and stir
  7. Add in the Ro-Tel, olives and jalapeños
  8. Dump in the macaroni
  9. Stir everything together well
  10. Pour in the beef broth until macaroni is covered (I used the entire 32 oz. carton, but it might vary depending on your pasta)
  11. For stove top pressure cooker, cover and turn heat to high until LOW pressure is reached, then adjust heat to maintain low pressure.
  12. For electric pressure cooker, turn off sauté mode, put top on cooker and set for LOW pressure.
  13. For the time, the general rule is half of what is specified on the pasta package for al dente pasta, but I prefer slightly softer than al dente, so I usually do it half the specified time plus 1 minute and it turns out just the way I like it. In this case, the macaroni package specified 8 minutes, so I set the timer for 5 minutes.
  14. When time is up, turn off heat and do a quick release.
  15. Remove top and stir everything together
  16. Add in about half of the cheese (about 1-1/2 cups), reserving the rest for topping
  17. Add in about ¼ cup of the sour cream
  18. Give it a stir and let it sit for a minute or so
  19. Stir it once more, then serve on plates, topping with the reserved cheese and sour cream

 

Sneak Peek – Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta – A Spicy Take On Beefy Mac

DSCF9565

Yes, I said Beefy Mac. I refuse to call macaroni with tomatoes and ground beef Goulash. Mostly because it is not goulash. Hungarian goulash is a totally different thing. Which reminds me, I still haven’t posted my Pressure Cooker Hungarian Goulash recipe. I will have to get to that one soon.

Which brings me back to this weekend’s recipe. Add spices and chiles to macaroni and ground beef, and you end up with Taco Pasta. I had the leftovers for two days after the first day that I made this, and didn’t even tire of it.

So stop by this weekend for the full recipe!

Pressure Cooker Hot Chicken Sandwich

Quebecois Hot Chicken Sandwich. Comfort Food At Its Finest!

Sandwich Top View

Ok, I’m not Canadian, but my heritage traces back to there. I also grew up so close to Canada that one time I accidentally got stuck in the line to cross the Ambassador Bridge to Canada because I was looking for parking to attend a concert in Downtown Detroit.

Once I reached the border guard, he let me make a U-Turn and go back to my search for parking. So, Canadian food is one of the cuisines I grew up with. And since a lot of it involves gravy, you can count me in!

There are quicker ways to make this recipe, such as buying a rotisserie chicken and jarred gravy, but I think this way is tastier, and it only takes about 40 minutes or so total.

Hot Chicken Sandwich Ingredients

It would not be a proper hot chicken sandwich if it wasn’t served with peas. You can use either frozen or canned, I have used both and I probably like canned better for this, but I used frozen this time. I usually just heat them in the microwave, but you can heat them on the stove if you prefer.

Plain white bread is traditional, but sometimes I switch it up with sourdough. Use whatever you like, but keep in mind that the bread should never be toasted! In fact I never understood this obsession with toasted bread. I don’t know if it is just here in SoCal, or it is everywhere, but it is difficult to order a sandwich in a diner without the bread being toasted. You usually have to specify “not toasted” to get  the bread in its natural state. Sure, some sandwiches, such as a BLT are normally served on toast, but something like a tuna sandwich or a corned beef sandwich? Come on!

Bread

To get started on the sandwich, melt a couple tablespoons of butter in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat.

Butter

Stir in 3 cups of beef broth, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, along with a teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet (you can leave this out if you want, but I like the flavor and color it adds to the gravy.

Chicken Breasts Seasoned

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this recipe utilizes the steam rack or trivet that came with your pressure cooker. All 3 of my pressure cooker came with such an item, so hopefully yours did as well.

Steam Rack

Season the skinless, boneless chicken breast halves with salt and pepper.

Once the sauce is stirred together, lower the steam rack into the pot and place the chicken on top of it. The chicken will be partially submerged, this is fine.

Chicken Breasts In Pot

Lock the top on the cooker, turn heat to high (or set your electric to reach high pressure and maintain for 10 minutes).

When high pressure is reached, adjust the heat to maintain high pressure (does not apply to electrics) and set timer for 10 minutes.

Slurry

While chicken/sauce is cooking, mix 3 tablespoons flour with about 6 tablespoons of water (just enough to make a thick liquid).

You can also heat up a can of peas at this time.

When time is up, do a quick release.

Remove the chicken to a plate.

Chicken Cooked

Carefully remove the steam rack.

Put the pressure cooker pot over medium high heat and bring to a simmer (electric use the sauté mode on high).

Stir in the flour/water mixture. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes to cook out the flour taste and to bring to the desired thickness, stirring frequently.

Shred the chicken meat with two forks. It doesn’t need to be finely shredded, just pull it apart.

Chicken On Bread

Arrange 1 piece of bread on a plate for each sandwich you are making.

Pile chicken on the bread (one breast half for each sandwich is good).

Bread On Plate

Put a little gravy on top of the chicken, then place another piece of bread on top. Add more gravy to the top of the sandwich, then top with peas.

Sandwich Assembled

Serve with French Fries.

Sandwich Finished 2

Enjoy, eh?

Pressure Cooker Hot Chicken Sandwich
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
Quebecois Comfort Food At Its Finest!
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 4 half breasts)
  • salt and pepper (for chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons white flour
  • 8 slices bread (white is traditional, sourdough works great as well)
  • 1 can peas, or 1 bag of frozen peas
Instructions
  1. In pressure cooker pot over medium heat, melt the butter
  2. Stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, the ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and Kitchen Bouquet)
  3. Lower steam tray or trivet into the pot
  4. Place chicken on top of the steam tray (liquid will come over the top of tray and partially submerge chicken)
  5. Lock top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure
  6. Set time for 10 minutes
  7. While that is cooking, make a slurry with 3 tablespoons of flour and enough water to make a thick liquid
  8. Heat peas in microwave or small pan
  9. When pressure cooker time is up, do a quick release
  10. Remove chicken to a board to cool and carefully remove the steam rack
  11. Put pressure cooker over medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer (on electric pressure cooker, use sauté mode on high setting)
  12. Stir in flour-water mixture
  13. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently
  14. When desired thickness is reached, remove from heat
  15. Shred the chicken with two forks
  16. Place one slice of bread on each plate
  17. Top with chicken (approximately 1 breast half per sandwich
  18. Top each with another piece of bread, then cover sandwich with gravy
  19. Spoon peas on top of each sandwich
  20. Serve with French Fries

 

Pressure Cooker Atlanta Brisket

It’s Called Atlanta Brisket, But You Can Eat It Anywhere!

Brisket Plate Above

This is one of the simplest recipes ever. Sure, it may not be one of the healthiest things, but for me at least there is a certain nostalgic quality to the flavor.

Yes, it uses packaged onion soup mix, something that I for the most part try to avoid. But I think that is the main reason that it has such a comfort food feel to it. You see, I grew up in the midwest, and we rarely had a meal that didn’t involve some sort pre-made, processed soup item. Be it powdered onion soup or canned condensed cream of mushroom soup, the pantry was usually full of these items and my Mom wasn’t afraid to use them.

Heck, she even made a cake that had condensed tomato soup in it, and it was tasty!

So, although I didn’t grow up with this particular recipe, the flavors are familiar, taking me back to a simpler time. A time of war, riots and social upheaval, but it was a simpler upheaval. Ah, the good old days.

Ingredients

I’ll take “Things Michael Forgot To Include In The Ingredients Photo For 500, Alex”. The question is “What is Bay Leaf… What is Bay Leaf?”

Anyway, enough with the stroll down memory lane. This recipe derives its name from Atlanta’s own Coca Cola, which is traditionally used in the recipe. But here is where I become a bit hypocritical, I used a different cola because I didn’t want to use one with high fructose corn syrup. We have Mexican Coke in these parts which also does not have corn syrup, but they do not carry it at the market where I did my shopping this time, so I got the house brand. The same goes for ketchup. I always buy one that does not contain the deadly syrup. But yet, I recommend using the packaged onion soup mix. What can I say? I’m an enigma. If you really don’t want to use the mix, try a home made substitute like this.

Cola

The recipe for Atlanta Brisket is pretty standard, with minor variations from recipe to recipe. For some, apparently the onions from the soup mix are enough, but I like to add lots of sliced onions.

I realize the 90 minute cook time may sound like a long time for a pressure cooker, but making this in the oven takes about 4 hours, and in a crock pot even longer. So 90 minutes to a tender, falling apart brisket with a tangy, delicious sauce isn’t really that long. And the prep time is so quick on this that it kind of makes up for it.

When browning the meat, I like to rub it with yet another packaged product, Montreal Steak Seasoning.

So, let’s get started!

Brisket1

Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker pot.

Rub a 3-3.5 pound brisket with Montreal Steak Seasoning or the rub of your choice. If there is a lot of fat on your brisket, you can trim some of it off. Depending on the size of your pressure cooker, you may have to cut it into a couple pieces. It is recipes like this that contain large hunks of meat where my Fissler really shines.

Brown on both sides, then remove to a plate.

Brisket Browned2

In the oil, sauté 3 thickly-sliced sweet onions (about 3/8″-1/2″ thick ought to do it). Sauté until the onions are translucent.

Pour in 1 12 oz. can of cola and stir around, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Onions Cooking1

Add the meat back into the pot.

Pour the ketchup on top of, and around, the brisket.

Sprinkle 1 packet of onion soup mix over the meat and in the sauce.

Add in 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, then toss in a couple of bay leaves.

Brisket Ketchup

Lock the top on the pressure cooker, put over high heat and set the timer for 90 minutes.

When time is up, let the pressure come down for ten minutes, then do a quick release.

Brisket Sliced1

Carefully remove the meat to a plate (please use caution, and support the bottom of the brisket as much as possible. The meat is so tender that you do not want a chunk of it falling into the hot pan sauce and splashing). Let the meat rest for 5-7 minutes.

While the meat is resting, skim some of the fat off the top of the sauce (I ended up with close to 2 cups).

When meat is finished resting, transfer to cutting board and slice against the grain into medium-thick slices.

Serve with sauce on top and sides of your choice!

Brisket Plate Close

Pressure Cooker Atlanta Brisket
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5-6 servings
A super simple, yet very flavorful braised brisket. The pressure cooker cuts the usual time by more than half.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • 3-3.5 pounds beef brisket (if there is a lot of fat, you can trim off some of it)
  • 3 sweet onions, sliced about ½ inch thick
  • 1 12 oz. can cola
  • 1-1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 envelope packaged onion soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in pressure cooker pot over medium high heat
  2. Rub the brisket with the Montreal steak seasoning
  3. Brown the brisket on both sides
  4. When brisket is browned, remove to a plate
  5. Put onions into the pot and sauté until they are translucent
  6. Pour cola over the onions and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot
  7. Place meat back in the pan
  8. Add ketchup, onion soup mix and liquid smoke over and around the brisket
  9. Toss in a couple bay leaves and lock lid on pressure cooker
  10. Set time for 90 minutes
  11. When time is up, remove from heat and let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  12. Carefully remove meat to a cutting board and let rest for 5-7 minutes
  13. If sauce looks a little thin, you can simmer over medium heat while the meat rests to reduce a bit
  14. When resting time is up, slice medium thick slices against the grain
  15. Serve meat on plates with sauce spooned on top
  16. Sauce is also great on potatoes, if you are serving

 

Pressure Cooker Frijoles Charros

Pressure Cooker Mexican Cowboy Beans

Frijoles_Charros_Cornbread2

These Frijoles Charros make a mui bueno side dish to any Mexican or barbecue meal, but are just as good on their own with tortillas or corn bread. As a matter of fact, they would be the perfect accompaniment to your Memorial Day BBQ, which coincidentally is this very weekend!

Frijoles_Charros_Ingredients

Yes, I know there is no beer in this picture, but in my usual quest to keep you on your toes, I followed my usual policy of leaving out one item. But to make up for it, I included two onions, even though I decided that one large one was enough.

Chopped_Veggies

This isn’t exactly health food, what with the multiple types of pork and all, but consumed only on occasion it can be a spicy, tasty treat.

Start by soaking a pound of beans. I like to soak them overnight, but I have used the quick-soak method a couple times and works in a pinch, but I still think the very best texture is achieved by the good old overnight soaking method.

Bacon

Once the beans are soaked, you can get started on the frijoles.

In the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons oil and sauté 1/2 pound of chopped thick cut bacon until it starts browning (or longer, if desired). I have found that the thick cut bacon doesn’t really get crispy like the thinner bacon, but has a nice chew to it that works great with this recipe.

Onions_Peppers_Beer_Rotel

Add a half-pound of Mexican chorizo and cook until it starts to crumble. It will finish cooking under pressure, you just don’t want a large block of cooked sausage when you are finished. I used bulk chorizo, but if yours is in a casing, remove it. Make sure it is Mexican chorizo, Spanish chorizo is a whole different animal, well not exactly, it is still pig, but just a different form of pig and is usually already cooked. Now, add half of the onion and continue to sauté until it just starts to soften.

Chorizo

Remove the meat and onion mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon or one of these spider dealies:

Meat_Onions_Removing

If there is a large amount of grease left in the pan, you can drain all but 3 tablespoons or so, but don’t pour it all off, this is pure flavor. The red grease from the chorizo is especially flavorful.

Keeping the heat at medium high, in the fat left from the meat, add the rest of the onion and the Serrano chiles. Sauté until the onions start to soften, then add the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

Veggies_Beer

Add the beer, scraping up any meat bits from the bottom of the pan, then add a can of tomatoes with chiles (like good old Ro-Tel).

Now it’s time for the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and the liquid smoke.

Onions_Peppers_Beer_Rotel

Add the beans and 5 cups of water and one tablespoon beef better than bouillon, then put the top on your pressure cooker and bring to high pressure (instead of the water and Better Than Bouillon, you can use 1 quart beef stock and 1 cup water).

Frijoles_Charros_Finished

When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 20 minutes.

When time is up, do a quick release (remember when cooking legumes, your pressure cooker should never be filled more than half full).

Remove cover and add the meat/onion mixture. Stir and return top to pressure cooker, then bring to high pressure once again.

Frijoles_Charros_Cooking

This time, set the time for 10 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure come down on its own.

Remove top from pressure cooker and stir the contents, then serve in bowls as a side dish or main course.

Frijoles_Charros_Ribs3

The first night, I made ribs for dinner, and this was a side dish. When I had the leftovers the next day, I served it as a main course and had corn bread with it. And to be honest, I think I liked it better as a main dish. It would also be great with tortillas.

Enjoy!

Pressure Cooker Frijoles Charros
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Recipe type: Entree or Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
These spicy Mexican Cowboy Beans are good as a side dish or an entree
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried pinto beans (soaked overnight)
  • ½ pound thick cut bacon, chopped
  • ½ pound Mexican chorizo (remove from casings if applicable)
  • 1 large onion, chopped and divided
  • 4 Serrano chiles, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles (such as Ro-Tel)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon beef flavored Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 4 cups beef stock and 1 cup water for the water/Better Than Bouillon).
Instructions
  1. In the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons oil
  2. Sauté the bacon until it starts browning (or longer, if desired)
  3. Add the chorizo and cook until it starts to crumble
  4. Add half of the onion and continue to sauté until it just starts to soften
  5. Remove the meat and onion mixture to a bowl with slotted spoon or spider
  6. If you have a large amount of grease, you can drain all but 3 tablespoons or so
  7. In the fat left from the meat, add the rest of the onion and the Serrano chiles
  8. Sauté until the onions start to soften
  9. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes
  10. Add the beer, scraping up any meat bits from the bottom of the pan
  11. Add the tomatoes with chiles
  12. Add the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper
  13. Add the liquid smoke
  14. Add the beans
  15. Pour in the 5 cups of water and 1 tablespoon Beef Flavored Better Than Bouillon
  16. Put top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure
  17. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure
  18. Set timer for 20 minutes
  19. When time is up, do a quick release to bring pressure down quickly
  20. Remove cover and add the meat/onion mixture
  21. Stir and return top to pressure cooker
  22. Bring to high pressure again
  23. Set time for 10 minutes
  24. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own
  25. Remove top from pressure cooker and stir
  26. Serve in bowls as side dish or main course

Orange Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

Sweet, Smoky, Spicy Turkey Meatballs 

Turkey_Meatballs_Plate4

I’m not sure how I arrived at this recipe. I started out looking at various recipes for “Russian” Chicken, which is not Russian at all, but it got its name because it usually uses bottled Russian Dressing with Apricot Preserves and onion soup mix. Since I would rather not use bottled dressing and onion soup mix, I was contemplating some alternatives.

Next, I was having a conversation with my wife about Orange Chicken and somehow the Apricot preserves became Orange Marmalade. As for the Chipotles, I guess that is because I live on the west coast. Much like the tech industry, whenever they contemplate how to improve their products, the answer is always “Add Bluetooth!”, so it goes in SoCal that whenever you want to improve a recipe, the answer is inevitably “Add Chipotles!”

Meatball_Ingredients

You can use any tomatoes for this, but I say you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not use fire-roasted. It adds another layer to the flavor, and a rather tasty layer at that.

Please promise me that you won’t use 100% ground breast meat for this. I haven’t tried it, but only because I am fairly certain it would not turn out well. What they just call “ground turkey” is fine. It is usually a mixture of white and dark meat.

Meatball_Onion_Garlic

I am not sure why I decided to use ground turkey for this recipe, I was a little afraid it would turn out kind of dry, but currently these turkey meatballs are my favorite meatballs I have ever made of any kind.

Or course, that can be partly attributed to the sauce. It has the sweetness of Chinese Orange Chicken, balanced out by the spiciness of the chipotle chilis and the smokiness of the tomatoes (I added a bit of liquid smoke also, but you can leave it out if you are using the fire roasted tomatoes).

Turkey_Meatball_Mixed

So, let’s make those meatballs:

Mix together 2 pounds of ground turkey (not all white meat), Italian seasoned bread crumbs (unseasoned are probably fine, but I like Italian for this dish), 2 eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon dried parsley.

Form into balls about 2 inches in diameter. I ended up with 19 meatballs.

Turkey_Meatballs_PC

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs in batches and remove to plate.

Ok, sauce time:

In blender or food processor, add a can of fire roasted tomatoes, 1 cup of orange marmalade (I used a 13 oz. jar and it came out to exactly a cup. I prefer to use one without corn syrup.), 2-3 canned chipotles (use more or less, depending on how hot you like it), 1 tablespoon of the sauce from the chipotles, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Pulse until smooth.

Chipotle_Sauce Blended

In the oil from the meatballs, sauté the onion until it turns translucent.

Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.

Meatball_Onions_Browning

Return the meatballs to the pan on top of the onions. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Toss a couple of bay leaves in and lock the cover on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.

When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain pressure and set the time for 7 minutes.

Turkey_Meatballs_Saufe

When time is up let the pressure come down naturally.

Serve with couscous (which is how I made it), rice or mashed potatoes.

Turkey_Meatballs_Finished2

Spicy Apricot Chicken
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Serves: 4-5 servings
Ingredients
For The Meatballs
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (not all breast meat)
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons oil
For The Sauce
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup orange marmalade
  • 2-3 canned chipotle chiles (I used 3, you can use 2 if you like it milder)
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce (from the can)
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
For The Meatballs
  1. In a bowl, mix all the Meatball ingredients except the oil
  2. Mix gently with hands, do not over-mix
  3. Form into balls approximately 2-inches diameter (I got 19 meatballs)
  4. In 3 tablespoons oil, brown meatballs working in batches
  5. Remove meatballs to plate
For The Sauce
  1. In blender or food processor mix first 12 ingredients (the tomatoes through the black pepper)
  2. Pulse until smooth
  3. Over medium-high heat, in the oil from the meatballs, sauté the onions until they are translucent
  4. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes
  5. Place meatballs in pressure cooker on top of onions
  6. Pour sauce over meatballs
  7. Toss two bay leaves on top
  8. Put top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure
  9. When high pressure is reached, lower heat to maintain high pressure
  10. Set time for 7 minutes
  11. When time is up, remove from heat and let pressure come down on its own
  12. Serve with rice, couscous or mashed potatoes

 

A Word On Pressure Cooker Maintenance

Pressure Cooker Maintenance. Do as I say, Not as I do! 

InstantPot_Gasket

I was reminded last week of the importance of checking your pressure cooker before each use. Sometimes I tend to get a bit lackadaisical until something happens that suddenly snaps me out of it. In this case it was nothing particularly dangerous, but if I could make a dumb mistake like this, who knows what else I am capable of?

I was cooking up a batch of rice to make some fried rice. I put the rice and liquid into my InstantPot electric pressure cooker, put on the top, set the timer and walked away for a bit. I went into the kitchen to check on it, and pressure still hadn’t been reached. “Hmmmm, it usually doesn’t take this long”, I thought. That was when I noticed steam was coming out from the entire circumference of the lid. I scratched my head for a second, then happened to glance to my right, where there in the dish rack was the silicone seal for my InstantPot. “Crap! How could I make such a rookie mistake?”

I turned off the cooker, removed the lid and found a mess. Soggy rice, a good deal of it stuck to the bottom of the pan. It wasn’t burnt fortunately, and I may have been able to salvage some of it, but it was such a mess and I was so angry with myself that into the trash it went, 1-1/2 cups of rice wasted.

Which brings me to the topic at hand. You should check out that everything is in working order before each use. Make sure the seal is inserted properly and that the valves and seals are moving as they should.

On one of my pressure cookers, the handles have a tendency to get a little loose. So that is another thing to check. If a handle is loose, tighten it. Loose handles and hot liquids are a recipe for disaster, as they say.

I still have scars on both my feet from a boiling water accident last year (not pressure cooker related, but another one of those “wake up calls”).

If you notice something is starting to look a bit worn, such as gaskets, o-rings, etc., order a new part and replace it.

On my first pressure cooker, which is approaching three years old. I have replaced every part on the lid over the past couple years. Gasket, o-ring, plastic valve parts, you name it. These are mostly moving parts and withstand high heat, so they wear out eventually.

By just giving everything a once over before each use, you will enjoy your pressure cooker for many (safe) years.

Pressure Cooker Steak Picado

Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With Steak Picado

Steak Picado6

Living in Southern California, there is no shortage of Mexican food, and I have eaten many different dishes going by the moniker “Steak Picado”. Sometimes it is a skillet dish that seems more akin to fajitas or a stir-fry. But I was inspired for this recipe by  “Guisados“, a local place here in the Los Angeles area that was featured on one of the food shows I watch, or “my stories” as I call them. I don’t claim that this recipe is anything like theirs, but merely inspired by their idea of serving homestyle braises, which would simmer on the stove the entire afternoon. But through the magic of the pressure cooker, you can have a tasty, falling apart flank steak in a tangy sauce in about an hour. Perfect over rice, on warm tortillas, or a little of both!

Steak Picado Ingredients

I prefer to use Serrano chiles, which are a little hotter than Jalapeños, but I am led to believe that the Serrano chiles may not be as easy to find in some areas, whereas Jalapeños can be found just about everywhere, so feel free to use the Jalapeños. I leave the seeds in when I chop them, but you can remove the seeds if you prefer a milder flavor.

Flank Steak Pan

This recipe is for approximately 2-2.5 pounds of flank steak. The flank steak that I used was unusually large at about 2-1/4 pounds, but you may need to use two smaller ones.

Start out by browning the steak on both sides in a couple tablespoons of oil, then remove it to a plate.

Flank Steak Browning

Sauté some chopped onions, green peppers and the Serrano or Jalapeño chiles until the onions just start to take on a little brown color, then add in the garlic and continue for another minute or so.

Steak Picado Sauteed Veggies

Add in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of chili powder of your choice (I like to use Penzey’s Chili 9000), 2 teaspoons of cumin and 1 teaspoon oregano.

Stir for a minute or so until the spices become fragrant.

Pour in a can of roasted tomatoes with green chiles (such as Ro-Tel, but I used Trader Joe’s brand).

Steak Picado Sauce

Pour in 1/2 cup beer and 1/2 cup water, then add 1 teaspoon of beef flavored Better Than Bouillon. You can add 1/2 cup beef stock in place of the water and Better Than Bouillon if you prefer.

Top it off with a couple of bay leaves, then put the top on the pressure cooker.

Steak Picado Pre Cook

Bring to high pressure, adjusting heat once high pressure is reached to maintain.

Set time for 40 minutes. I know this may sound like a long time, but it should give you that good, falling apart texture that requires hours of braising without the pressure cooker.

Steak Picado Finished

When time is up, remove the meat to a plate. Put the sauce back on medium-high heat and let it cook down a bit (around 7-8 minutes, until the meat is ready to add back in).

Let the meat rest for five minutes, then cut into approximately 1-inch chunks. Some of the meat will probably fall apart in shreds. That’s fine. This is a rustic recipe, as they say when things don’t quite work out as planned.

Steak Picado Chopped

Stir the meat back into the sauce, then remove from the heat.

Serve with rice and warm tortillas.

Steak Picado1

 

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Pressure Cooker Steak Picado
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Author:
Prep time:
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Serves: 4 large portions
Mexican-style braised flank steak with a medium spice level. Excellent for tacos.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2-2.5 pounds flank steak (1 large or two small steaks)
  • 1 onion, halved then sliced
  • 2 green peppers, cut in strips
  • 2-3 serrano or jalapeño chiles, chopped (remove seeds if you want it to be milder)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 can roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup beer
  • 1 teaspoon beef flavored Better Than Bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat
  2. Brown steak on both sides (depending on pressure cooker size, you may need to cut steak in 2 or 3 pieces)
  3. Remove meat to a plate
  4. Sauté the onions, green peppers and chiles until onions start to show a bit of brown
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute
  6. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and oregano
  7. Stir for about 30 seconds until spices become fragrant
  8. Pour in the roasted tomatoes with chiles
  9. Add the water and beer
  10. Stir everything together
  11. Stir in the teaspoon of Beef Better Than Bouillon (or substitute ½ cup beef stock for the water and Better Than Bouillon)
  12. Add the meat back to the pot
  13. Toss the bay leaves on top
  14. Lock cover on the pressure cooker
  15. Turn heat to high and bring to high pressure
  16. When high pressure is reached, adjust the heat to maintain high pressure
  17. Set time for 40 minutes
  18. When time is up let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  19. Remove meat to a plate and let it rest for five minutes
  20. While meat is resting, put sauce back on medium high heat and bring to a simmer
  21. Let simmer for five minutes
  22. After meat has rested for five minutes, cut into approximately one-inch chunks. Some of the meat might end up shredded when you try to cut in cubes, that is fine.
  23. Stir the cut meat back into the sauce and remove from heat
  24. Serve with rice, beans and warm tortillas