Pressure Cooker Tomato Beet Salad

Beet The Heat With This Tasty Salad!

Beet Salad Plate

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.

Thermostat

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.

Beets

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.

Onion Liquid

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.

Onions Liquid

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.

Cherry Tomatoes

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.

Onions Jar

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).

Beet Salad Bowl

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.

Pressure Cooker Tomato Beet Salad
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 7-8 beets (about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds), leaves trimmed with ½" of stems left on top
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 4-ounce package goat cheese
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (can use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and sherry vinegar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons pickling spice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes (regular will work), halved
  • 2 ounces of pre-made candied pecans (available at most markets, optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place steam tray in pressure cooker with 1-1/2 cups water.
  2. Add beets to steam tray
  3. Lock cover on pressure cooker and set time for 20 minutes at high pressure
  4. When time is up, remove beets to a plastic cutting board and let them cool
  5. Rinse inner pot of pressure cooker and replace
  6. To pressure cooker pot, add the vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spice and ½ teaspoon salt
  7. Set sauté setting on pressure cooker to high
  8. Bring to a boil, stirring often until sugar and salt are dissolved
  9. Turn off PC and let liquid cool for 2 minutes
  10. Strain liquid into a bowl
  11. Add onions to liquid, tossing to make sure all onion is coated
  12. Let set for about 10 minutes
  13. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to overnight
  14. Rub the beets with paper towel to remove skins, and break off stems and tips
  15. Place beets in a container and refrigerate until you assemble the salad
  16. When you are ready to put the salad together, cut the beets into 4-8 chunks each, depending on how large your beets are and put them in a serving bowl
  17. Add the halved tomatoes in with the beets
  18. Add the onions to the tomatoes and beets (I used about half of the onions, you can save the rest for other uses)
  19. Add in four tablespoons of the onion pickling liquid and 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  20. Toss gently, and add salt and pepper to taste
  21. Crumble the goat cheese on top and toss on the candied pecans
  22. Lightly toss cheese and pecans into the salad
  23. Serve on greens such as butter lettuce

Pressure Cooker Chicken Quesadilla

Just Don’t Call It A “Cheese” Quesadilla!

Quesadilla_Plate_Top

Looking around the interwebs at various recipes for Quesadillas, there seemed to be quitej a few recipes for “Cheese Quesadillas” (yes even Paula Deen doesn’t know any better), “Cheesy Quesadillas”. But seeing as how “Queso” is Spanish for cheese, that would be akin to posting a recipe for a “Tuna-y Tuna Sandwich”.

Chicken_Ingredients

But this recipe is for a quesadilla with the addition of chicken, so “Chicken Quesadilla” is appropriate.

Sure, there are quicker Chicken Quesadilla recipes, but this one has a tasty, braised chicken filling that would take longer if prepared in a conventional manner.

Tortillas_Cheese

I have made a smaller batch of this in my stovetop pressure cookers, but in my electric the minimum liquid is 1.5 cups, so a larger batch of chicken is necessary.

Cheese_Grated

This is a bit of a hybrid recipe, in that it utilizes the pressure cooker as well as the oven or griddle. I probably would do them on a griddle if I had one, but because of the size limits of my kitchen that probably will not happen soon.

Tortillas

This can also be done with smaller tortillas, using two tortillas with one on the top and one on the bottom, but my preference is to use large “burrito size” tortillas and fold them. This is also better if cooking them on the griddle, since your can just pivot them from one side to the other, whereas if you were doing it sandwich style, there would be a lot more difficulty in flipping it without losing all of the tasty filling.

I like to use a 9 or 10 inch tortilla. The ones I used this time were 12 inch and a little difficult to work with.

Chicken_Cubed

So let’s make the chicken filling. If you want to make the chicken dicing a little easier, you can pop the chicken breasts in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so to firm it up a bit.

In a couple tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil (it doesn’t have to be your favorite, your are welcome to cook in one you hate if you really want to), sauté a chopped onion until it becomes translucent. Add in 5 cloves of garlic (smashed with a press) and sauté for another minute.

Onions_Garlic

Add a couple pounds of cubed boneless, skinless chicken breast and cook until the outside starts to turn white.

Quesadilla_Spices

Add the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and stir together.

Pour in 1/2 cup of beer and stir it all together.

Chicken_Beer

Add two cans of Ro-Tel, after draining the liquid from one of the cans.

Chicken_Rotel

Put the pressure cooker over high heat (if using an electric PC, switch to pressure mode). Put top on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.

When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 3 minutes.

When time is up, do a quick release.

Remove the top from the pressure cooker.

Chicken_Cilantro

Put pot over high heat (for electrics switch to the highest sauté or brown mode.

Add about 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro and simmer for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is reduced to desired thickness.

So, that’s it for the filling. Let’s put together our quesadillas.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Baking_Sheet_Tortillas

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Depending on the size of your tortillas, get out two or three of them (however many will fit on the baking sheet folded in half. If making a lot at once, use two baking sheets.

On one half of each tortilla, put one or two large spoons of the chicken mixture. Put a generous amount of cheese on each one as well.

Tortilla_Folded

Fold each quesadilla in half and put the baking sheets in the oven.

Set timer for 5 minutes.

Quesadilla_Plate_Side

When time is up, remove the baking sheets from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Cut into wedges with knife or pizza cutter and top with your favorite toppings.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Quesadilla
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Recipe type: Entree or Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican American
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-8 quesadillas
The Southwest favorite with a tasty chicken filling
Ingredients
For Chicken
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into approximately ½" cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ½ cup beer
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cans Ro-Tel, 1 drained, 1 with liquid (or other canned tomatoes with green chiles)
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
For Quesadillas
  • Flour Tortillas (quantity will vary depending on size)
  • 24 oz cheese, grated (I like half Pepper Jack and half Cheddar)
  • Toppings of your choice (I like Salsa, Guacamole and Sour Cream)
Instructions
For Filling
  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat (or medium sauté setting on electric model)
  2. Sauté onions until they become translucent (4-5 minutes)
  3. Add garlic and sauté for another minute
  4. Add in chicken and stir until it takes on a little white color (I prefer the meat not be browned for this recipe)
  5. Add oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to mix
  6. Pour in the beer
  7. Add the can of Ro-tel with juice and the drained can of Ro-tel
  8. Stir, then turn heat to high and place top on pressure cooker (for electric, turn off sauté mode, put top on cooker and set pressure to high)
  9. When high pressure is reached set time to 3 minutes
  10. When time is up, remove from heat and do a quick release
  11. Remove cover from pressure cooker
  12. Place back over medium-high heat
  13. Add chopped cilantro
  14. Bring to low boil for 8-10 minutes, stirring often until mixture thickens
For Quesadillas
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (you can preheat while chicken is cooking)
  2. Lightly grease 1 or 2 baking sheets, depending on how many you want to make at a time
  3. Place two tortillas on sheet (can be hanging off the side since you will be folding) You might be able to get 3 on a sheet if using smaller tortillas
  4. Depending on tortilla size, put one or two large spoons of chicken on one side of each tortilla
  5. Top with generous handful of cheese
  6. Fold tortillas (like a large taco)
  7. Place baking sheet in oven for 5 minutes
  8. Cut quesadillas into wedges with knife or pizza cutter
  9. Serve with whatever topping you like

 

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 Sauerkraut Soup

I’m sure it’s authentic somewhere!

Soup Bowl3

This is one of those times I started searching for one thing, and a few hours and a couple hundred clicks later, I found myself wanting, no needing, to make Sauerkraut Soup. How a search for Potato Soup ultimately led to this, I am not sure, but I must say I am happy I stumbled upon this. Even though it turned out to be pretty warm the past couple days (as I predicted in my last post), this soup wasn’t so heavy that it was difficult to eat in such conditions, unlike the creamy potato soups that originally started my search.

And, it goes exceptionally well with beer, so that helped alleviate the warm weather issue!

Sauerkraut soup is popular in a lot of places, particularly areas of Eastern Europe, including Polish Kapusniak, German (such as this one from Heidi Klum), Russian Shchi, and even from the US Midwest.

They vary in the meats used, some using beef, some pork and some with multiple meats. Some use only sauerkraut, some a combination of sauerkraut and fresh cabbage.

My primary goal for my version was to follow the Three E’s – Effortless, Economical and Expeditious. And I think I succeeded, if I do say so myself. Using relatively inexpensive Kielbasa as the protein, and just 8 minutes under pressure take care of the economical and expeditious elements. Except for a little minor chopping and sautéing, most of the elements are just dumped in the pressure cooker, which covers the effortless aspect.

Sauerkraut Soup Ingredients

A pound of sausage would be fine, but I used 12 ounces because that seems to be the only size package that I can find around here. I used a 28 ounce jar of sauerkraut, you can use as much as a quart, or less if you would like your soup to be a bit more liquid.

Start by chopping the onion and potato. Run the garlic through a press. Cut the kielbasa in half lengthwise, then slice.

Sausage Chopped

Since I used the InstantPot, these instructions are for that, but it can easily be adapted to another electric or a stovetop cooker. I would keep the same time for whatever method you choose.

Using the sauté setting on medium, heat the oil.

Toss in the onion, sausage and garlic together. Cook until the onion starts to become translucent.

Dump in the potato, paprika, caraway seeds and tomato paste. Stir everything together.

Veg and Potato

Cook for another minute or so.

Add 5-6 grinds of black pepper and about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt (you can adjust this later, the amount needed will vary depending on your sausage and sauerkraut.

Dump in the sauerkraut (including the liquid).

Adding Sauerkraut

Pour in the chicken stock.

Stir in two tablespoons brown sugar (you can add more later if necessary, depending on how sour your sauerkraut is) and a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce.

Toss in the two bay leaves.

Before Pressure

Turn off the sauté mode and place the top on the pressure cooker.

Turn the cooker to “soup” mode and set the timer for 8 minutes

InstantPot Soup Mode

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

When pressure is completely released, remove the top.

Give it a taste and adjust the salt and brown sugar as necessary.

Soup Finished

Serve topped with sour cream (I highly recommend that you don’t skip this, it adds a lot to this soup) and a little fresh dill.

Rye Bread

With some good buttered rye bread on the side, this makes a complete meal.

Pressure Cooker Sauerkraut Soup
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Eastern European
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Sauerkraut Soup with Potatoes and Sausage - Yum!
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 package (12-16 ounces) Kielbasa cut in half lengthwise then sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 4-5 medium potatoes (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into ½-3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 jar (28-32 ounces) sauerkraut
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in pressure cooker pot (if using electric PC, use sauté or brown mode on medium)
  2. Sauté onion, garlic and sausage until the onions start to get translucent
  3. Add paprika and caraway seed and sauté for another couple minutes
  4. Add a couple grinds of black pepper
  5. Add in the potatoes
  6. Drop in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  7. Stir everything together
  8. Pour in the chicken stock
  9. Add the brown sugar and Worcestershire Sauce and give it a stir
  10. Toss 2 bay leaves on top
  11. Place top on pressure cooker and turn heat to high (for electric PC, turn off sauté/brown mode, place top on PC and set for high pressure on "soup" mode)
  12. Set timer for 8 minutes
  13. When time is up, let pressure come down naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  14. Serve in bowls topped with sour cream and a little fresh dill

 

Sneak Peek – Sauerkraut Soup

Sauerkraut, potatoes, kielbasa. All the basic food groups. 

Sauerkraut Soup Ingredients

If all goes as planned, this recipe will be up this weekend. Of course, if history is any indication, by the time I get this tasty, warming soup ready to serve it will be 90 degrees outside again (but if the forecast can be trusted it will only be around 80 or so).

If my experimentation over the next couple days pays off, check back on the weekend for my recipe for Pressure Cooker Sauerkraut Soup!

Pressure Cooker Black Bean Barley Salad

A Healthy, Warm Weather Meal

Black Bean Barley Salad Plated

Man, I really had to switch gears on this week’s recipe. My plans were to post a recipe for chowder, until the last several days saw the mercury climbing ever higher (yeah, I know that no thermometers use mercury any more, but I really like the sound of it). It was pushing 80 F by the time I unstuck myself from the sheets this morning (no air conditioning in the apartment). Even in the morning, while it was slightly cooler, I could not imagine myself eating chowder later in the day.

So, I decided that I must figure out how to use the pressure cooker to make a salad. After many hours of head-scratching and brow-furrowing I decided to make a salad with grains and beans, which of course, can be made in the pressure cooker.

Black Bean Barley Salad Ingredients

Cooking the barley and beans together, I was able to cut down on the time spent using appliances. And, using the Instant Pot it does not increase the temperature in the kitchen by any detectable amount.

Even so, it is probably a good idea to get the cooking part out of the way early while it is still relatively cool, then let it cool for awhile before you add in the other ingredients.

First, let’s just worry about getting the beans and barley ready. Yes, I know these days that there doesn’t seem to be any other grain besides quinoa, but I decided on barley. Beer is made from barley, and I like beer, so obviously barley is better than quinoa.

Barley Rinsing

I wasn’t able to try this a couple times before posting it, but fortunately it turned out pretty well.

Put 4 cups of water, 1 cup of beans and 1 cup of pearl barley in the pressure cooker along with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and a bay leaf. For most dishes I would soak the beans overnight, but for this, I recommend just rinsing. For this, we want the beans to remain firm, not to break down like you would want for soup.

Chopped Veggies

Bring to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.

When time is up, remove from heat, wait 10 minutes then do a quick release.

Let it cool while you go somewhere air-conditioned to have breakfast (at least, that’s what I did).

When you get back, chop and slice and whatnot the various vegetables, cheese and meat. Mix it in with the beans and barley.

Cheese Cubes

Now, let’s get to the dressing. In a blender or food processor, mix together the juice of 2 limes, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey (if making a vegan version, you can sub agave nectar), 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Go ahead and blenderize (yes, blenderize!) that mixture and when it is smooth pour over the salad and mix together.

It is best to let the flavors blend, so pop it in the fridge and go to the local pub for a brewski while the flavors meld.

Black Bean Barley Salad Plated2

When you get home, remove the whole deal from the fridge, mix it up again, and serve it up.

Enjoy, and make sure you have some ice cream on hand for dessert!

 

Pressure Cooker Black Bean Barley Salad
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Latin
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
For Salad
  • I cup Black Beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup Pearl Barley, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • ½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 Radishes, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces sliced Spanish Chorizo or Salami, slices cut into quarters (omit for vegan or vegetarian option)
  • 6 ounces smoked gouda, cubed (omit for vegan option)
For Dressing
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
Instructions
For Salad
  1. Put beans and barley in pressure cooker pot
  2. Add 4 cups water, ½ teaspoon cumin and bay leaf
  3. Put top on pressure cooker and set for high pressure
  4. When high pressure is reached, set timer for 20 minutes
  5. When time is up, remove pressure cooker from heat
  6. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  7. With slotted spoon or spider, remove beans and barley to bowl and let cool
  8. When mixture has cooled, add bell pepper, onion, radishes, cilantro, chorizo and cheese
  9. Mix everything together
For Dressing
  1. In blender or food processor, mix the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey (substitute agave nectar if making a vegan version), cilantro, salt and pepper
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. Pour over salad, then mix everything together
  4. Refrigerate for an hour or so to let flavors meld

 

Too Many Pressure Cookers?

Of course not! There is no such thing as too many pressure cookers!

Pork_Polenta_Kale

Last night, it suddenly occurred to me that I may have a problem. I was in the middle of preparing dinner when I realized I had three pressure cookers going at once. I thought nothing of it as I was getting everything started, it was just when I realized I was monitoring the time on three different devices when it hit me.

Some folks think about it a long time before deciding whether they really need just one pressure cooker. What will I do with it? Do I really like beans that much?

Fissler Pressure Cooker

I like a good one-pot meal as much as the next guy, but when I’m cooking I tend to reach for a pressure cooker more often than any other pot or pan, no matter what I may be preparing.

So I guess it makes sense that if I am preparing three different things, I reach for three different pressure cookers.

I see each of my PCs as being better at certain things than the others. Last night for instance, I prepared Pork Tenderloin with a Balsamic Pan Sauce, Kale with Onions and Garlic, and Polenta.

As with any long, flat piece of meat, I immediately turned to the Fissler pressure pan. It’s wide, shallow depth is perfect for such a dish. And the bottom surface just seems to brown things a little better. Part of it is because the pan is wider, so I get more surface area without cutting the meat into smaller pieces.

InstantPot Pressure Cooker

I have been using the Instant Pot for anything that should be cooked at low pressure, because it is easier to just set it to “low” and put in how much time you need, than closely watching the stovetop cooker waiting for it to hit the low pressure mark, then adjusting the flame just right so it doesn’t creep up to high pressure (not that it’s that difficult, but when I have the option to be lazy, then that’s the option I’ll take!)

My Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker is  my largest at 7 liters, so anything that needs the room goes in that one. I used it for the Kale last night, since it takes up a lot of room (and very little room by the time you take it out).

KR Pressure Cooker

When I first got  the KR, I planned on purchasing the 5 liter, but for some reason the 7 liter was slightly cheaper on Amazon at the time. Do I need such a gigantic cooker, I thought? Once it arrived, I realized it wasn’t giant at all. Since you can only fill a pressure cooker 2/3 full (and 1/2 full for starchy items such as beans and grains), I realized it wasn’t too large at all. In fact sometimes I consider getting a larger one as well.

But for now, my little pressure cooker family of 3 works just fine.

What was my point? Oh yeah, there is nothing wrong with having several pressure cookers. No, not at all. It’s very healthy in fact. Yeah, that’s it. It’s good for you. No, I don’t have a problem. Not at all.

Pressure Cooker Lentil Barley Soup

This Red Lentil Barley Soup Recipe Makes a Hearty Meal

Barley_Lentil_Soup1

I got the idea of adding barley to lentils from a recipe on the back of the bag of lentils. I never would have thought of it without seeing it on the bag, although my recipe is quite different from the one on the bag.

Barley_Lentil_Stew_Recipe

A meal in itself, as they say. This fiber-packed soup with warming North African influenced spices is sure to keep you warm on a chilly night.

I made this using my relatively new Instant Pot (this one right here), which I am liking more all the time, but should translate just fine to a stovetop model.

Barley_Lentil_Chopped_VegBut I must admit, I am having trouble getting very excited about waxing enthusiastically about a hearty, stick to your ribs soup today.

It is definitely not because this isn’t a really tasty soup, because it is quite tasty. It’s because today in SoCal we aren’t having quite what you would call “soup weather’.

As I am writing this on my phone, I am sitting in my local pub wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt with a cold one in front of me, just to get a break from my hot, non-air conditioned apartment.

Veg_W_Tomato

When I cooked this earlier this week, it was a chilly, rainy day. Today it is 83 degrees with nary a cloud to be seen. Such is life in Southern California, but it is my job to bravely press on.

Soup_Pre_Cook

I myself am not a vegetarian (not that there’s anything wrong with that), so I used some chicken Better Than Bouillon that I already had on hand, but this can easily be made as a vegetarian or even vegan dish (just leave out the feta cheese at the end and Bob’s your uncle!)

Start out by sautéing the onions in a couple tablespoons of oil. When the onions start to become translucent, add the garlic to the party and continue to stir for a couple more minutes.

Now, add those carrots and the celery and sauté for a few minutes

Introduce the spices and sauté for another minute

Now it is time for the tomatoes, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper (you can adjust these a bit later)

Add the water and Better Than Bouillon. You can substitute 4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock for four cups of the water to make a vegetarian or vegan version.

Toss in the bay leaves, place the top on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.

Set the timer for 18 minutes

When time is up, let the pressure come down naturally.

Barley_Lentil_Soup_Finished

When pressure is released, remove top

If you have never worked with red lentils, be aware that they will break down completely, leaving a nice, thick stew-like soup.

Barley_Lentil_Soup_Closeup

I like to top it with a little crumbled Feta cheese, skip this step if you would like to make a vegan version.

Pressure Cooker Lentil-Barley Soup
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Red Lentils, Barley and some North African spices make this warming soup perfect for a chilly weather dinner
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles (Such as Ro-Tel)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Better The Bouillon chicken flavor (you can substitute four cups of the water and the BTB with four cups of chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. In pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat (or medium sauté setting on electric PC), in a couple tablespoons oil sauté the onions until they start to get translucent
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so
  3. Add the carrots and celery, continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes
  4. Put in the cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, coriander and ginger
  5. Stir for about 30 seconds
  6. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, lentils and barley and mix everything together
  7. Pour in the water
  8. Add the Better Than Bouillon and stir
  9. Toss in the bay leaves and cover the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure (if using electric PC, switch from Sauté to high pressure mode
  10. Set time for 18 minutes
  11. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own.
  12. Serve with a little crumbled feta on top

 

Pressure Cooker Steak and Stout Pie

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Corned Beef and Cabbage

Steak & Stout Pie

Corned beef and cabbage? Bah, humbug! Wait, I think that saying is for a different holiday, Is Saint Patrick’s Day even a holiday? I don’t get a day off for it. Of course, many people call in sick the day after it.

If you tell someone from Ireland that you are making corned beef and cabbage because it is Saint Patrick’s day, their reaction is likely to be, “Um, huh?”

I’m led to believe that Steak and Stout pie is something you might actually be able to find in Ireland, at least in the pubs. And if I ever visited Ireland, most of my time would most likely be spent in pubs, so I would probably come across this quite often.

In this in-depth article (really, really in depth) it is explained that there is some corned beef in Ireland, but it isn’t even close to being the national dish. Though, some places do serve corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s day, they are serving it for tourists.

What the heck am I going on about corned beef for? This recipe isn’t for corned beef. I guess the point I am trying to make is that there are other things you can make for your St. Patrick’s day party. Take this Dublin Coddle recipe I posted last year, for example. Or this Steak and Stout Pie I hope to eventually get around to talking about.

Steak & Stout Pie Ingredients

You can use any stout you like, but I don’t recommend anything labeled as “extra stout” or “imperial stout”. These are higher in alcohol, and since the pressure cooker doesn’t let any steam escape once it reaches pressure, it will be too strong of a flavor and these stronger ones can also result in a bitter flavor.

This recipe is kind of a hybrid recipe, as the filling is made in the pressure cooker but then is cooked in the oven to cook the crust. I use frozen puff pastry for the crust, so it is still a relatively quick recipe. It is best to let the filling cool for an hour or so before putting the crust on top because if the crust becomes too warm it will not be flaky, and as anyone will tell you, I know flaky.

I like to use frozen pearl onions, but if you can’t find them, or already have onions on hand, a large chopped onion will work fine. The onions mostly break down during the cooking time anyway, I just think the pearl ones lend kind of a nice, sweet flavor to this recipe.

Meat Cut

Cut about 2 pounds of chuck into 1-inch cubes. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat. Put as much of the meat as will comfortably in the pressure cooker pot and brown on two sides. I usually only brown about half of the meat. That is enough to add the browned flavor and it saves a little time. Remove this to a plate.

Meat In Pan

Now brown the onions. Add another splash of oil if necessary. Sauté the onions until they start to caramelize. Remove these to a bowl. Do not remove these to a plate unless you would like to chase pearl onions around your kitchen (don’t ask me how I know this).

Onions In Bowl

Next, sauté a chopped shallot and  four cloves of  pressed garlic until the shallot starts to soften. Add the carrot and sauté for a few minutes until it softens slightly.

Now add a couple teaspoons of Herbes De Provence, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of tomato paste and some ground black pepper. Don’t add any salt at this point, you can adjust that later. Between the cheese and the beef bouillon, you may not need any additional salt at all.

Ingredients In Pan

Add 1/2 cup of stout and stir everything together.

Dump the onions and meat back in.

Add 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 1 cup of beef stock for the 1 cup of water and the Better Than Bouillon.

PC Times

Put the cover on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.

When high pressure is reached, set the timer for 20 minutes.

While this is cooking, it is a perfect time to grate 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, then after the cheese is grated, make a slurry of two level tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of water. Now that you’ve got those two things out of the way, grab what’s left in that bottle (or can) of stout and relax for a few minutes until the timer sounds.

Slurry

When the timer sounds, quickly down the rest of the beer, then go over and take the pressure cooker off the heat. If you have an electric pressure cooker, turn it off. Let the pressure come down naturally for ten minutes, then do a quick release.

Uncover the pressure cooker, then put over medium heat, or put on “medium” sauté setting on your electric pressure cooker. Stir in the flour and water mixture and continue to stir for a couple minutes. Stir in about half the cheese, stirring in a little at a time. Continue to stir for about five minutes more to cook out most of the flour taste.

Filling In Pan 1

Now, at this point you have a pot of Steak and Stout Stew, and if you really want to (or if you are pressed for time) you can stop now and serve over mashed potatoes or with good bread, but you should keep stirring over medium heat for about another five minutes to make really sure that the flour taste is cooked out. But hey, you’ve come this far, you might as well take it all the way and go for the whole pie experience.

Let the filling cool for 60-90 minutes if you have time. This is where a little foresight would have come in handy and you would have bought an extra can of stout. If that is the case, open that baby up and enjoy.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Set a sheet of puff pastry out to thaw. It should be pliable enough to work with but still cold. If it gets too warm, the layers will meld together and your pastry won’t be puffy and flaky. On a floured work surface, roll out your dough until it is an inch or so wider than your pie pan.

Crust Unrolled

Pour filling into a pie pan or au gratin dish about 9 or 10 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the filling. Place the crust on top of the pan. Trim the edges to round it off. Roll the edges up until they only slightly protrude over the edge of the pan. Brush the top with beaten egg. Score the top in a cross-hatch pattern then pierce the top a few times.

Crust Uncooked

Place the pan on a baking sheet (it is certain to bubble over, and better a baking sheet than the bottom of your oven). Set the timer for twenty minutes. Check on it after about fifteen minutes just to be safe. When the timer goes off, check that it looks brown and flaky. If not, give it another few minutes.

Take the pie out of the oven and let it cool for about five minutes. Cut the crust into four pieces and serve.

Pie_Cooked

It makes four generous portions.

Sláinte Mhaith!

Pressure Cooker Steak and Stout Pie
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Irish
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Celebrate Saint Patrick's day with some tasty pub fare
Ingredients
For The Filling
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 pounds chuck steak
  • 8 oz. by weight frozen pearl onions
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed with garlic press
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Herbes De Provence
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup stout beer
  • 1 cup water plus ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons beef flavor Better Than Bouillon (you can substitute 1 cup of beef stock for 1 cup water and the Better Than Buillon)
  • 2 level tablespoons flour mixed with the ¼ cup water
  • 8 ounces grate sharp cheddar cheese
For The Crust
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
For The Filling
  1. Put the pressure cooker pot over medium heat (or the medium sauté setting of your electric pressure cooker
  2. Brown about half of the meat, then remove to plate
  3. Add another splash of oil, if needed
  4. Sauté the pearl onions until they start to caramelize and remove to bowl
  5. Sauté the shallot and garlic until the shallot starts to soften
  6. Add the carrot and sauté for a couple more minutes
  7. Add the Herbes De Provence, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomato Paste and stout
  8. Add some black pepper to taste
  9. Pour in the 1 cup water and Better Than Bouillon Beef Flavor
  10. Add the meat and onions back to the pot
  11. Cover the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure
  12. Set timer for 20 minutes
  13. When timer sounds remove the pressure cooker from heat (or turn off electric pressure cooker)
  14. Let pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes then use quick release
  15. Put pot back on medium heat
  16. Stir in the flour & water mixture
  17. Stir for around 7 minutes to cook out the flour taste
  18. Stir half of the cheese a little at time
  19. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for 60-90 minutes
  20. Adjust salt & pepper to taste (you may not need any salt at all)
For The Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Thaw 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (I found it takes about 20 minutes to thaw. It should still be cold, but pliable enough to work with).
  3. Beat 1 egg
  4. Roll out pastry until it is large enough to cover a 9-10 inch pie pan or Au Gratin Dish
  5. Pour filling in pie pan then sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the filling
  6. Place pastry on top
  7. Trim the crust to round it off about ½-inch beyond the edge of the pan
  8. Roll up edges until they are just past the edge of the pan
  9. Brush beaten egg over top of crust
  10. Score crust in a cross-hatch pattern and pierce crust several times near center
  11. Place pan on a baking sheet and place on middle rack of oven
  12. Set timer for 20 minutes
  13. Check a couple times to make sure the crust does not get overdone
  14. When 20 minutes check crust. If it looks nicely browned and flaky, remove from oven. If not done, give it a couple more minutes
  15. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes
  16. Cut crust into 4 sections and put on plates

Sneak Peek – Pressure Cooker Steak & Stout Pie

Coming This Weekend – A St. Patrick’s Day Treat!

Beef_Stout_Pie

Because I am always getting my special holiday recipes posted at the very last minute, I thought I needed to try to get ahead of the game this time, so this weekend I will  post my St. Patrick’s Day recipe in plenty of time!

It was originally going to have a different name (that starts with a “G”), but since my local store did not have single cans of “G”, I had to use “M”, which worked out fine but necessitated a name change.

So check back this weekend for the recipe!