A Very Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving, Pt. 1
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and after a few false starts it seems that Fall is finally upon us. At the beginning of last week, temps were still climbing to 80-90F. It’s as if Mother Nature was so preoccupied with making things miserable for folks on the east coast that she totally neglected us on the left coast, that is until Thursday when she seemed to snap out of it and say “Oh, crap! I totally forgot about those schmucks on the other side!” Temps dropped to 50-60F, fog and drizzle prevailed, and winds reached hat-snatching velocity.
I must say that this weather is much more conducive to conducting Thanksgiving dinner tests. It’s difficult to get in the mood when you’re standing in the kitchen in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts sipping on a Mai Tai with a little umbrella in it, thinking “I wonder how those yams are doing…”
This week, my thoughts turned to cranberry sauce. Sure, there’s a certain nostalgic charm about the log of gelled sauce making that neat sucking sound as it plops onto the plate, but I decided to try something different, something I can make in the pressure cooker.
For some reason, I got the idea of a chipotle cranberry sauce stuck in my head, probably because chipotle everything seems to be big in this part of the country.
There are a lot of chipotle cranberry sauce recipes around, but none were exactly what I was looking for (meaning some looked way more complicated than I was willing to attempt, and I was unable to find one that utilized the pressure cooker).
Taking bits and pieces from many recipes and adding a few things of my own, a couple of tries later I came up with this easy recipe for Pressure Cooker Chipotle Cranberry Sauce.
The most difficult part of this recipe is sorting through the bag of cranberries. Sometimes it seems as though you end up with half the amount that you started with once you remove all the squished ones, tiny hard ones and ones that just don’t look right.
I didn’t even attempt cooking this directly in the pressure cooker pot, instead using Miss Vickie’s Pot in Pan (PIP) method, or in this case, Bowl In Pan (this is the same method I use when making my Pressure Cooker Grits). While I’m on the subject of bowls, my favorite by far is this pricey but perfect Rosle stainless steel bowl. It is narrow but deep with a 1.6 liter capacity, fitting easily into my 7 liter Kuhn Rikon, and I am guessing most pressure cookers of the 5 quart or larger size.
Now that I have the cranberry sauce down, this week I will work on my stuffing and yams.
In the meantime, here is the recipe:
Pressure Cooker Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
2 limes (you will use the zest of one, and the juice of both)
1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder (plain old chili powder should work fine, I have just been on an ancho chili kick lately)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I use a heaping half cup)
1/4 cup red wine
Rinse the cranberries well and sort through them and put in the bowl
Zest one of the limes over the cranberries
In a seperate container put two or three of the chipotle chilis, add a spoon or two of the sauce in there for good measure. I don’t know why, but I had a more difficult time than usual finding these this week, perhaps everyone is making chipotle cranberry sauce this season. The closest local supermarket was out of them, so I went to Whole Foods (the second closest, but more expensive local supermarket. I got lucky at Whole Foods, but they only had several cans left.
In with the chilis, add the red wine. The first time I made this I used water, and it turned out fine, but I like it a little better with the wine. Either will be good.
Add the juice of both limes to this mixture and puree using your favorite pureeing tool. I use a measuring cup for this mixture and puree with my immersion blender. If you use a regular blender just throw it all in the container and puree (hint, hint… With the holidays rapidly approaching, I wouldn’t be too upset if anyone wanted to get me one of them there Vitamixes).
Once this mixture is pureed, pour it over the cranberries.
Next, add the cumin, cinnamon, chili powder and brown sugar.
Now, stir this whole mess together.
In the pressure cooker add a cup of water (or whatever the minimum is for your particular PC) and place the trivet in the bottom of the pot.
Place the bowl with the cranberry mixture into the pressue cooker, turn heat to high, and lock the lid in place.
When you reach maximum pressure, turn the heat down to just maintain pressure and set the timer for ten minutes.
When the sound of the timer becomes annoying, remove pressure cooker from heat and let pressure come down naturally.
Remove bowl from pressure cooker.
With a fork, stir the cranberries, mashing some of them to release some of that natural pectin to thicken it up a bit. Let it cool a little. I have served this both warm and chilled. If you would like to serve it chilled, stick it in the fridge for a while.
And that’s it, it’s ready to serve!
Tonight, I used it to top Stuffing-flavored turkey burgers. This was the fourth time this week the S.O. and I had this, so I had to keep thinking of new ways to serve it.
I’d love to hear from you if you give it a try. Let me know how you like it.