Man can’t live on refried beans alone, sometimes you need some Frijoles Charros, a spicy meaty stew of beans, meat, tomatioes and chiles.
Check back this weekend for the recipe!
Sweet, Smoky, Spicy Turkey Meatballs
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!”
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.
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).
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.
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.
In the oil from the meatballs, sauté the onion until it turns translucent.
Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.
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.
When time is up let the pressure come down naturally.
Serve with couscous (which is how I made it), rice or mashed potatoes.
|Spicy Apricot Chicken|| |
Celebrate The Beginning Of Summer The Pressure Cooker Way
I just realized that we are less than two weeks away from Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer. Time to get out the old grill and burn some burgers and dogs.
But what about those of us who aren’t able to grill or barbecue? Those of us that live in apartments with one small grill out by the pool that is shared by 69 other apartments? You can’t really count on it being available.
And what about if inclement weather puts a damper on your plans. This year, that seems like it may be likelier than in years past. I know friends in a couple different areas who had snow just this past weekend.
You probably saw this coming, but you could use your pressure cooker to make some of the classics that are usually associated with outdoor cooking.
And by gum, I just happen to have a few examples on this here blog.
This North Carolina Style pulled pork may not be quite the same as smoking a whole hog for twelve hours, but it is still delicious and takes about an hour, to boot.
This one is based on a Central South Carolina, mustard-based sauce. The use of turkey breast instead of the usual pork, makes it a little leaner and a great alternative for non-pork eaters.
Or cook up some wieners and top them with this tasty Coney Island Chili. Based on the chili at Coney Island restaurants that are plentiful in the Detroit area where I grew up, after some experimenting, I think this is a pretty reasonable facsimile.
Whether you do you cooking inside or out, I wish all of you a great holiday!
The Classic School Lunch “Mystery Meat” Updated For The Pressure Cooker!
This one brings back memories of sitting in the “cafetorium”, enjoying one of the rare occasions when I was allowed to buy “hot lunch” at school.
I am not even sure if I used to enjoy the school lunchroom’s salisbury steak. What I did enjoy was not having to take my embarrassing lunchbox to school.
Ah yes, the lunchbox. I remember it as if it were yesterday…
When I was in first grade, my mother saved up enough trading stamps (I am sure most of you don’t remember that concept) to order a lunchbox for me to carry my lunch to school. Since they were out of the one that was ordered, they sent what they believed was a suitable replacement.
When the delivery man arrived, I waited with anticipation as my mom opened the package and presented me with a pink-accented lunchbox with a fake picnic basket pattern, with a pink handle and pink butterflies on the lid and inside, and there on the front, emblazoned in an ornate script typeface was the word “Debutante”.
Ok, now I know that I am super-old, since I was able to find the lunch box online, in the Smithsonian Institute of all places. I will probably be joining it there soon. I hate to date myself like this, but maybe it will help you to understand why I was scarred for life by this particular lunchbox.
Image from Smithsonian Institute Website, click image to go to site
I asked my mom what this word meant, since I was just in first grade and had not yet had a lot of exposure to debutantes. I am not sure if she actually gave me an answer. I seem to recall a lot of stammering on my mother’s part, followed my refusal to be seen in public with such a thing. In order to appease me, my parents went to the store to buy some Con-tact Paper (you may not remember that either, but it is actually still made), a self-adhesive covering often used to cover shelves and other things. The general rule was, if it is ugly, cover it with Contact Paper. In fact, I had a couple awkward years where I think my parents were considering wrapping my face in it. Anyway, my folks selected a manly dark woodgrain to cover my lunch box with. So, instead of carrying a frilly pink lunchbox, I carried what appeared to be a small rumpus room (the covering looked similar to the ugly wood paneling that everyone was covering their basement walls with where I grew up).
Anyway, I was always thrilled when my Mom would hand me two quarters in the morning (geez, I’m old, 50 cents for lunch?), to buy a hot lunch, which was often salisbury steak, with the obligatory mashed potatoes and either peas or corn.
Whether I actually liked it then or not is irrelevant, because it is now one of the ultimate comfort foods for me. So let’s make some!
Mix together 2 pounds of ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika and a teaspoon of dried parsley. Mix with your hands until everything is blended, do not over mix.
Divide into 4-6 ovals. I made 4, and I admit they were kind of huge, but I was hungry.
In a couple tablespoons of oil, brown the steaks on both sides. Depending on the dimensions of your cooker, you may have to brown a couple at a time. I just barely could fit mine in my Fissler. It is ok if you overlap them when it is time to put them under pressure, but don’t crowd them when browning.
Remove them to a plate, then sauté three onions (halved, then sliced). Cook until they just start to take on a bit of brown color.
Add in 3 cloves of pressed garlic and sauté for another minute or two.
Add the meat back to the pressure cooker pot.
Now, add some salt and pepper, 2-1/2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce and 1 tablespoon Beef Flavor Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 2-1/2 cups beef stock for the water and BTB). Add a little salt and pepper.
Place top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 8 minutes.
While dish is cooking, mix one tablespoon corn starch with one tablespoon water until smooth.
When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release. Be very careful, there is always a chance some of the liquid may spray out the vent.
Remove the meat to a plate. Put the gravy over medium heat. Do not bring to a boil. Stir in the corn starch mixture and stir for one to one and a half minutes, until thickened. Do not get too aggressive with the stirring, too much and the gravy may get thin again.
You can also cut them in half the long way and have 8 decent size portions.
Taste, and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles and peas or corn.
|Pressure Cooker Salisbury Steak|| |
Pressure Cooker Maintenance. Do as I say, Not as I do!
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.
Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With Steak Picado
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!
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Stir the meat back into the sauce, then remove from the heat.
Serve with rice and warm tortillas.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
|Pressure Cooker Steak Picado|| |
Coming For Cinco De Mayo!
It is fortuitous that I decided to make Steak Picado this week. The reason for that being that I totally forgot that Cinco De Mayo is a mere several days away!
Since this is a Mexican dish (I can’t vouch for the authenticity of mine, but it is deelish), it would be just the thing to feed your gathering. Add some rice, beans and tortillas and you have yourself a veritable fiesta.
Drop by on the weekend for the recipe!
Soupe Aux Pois Made Easy In The Pressure Cooker
I grew up not liking split pea soup at all. Now it seems I am making up for lost time. I recently posted a recipe for green split pea soup. That one was a thick, hearty, stand-a-spoon-up-in-it soup.
Shortly after that, during one of my marathon poking-around-the-interwebs sessions, I came across French-Canadian Yellow Split Pea Soup.
At first I was intrigued, but a few minutes later I was obsessed. Since my heritage includes French-Canadian, I just had to prepare “the food of my people”. This is more of a medium-density soup. It is definitely not a broth, but it does have diminished spoon-standing capabilities.
I tried to be fairly true to tradition, but sometimes it’s not quite possible. For instance from what I have seen, this soup is usually made with whole dried peas, or a mixture of whole and split. I probably would have done this if I was able to track down the elusive whole dried yellow peas but I had no luck here in SoCal. Sure, I could have gone the internet route, but I had some good yellow split peas, so why wait for delivery and whatnot?
The recipe is easy, but a little more time consuming than some, just because it requires a simple ham stock to be made first. When I say the stock is simple, I mean simple. Just toss your choice of ham hock, ham shank or ham bone into twelve cups of water, cook at high pressure for 40 minutes and you’re in business.
The stock can be made ahead of time, so things will be speedy when you make the actual soup.
After the stock is done cooking, let the meat cool. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard bones and any large chunks of fat that are present. Then, chop up the meat.
For the soup, get some butter melted in the pressure cooker pot and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until things start to soften a bit and onion is transparent.
I think this is one of the few recipes where I don’t use at least five cloves of garlic, but it is not exactly a garlic-driven recipe. I think the most important flavor profile in this dish would be the savory. That’s the thing that makes it the most “Canadian-y”. A lot of recipes say that you could substitute thyme, but I would highly recommend tracking down some savory in order to get the full Canuck experience.
Add in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Now add in the savory and a little salt and pepper. Don’t add too much salt at this point. Depending on the meat that you are using, you may not need a lot, you can add more later if it needs it.
Dump those peas in there, along with whatever meat you cut off those bones.
Pour in ten cups of the stock (you can add a cup or so less if you like it a little thicker, but I have found that ten cups is just about perfect for this. Sure, I specify twelve cups in the stock recipe because I like to have a little extra, just in case. As in almost every recipe I post, toss in a couple bay leaves.
Put the top on the cooker, turn heat to high and set the timer for eight minutes. Remember, when cooking legumes in the pressure cooker, never fill the pot of the pressure cooker over half full.
When the time is up, turn heat off and let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release.
I like to serve it with toasted baguette with bleu cheese (not traditional, but tasty).
|Pressure Cooker Yellow Split Pea Soup|| |
Yes, Another Pea Soup Recipe
I know, I just recently posted a recipe for split pea soup, but that was green. This is yellow.
When I posted that recipe, I was unaware of the existence of French Canadian yellow pea soup. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I was going to have to make some. With my French Canadian heritage (among other things), I felt it was my duty to make this dish.
So, even though I recently posted a green split pea soup recipe, the cooler weather and possible rain that has been forecast for us makes this the perfect time to make some more pea soup!
So stop by on the weekend for my Yellow Split Pea Soup recipe, eh?
The Austrian Boiled Beef Dish Done The Pressure Cooker Way
Considered by many to be the national dish of Austria, Tafelspitz is basically beef boiled with root vegetables and spices. There are also several traditional sauces that it can be served with. I made an Apple-Horseradish Sauce to go with this one, and I have to say, it was tasty!
Austrian cooking tends to include a lot of sausages and various fried things, so this dish can be considered Austrian health food (ok, maybe not if you make potatoes fried in duck fat to go with it as I did, but I also served it with pickles, so that cancels out the duck fat. Right? Right?)
I used the traditional tri-tip (which in Austria is also know as Tafelspitz), but you could use some brisket or top round. Unless it has an unusually large fat cap, just leave the fat on, or trim off just some of it. I used a two-pounder, because as seems to be the case lately the store didn’t have a three pound one (three pounds is about as large as tri-tip gets).
Since this dish is traditionally boiled, it is one of the rare instances where I don’t brown the meat before pressure cooking.
The root vegetables can be a little flexible if you cannot find something. Just throw in an extra carrot or parsnip. I used two parsnips, two carrots, two celery stalks, and this is where it stops sounding like Noah’s ark, because I only used one small bulb of celeriac (celery root) and one leek. All the vegetables will be strained out later, so I didn’t bother peeling the carrots or parsnips. The celeriac I did peel, because I was getting tired of looking at its ugly mug. It is not the most attractive of veggies. I trimmed most of the dark green off the leek, cut it in half and soaked it a bit in some water, since leeks can be rather dirty.
The treatment of the onion seems to be very specific, and who am I to stray from tradition? The onion is cut in half, unpeeled, and browned on the cut side in a hot skillet with no oil until well browned, almost scorched. After this process, I pulled off the loose outer skin and rinsed and dried the outside of the onion.
I peeled and crushed five cloves of garlic a bit with the side of a knife.
After the browning and chopping and whatnot, throw it all into the pressure cooker with twelve cups of water, ten peppercorns, six juniper berries and two teaspoons of beef flavored Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute a couple cups of beef stock for two cups of the water and the BTB).
And as seems to be the norm with most of my recipes, toss a couple of bay leaves in, put the top on the cooker and set heat to high.
When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 40 minutes.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the apple horseradish sauce. A lot of recipes use fresh apples and freshly grated horseradish, but I cheated by using unsweetened applesauce and prepared horseradish.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together 1 cup applesauce, 1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (to taste, and depending how hot your horseradish is), 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sour cream and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Taste, and add 1 tablespoon honey if needed. Stir well, cover and put in the fridge until ready to serve.
When the time is up, let the pressure come down on its own for 10-15 minutes then do a quick release.
Remove the meat to a plate to rest, and strain the broth. Taste the broth very carefully (it will be very hot) and add salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the meat against the grain a bit on the thick side, pour a little broth over it (the broth is sometimes also served as a soup, but I didn’t do that).
Now, don’t forget about that apple-horseradish sauce in the fridge (which I came very close to doing) and top the meat with a couple dollops. You can also serve some on the side in case anyone wants more (this recipe makes quite a bit).
I served with duck fat fried potatoes. Boiled and buttered small potatoes would also go well with it. You can also add a vegetable, but I just went with pickles.
Serve with a glass of Grüner Veltliner or an Austrian beer such as Gösser or Stiegl.
|Pressure Cooker Tafelspitz|| |