Mango Chipotle Pulled Pork

A Sweet And Spicy Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Tacos

I know I promised pulled pork tacos, but this week I felt more like sandwiches. So, you can still have tacos if you like, but this will work equally well with sandwiches. Your choice! With both I made a zesty cilantro-lime slaw and a chipotle mayo and it worked great with both.


I did this in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker just to make sure that it worked, because last week I used a little larger piece of meat without cutting it into pieces first, which forced me to switch to plan B, the B meaning burned. No, I didn’t burn the meat, but the emergency transferring of the meat from electric pressure cooker to stovetop cooker caused a splash that resulted in several second-degree burns on the top of one hand. So, I highly recommend that you cut the meat into two or three pieces for easier handling.


To start, make the sauce. Combine sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.


Cut the meat into 2 or 3 pieces and season with seasoned salt or salt and pepper.


In a few tablespoons of canola or other oil, brown each piece of meat on one side. Just browning on one side is enough to impart enough of the caramelized flavor. I have found that if I try to brown all sides I start to lose patience and flip too early, ending up with slightly browned meat, and not as much flavor as browning well on just one side.

Remove the meat to a plate.

Sauté the onion, adding a bit more oil if necessary. When onion is translucent,   add the garlic and sauté for another minute.


Pour in a bottle of Mexican beer, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot.

Add some salt and pepper.


Place the meat back in the pot on top of the onions.

Pour the previously prepared sauce over the meat and toss a couple of bay leaves on top for luck.


Lock the top on the cooker, set heat to high and bring to high pressure for 80 minutes.

When time is up, let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.

Remove the meat to a platter or board to rest for 10 minutes or so.

Pull the meat apart with two forks.


I didn’t use the pan sauce since I already had a chipotle mayo and zesty slaw, but you can skim some fat off and use as is, or bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or so.

Mango Chipotle Pulled Pork
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
The sweetness of mango and the heat of chipotle chiles combine to make a sweet and spicy pulled pork that works equally well in tacos or sandwiches
For The Sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen mango chunks, thawed (you can use fresh)
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
  • ½ cup catsup
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
For the pork
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (or any cooking oil)
  • Seasoned salt
  • 4 pound bone-in pork shoulder (cut into 2-3 pieces)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bottle Mexican beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Pour all sauce ingredients in blender or food processor
  2. Blend until smooth
  3. With pressure cooker pot on medium-high heat, heat the oil (For electric cookers, turn sauté mode to high)
  4. Brown each piece of pork on one side
  5. Remove the meat to a plate
  6. Sauté the onion until translucent
  7. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  8. Pour in the beer, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot
  9. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper
  10. Add the meat back into the pot
  11. Pour sauce over the meat
  12. Toss the bay leaves on top
  13. Lock the top on the pot
  14. Turn heat to high to reach high pressure (if using electric, turn off sauté mode and set to manual mode at high pressure)
  15. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure
  16. Set time for 80 minutes
  17. When time is up, let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  18. Remove meat to a platter or cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes
  19. Pull apart the meat with 2 forks
  20. If you want to use the sauce, you can bring to a simmer for 10 minutes or so to reduce slightly or you can make a day ahead and refrigerate the sauce, then remove the layer of fat from the sauce and reheat.


Albondigas Soup

Albondigas, It’s Spanish For Meatballs!

Albondigas Bowl1

Albondigas, everyone! No, it isn’t some exotic greeting, it is simply Spanish for meatballs.

Which means yes, yet another Meatball Recipe!

Hi, I’m Troy McLure! You may know me from such meatball recipes as Pressure Cooker Soutzoukakia, Orange Chipotle Turkey Meatballs and Pressure Cooker Quick Meatballs.

Albondigas Soup Ingredients

And now, another recipe involving succulent orbs of meaty goodness, Albondigas Soup!

If you have ever stepped foot inside of a Mexican restaurant, you have more than likely seen Albondigas Soup on the menu. A tasty, only slightly spicy soup. You can have it before a meal, or by adding tortilla chips or warm tortillas you can make it a meal.

Meatball Ingredients

Let’s begin by getting the meatballs ready. I like to use 1 pound of ground beef and 1/2 pound of Chorizo. My local store has bulk chorizo. If you can only find links, remove it from the casing.

Tortilla Chip Crumbs

Take 15 or 20 tortilla chips and crush them in a blender. Just a couple of pulses should do the trick. You can use finely ground bread or cracker crumbs if you like. It should come out to about 1/3 cup.

In a mixing bowl, combine the meat, tortilla chip crumbs, 1 lightly beaten egg, 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint, 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Meatball Mix

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and smoosh this whole concoction together. Don’t get too wild, you don’t want to end up with rubbery balls, but blend it well.

Once blended, start forming the balls. For some reason, I seem to have some sort of psychological impediment that prevents me from making small meatballs. I got 16, but I think most people should be able to get at least 24. Mine were about golf ball size, but they really should be smaller than that. I run into the problem of running out of meatballs before I run out of soup. So, do as I say, not as I do. Keep those meatballs at a reasonable size!

Meatballs Formed

Roll the meatballs between your hands then place on a plate or baking sheet. When all the meatballs are ready, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while you get the soup ready.

Sliced Carrots

For the soup, start out by peeling and slicing a few carrots into circles, about 1/4 thick or a bit thicker. Now, slice 3 or celery stalks, also about 1/4 inch thick. Dice an onion and press a few cloves of garlic.

Chopped Veggies

In your pressure cooker pot on the high sauté mode heat two tablespoons of oil or lard (I would normally use oil, but currently I have some lard and I’m not afraid to use it). Sauté the veggies that you just chopped (except the garlic) until the onion and celery start to soften ad the onion is translucent. Now dump in the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Veggies Tomatoes

Sprinkle in 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, 2 teaspoons of dried oregano, a teaspoon of cumin, a teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Stir for 30 seconds then dump in a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and two cartons (32 ounces each) of chicken broth.


Add about a cup of frozen green beans.

Still with sauté mode on high, stir in 2/3 cup Basmati rice.

Walk over to the fridge and retrieve those meatballs and walk slowly back to the soup. BOO!  (Did I make you drop your meatballs?) Sorry, just another one of my classic pranks.

Gently place the meatballs into the soup.

Turn off the sauté mode and switch to manual.

Set time to come to high pressure for 10 minutes.

Albondigas Soup Cooked

When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.

If using a stove top pressure cooker, bring to high pressure for 8 minutes, but do the same 10 minute natural release.

Albondigas Bowl2

Serve in bowls. I like a little sour cream on top and serve with crunchy tortilla chips.

Albondigas Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 servings
Mexican meatball soup, just slightly spicy is perfect for a starter, or add some tortilla chips or warm tortillas and make a meal of it.
  • 1 pound ground beef (15% fat works best)
  • ½ pound pork chorizo (you can use all ground beef)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 15-20 tortilla chips, crushed in blender, about ⅓ cup (can use bread or cracker crumbs)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or lard
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 3 or 4 celery stalks, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup frozen cut green beans
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounce) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) chicken broth
  • ⅔ cups basmati rice (or other long grain rice)
  1. Add all meatball ingredients to a bowl
  2. Mix with hands until well blended
  3. Form small balls about ½-3/4 inch between hands and remove to a plate or baking sheet
  4. Place in refrigerator to let firm while making soup
  1. Set electric pressure cooker to sauté mode on high (or place stove top pressure cooker over medium-high heat)
  2. Heat lard or oil in pressure cooker pot
  3. Sauté carrots, celery and onion until onions become translucent
  4. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute
  5. Add ancho chile powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, coriander, and Worcestershire sauce and stir together
  6. Add green beans, fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock and rice
  7. Gently place the meatballs into the soup
  8. Turn off sauté mode, lock the top on your pressure cooker and turn on manual mode
  9. Set to come to high pressure for 10 minutes (8 minutes for stove top pressure cooker)
  10. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes then do a natural release
  11. Serve in bowls topped with a little sour cream and tortilla chips on the side


Red Beans and Rice

A Tasty Pressure Cooker Version Of The Classic

Red Beans Bowl1

Who doesn’t like Red Beans and Rice? Nobody, that’s who! That may explain why every Tom, Dick and Mary has a recipe for Red Beans and Rice. So why am I posting yet another recipe for Red Beans and Rice? Because I like Red Beans and Rice, and I like them the way that I make them. So perhaps, you will like them my way as well.

Red Beans Ingredients

In addition to being a great meal for the cooler weather, it might also be a tasty alternative to chili to serve at your party for “THE BIG GAME”. Myself, I don’t know from no big game. But I do like to think I know from tasty food.

Red Beans and Rice is one of those dishes that no matter what you do, it’s going to be wrong according to everybody else who has ever made Red Beans and Rice. So, if you happen to have an old family recipe that has been handed down for generations, I hope my recipe doesn’t raise too much ire.

Chopped Veggies

I like to use small red beans, but others swear by red kidney beans. You can use either. I prefer the texture of the small red beans.

I also soak the beans overnight. I know it is the latest trend these days to not soak beans, but no matter what “they” say, I don’t think you can get the same creamy consistency without soaking. And who am I to follow trends, anyway? The day that I cook my beans without soaking, will be the day I do it while sporting a man-bun.


You can use either ham hocks or shanks. The package I bought was labeled “shanks” but I am about 99% sure they were actually hocks. I have noticed before that here in SoCal, a lot of people use the terms interchangeably. Though they are not exactly the same thing, you can use either. Or even smoked turkey thighs if you don’t eat pork (in which case you would switch the Andouille to a chicken or turkey version as well).

Sliced Andouille

I made this in my trusty Kuhn Rikon stovetop cooker, but you can use the electric as long as it will fit. Add 5 minutes for the electric. I was using my electric to prepare the rice, so stovetop it was.

I don’t brown the sausage. I know some people can’t imagine not browning the sausage. If you are one of these folks, feel free to brown the sausage if it makes you feel better.

Ham Hocks

Start by heating some oil on medium-high heat. Sweat a large diced onion, a couple chopped green peppers and a few stalks of chopped celery until they start to soften and the onions are translucent. Add 5 or 6 cloves of pressed garlic and sauté for another minute. Some may frown upon putting the garlic through one of those infernal devices, but  I can sometimes be a bit lazy and don’t always feel like mincing it with a knife. It still tastes like garlic once it is cooked, so what’s the harm?


Add in a tablespoon of Creole Seasoning (Tony Chachere’s seems to be the standard and is relatively easy to find), a teaspoon of dried Parsley, a teaspoon of dried Oregano, a teaspoon of dried Thyme and 1/2 a teaspoon of Allspice. Sauté, stirring constantly for a minute or so.

Plop in a package of Andouille sausage, sliced into rounds, about 1/4″ thick. Kielbasa or Smoked Sausage will work in a pinch, but Andouille is what is generally used in the real deal.

Vegetables Sauteeing

Dump in a pound (dry weight) of red beans (or kidney beans).

Pour in a 32-ounce carton of chicken broth, 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Veggies Spices

Place 1 to 1-1/2 pounds of ham hocks or shanks into the broth and toss a couple of bay leaves on top.

Lock the top on the pressure cooker, raise heat to high and bring to high pressure.

Veggies Sausage

When high pressure is reached, lower heat to maintain high pressure and set your timer for 30 minutes. If you are using an electric pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot, which is the electric that I use, set time for 35 minutes.

Red Beans Rice Mixed2

Speaking of the Instant Pot, once I get my beans going, I make the rice in the electric pressure cooker. I like Basmati the best for this dish.

When the time is up on the beans, let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.

Remove the hocks/shanks to a plate and let cool for a few minutes.

Place the beans over medium-high heat and cook for about ten minutes to thicken slightly.

When the hocks are cool enough to handle, discard the bones and skin and chop the meat.

Add the meat into the pot with the beans.

Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve in bowls with a scoop of rice and some sliced green onions or chopped parsley on top.

Red Beans and Rice
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Cajun-Creole
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
A creamy, meaty version of the New Orleans classic
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, small chop
  • 2 bell peppers, small chop
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) small red beans, soaked overnight (you can sub kidney beans)
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage (you can sub Kielbasa), sliced into rounds
  • 1-1.5 pounds ham shank or hocks
  • 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  1. Heat oil over medium high heat
  2. Sweat onions, peppers and celery until they start to soften and the onions are transparent
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute
  4. Dump in the creole seasoning, parsley, oregano, thyme and allspice, stirring for another minute
  5. Add the sausage, beans, chicken stock, water and Worcestershire sauce
  6. Place ham hocks into the pan
  7. Toss in the bay leaves
  8. Lock the top on the pressure cooker
  9. Turn heat to high until high pressure is reached
  10. Adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 30 minutes (35 minutes for electric pressure cooker)
  11. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  12. Remove the ham hocks to a board and let cool for a few minutes
  13. While hocks are cooling, place beans over medium-high heat and let cook for about 10 minutes to reduce liquid a bit.
  14. When hocks have cooled a little, discard the bones and skin and chop the meat that is left
  15. Consistency will be a little liquid, but once you mix with the rice it will be just right
  16. Serve in bowls with a scoop of rice
  17. Garnish with parsley or green onions


Pressure Cooker Pineapple Chicken

Pineapple Chicken, A Semi-sweet Asian Influenced Dish

Pineapple Chicken Plate1

I almost called this “Hawaiian Chicken”, but I realized that just because something has pineapple in it doesn’t give me the right to call anything “Hawaiian”, so “Pineapple Chicken” it is! I was kind of going for Hawaiian flavors, but this isn’t exactly a traditional Hawaiian dish. It is more of a semi-Teriyaki-BBQ type dish.

Pineapple Chicken Ingredients

Quick and tasty, this is an excellent dish for a “school night”.

Let’s start by browning a couple pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs. Since many of you seem to be using the Instant Pot these days, I used the “normal” sauté mode for this. Work in batches and remove chicken to a plate after browning.

Ginger Chopped

When chicken has all been browned, sauté some ginger and garlic for 30 seconds or so, stirring continuously.

Add an 8-ounce can of crushed pineapple,  1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of hoisin sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Pineapple Chicken Liquid

Place the chicken back in the pot.

Turn off sauté mode and lock the top on the pot.

Pineapple Chicken Cooked

Switch to manual mode and set for 15 minutes at high pressure.

When time is up, turn sauté mode to “normal”.

Pineapple Chicken Thickened

Stir some cornstarch and water together, add to the pot and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring often until thickened.

Serve with sticky rice and a vegetable.

Garnish with sliced scallions

Pressure Cooker Pineapple Chicken
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
A Hawaiian-inspired dish, similar to teriyaki, delicious with sticky rice and a vegetable.
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 pounds boneless-skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup soy sauce (Aloha brand if you can find it)
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup water plus ⅓ cup water to mix with cornstarch
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt (plus some salt and pepper for seasoning chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Scallions for garnish
  1. With sauté mode on "normal", heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  2. Brown chicken on both sides, seasoning with some salt and pepper, and remove to plate, working in batches
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds, continuously stirring
  4. Add ½ cup water, pineapple, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, hoisin sauce and salt
  5. Stir it all together and add chicken back to the pot
  6. Turn off sauté mode and lock top on pressure cooker
  7. On manual setting, set to high pressure for 15 minutes
  8. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes then do a quick release
  9. Set sauté mode to "normal"
  10. Make a slurry with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and ⅓ cup water and stir into sauce for 3-4 minutes to thicken
  11. Serve with sticky rice and a vegetable
  12. Garnish with thinly sliced scallions


Pressure Cooker Chicken “Faux” Pho

Fee, Fi, Pho, Yum!

Pho_In_BowlI don’t know why, but it’s difficult not to go into pun mode when discussing Pho. Maybe it’s the fact that most of the Pho restaurants around have a bad pun for a name. My favorite is 9021-Pho in Beverly Hills. I’ve never eaten there, it’s just my favorite name.


Why do I call it “Faux Pho”? Because traditional Pho broth is simmered for many hours, sometimes days. And like my recipe for Saurbraten before it, my goal here is to take something that normally can take days and get the essence of the dish in a mere fraction of the time. Is it exactly the same? Er, no, hence the “faux”. But I can say that this is a super fragrant, tasty Vietnamese chicken noodle soup, or “Chicken Soup For The Seoul.” Sorry, that’s the last pun, I promise.


So, how do we go about constructing this thing? Well, get your spice bag ready first. Yeah, you could just dump the spices in the pot since we are going to strain the broth at the end anyway, but I like use a bag since you can whack it with the side of a cleaver or a mallet, to crack the cardamom and coriander without having spices shooting all over your kitchen. Put a cinnamon stick, about 4 star anise, 10 whole cloves, 5 cardamom pods (I used black cardamom) and a teaspoon of coriander seeds in a spice bag (or you could wrap in cheese cloth). With the side of a cleaver or a meat mallet (the smooth side), give the bag a little whack to crack the cardamom and coriander. Set the bag aside for the moment.


Quarter an onion, peel and divide a piece of ginger into two pieces and crush a couple of cloves of garlic.


Turn your electric pressure cooker to the medium sauté mode and plop in the onion, ginger and garlic. Sauté until it gets lightly brown.


Place 2.5-3 pounds of chicken breast (with skin and bones attached) on top of the onions.

Pour in the chicken stock and stir in the salt, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke.


Toss in the spice bag.

Turn off the sauté mode.

Lock the top on, turn on manual mode and set the time for 12 mins.

While soup is cooking, cook a package of rice noodles according to package directions. When finished, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. I like to use the flat rice noodles that say “Pad Thai” on the package, but you can also use the narrow rice noodles.


Get the toppings ready and arrange on a platter. I like to use fresh mint, lime wedges, bean sprouts and thinly sliced jalapeño. Put platter in the center of the table and a bottle each of Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce.


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

Remove the chicken to a plate, and let it cool for a couple minutes.


Pour the broth through a strainer over another pot.


Pour the broth back into the inner pot of the pressure cooker.

Chicken_ShreddedRemove the skin from the chicken and pull the meat from the bones.

Pho_SoupStir the chicken back into the soup.

To prepare the bowls, put some noodles in each one and ladle the soup into each one.


Sprinkle the green onions over each one and serve.


Let guests customize their bowl with whichever toppings they prefer.

Pressure Cooker Faux Pho With Chicken
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 servings
An aromatic, delicious and quick take on the Vietnamese Favorite.
For The Spice Bag
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 3")
  • 4 star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom (I used Black Cardamom)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
For The Soup
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 chunk of fresh ginger (about the size of 2 thumbs), peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2.5-3 pounds chicken breast with skin and bones attached
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cartons chicken broth (32 oz. each)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • Thinly sliced green onions
  • Rice noodles (8-ounce box)
For The Toppings
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño
  • Mint leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Hoisin Sauce
  1. Put spice bag ingredients in the bag or wrap in cheese cloth and give it a little whack with the side of a cleaver or the flat side of a mallet
  2. Set spice bag aside
  3. Heat the oil on sauté mode set to medium
  4. Drop in the onion and ginger and cook, stirring often until lightly browned
  5. Place the chicken over the onions
  6. Pour in the chicken broth
  7. Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce and liquid smoke
  8. Toss in the spice bag and add the salt
  9. Turn off sauté mode
  10. Lock top on pressure cooker
  11. Set to manual mode, 12 minutes at high pressure
  12. While soup is cooking, cook the noodles according to package directions
  13. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water to stop cooking
  14. Arrange the toppings on a plate and set out Sriracha and Hoisin sauces
  15. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  16. Remove the chicken to a plate and let it cool for a couple minutes
  17. Pour the soup through a strainer into another pot
  18. Pour the broth back into the pressure cooker
  19. Remove the skin from the chicken and pull the chicken off the bones
  20. Stir the chicken into the broth
  21. Put some noodles in each bowl and spoon broth and chicken on top
  22. Sprinkle sliced green onions over each bowl
  23. Put platter of toppings on the table so that each person can customize the soup to their liking


Beef Mushroom Barley Soup

A Hearty Beef Mushroom Barley Soup


I was looking for something hearty to make for dinner befitting this cool weather we’ve been having lately. The weather plummeted to 72 degrees today. But really, it has been getting down to the 50s at night, so it really is soup weather. I didn’t want to make chili again since I already had that  twice this week. I was pondering what to prepare while having a beer and for some reason it came to me, I will make something with barley it it!


Mushrooms are a natural and classic combination with barley. And I added beef to add even more to the heartiness and to make it a full meal. Just add some sort of bread and you’re set.


I used pre-cut stew beef because I am lazy, but chuck cut into cubes will work as well.

Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in pressure cooker on medium-high heat. I used the electric pressure cooker, so I used the Sauté setting on HIGH.


Next, brown the beef on one side, seasoning with salt and pepper while it is browning, then remove to plate. Browning just one side is enough to give it the browned flavor.

If there is a lot of fat from the meat, drain all but 2 tablespoons. Mine was pretty lean, so I didn’t drain at all.

Sauté some diced onion until translucent.


Add the Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Stir it in with the onions and sauté for about 30 seconds.

Splash in a little wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Just a couple tablespoons of wine is plenty.


Add some frozen peas and carrots, sliced crimini mushrooms and barley.


Add the meat back into the pan then pour in some beef broth and a little water.


Toss the bay leaves on top.


Lock the cover on the pressure cooker, and set to high pressure for 18 minutes.

When time is up let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.


Serve in bowls with crusty bread or corn bread.

Beef Mushroom Barley Soup
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
A hearty soup perfect for a chilly winter night
  • 1 pound beef stew meat (or chuck cut into cubes)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb mix (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 splash red wine (a couple tablespoons, optional)
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen peas and carrots
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in pressure cooker on medium heat
  2. Brown beef on 1 side, seasoning with salt and pepper while it is browning, then remove to plate
  3. If there is a lot of fat from the meat, drain all but 2 tablespoons
  4. Sauté the onion until translucent
  5. Add the Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, garlic powder and pepper
  6. Continue to sauté for 30 seconds or so
  7. Splash in a little red wine to deglaze pan, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan
  8. Add frozen peas and carrots, mushrooms and barley
  9. Add the meat back into the pan
  10. Pour in beef broth and water
  11. Toss the bay leaves on top
  12. Lock cover on pressure cooker and set to high pressure for 18 minutes
  13. When time is up let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  14. Serve in bowls with crusty bread or corn bread


Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake, An Autumn Treat!

Pumpkin Spice Cake On Plate

I know, I am really late with this post, and it is not because it was cutting into my trick or treat time. It turns out that making a cake, even in the pressure cooker, is harder than I thought. Much of the weekend was spent trying variations, trying to get the flavor and texture that I was looking for. My usual “close enough for jazz” method of eyeballing measurements doesn’t really cut it when baking (I will call it baking, for lack of a better word).

Pumpkin Spice Cake Ingredients

Once I finally got the recipe to where I wanted it to be, I started wrestling with the decision whether to actually post it or not. There’s nothing wrong with the cake. It is moist and tasty, everything you would want a cake to be, but the thing is you could make a cake in the oven in about the same amount of time, hence the reluctance to post.

In the end, I decided to post it anyway since even though it may not be a lot quicker than making it in the oven, the texture is different, maybe somewhere between a cake and a bread, than making it in the oven. Also, there may be circumstances where you don’t have an oven available for pumpkin cake, so this would be perfect. And besides that, I wasted the entire weekend determined to make a dang cake in the pressure cooker, so I’m going to post it, dagnabbit!

Pan and Parchment

I haven’t posted a pumpkin recipe since my pumpkin custard around 3 years ago, and this being pumpkin season (duck season), pumpkin season (duck season), pumpkin season, FIRE!!! I though it was time to come up with something new incorporating pumpkin.

This started out as a vegan cake, but the results were somewhere between boat anchor and manhole cover. It was tasty, but just not what I was looking for texture-wise. And since I was planning to top it with whipped cream, making it vegan was not really my top priority.

Dry Ingredients

I found that I achieved the best results with  cooking oil rather than butter or coconut oil. I think that since both of those fats solidify when cool, it makes a denser texture. I used canola oil, something I am not exactly fond of using, but it made the cake turn out more like I had in mind. And if you have a scale, I recommend using it to measure the flour. The amount can vary wildly when using a measuring cup for flour.


I also tried with the pan covered with foil and uncovered. I liked the results from the covered pan better. You don’t need to try to form a super tight seal, just cover it fairly well. I use a non-perforated inset which has a handle, but you can use any cake pan that will fit in your pressure cooker, but you will probably need to make a sling out of foil to help remove the pan from the pressure cooker when it is finished.

Let’s start by preparing the pressure cooker and pan. I have only made this in my Instant Pot so far, so the time is for electric. My guess would be to subtract 5 minutes from the time for the stove top models.

WalnutsPour 1-1/2 cups of water in the pressure cooker pot and insert the trivet.

Cut a disk of parchment paper and place in the bottom of whichever pan you are using, then grease the sides of the pan, and you might as well grease the top of the parchment while you are at it.

Now that your pan is ready, we can get our dry ingredients set. In  a bowl combine 1-1/4 cups flour (156 grams), 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and about 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg. Stir to combine and set aside for now.

Flour and Scale

For the wet ingredients, I found things turn out better with a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, stirring like the dickens should work ok. In the bowl of the stand mixer, add in a couple of large eggs, 1/2 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 1 cup pumpkin puree and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. With the mixer on medium-high beat everything together for 3-4 minutes.

Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a mesh strainer. Add in the salt and turn the mixer to low and mix just enough so that the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet.

Cake With FoilAdd in the walnuts and raisins and stir with a spoon just enough to blend them into the batter.

Pour this whole mess into your prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula so that it is no longer mess-like. Cover the pan with foil. You don’t need to worry about sealing up every little hole, we’re just looking to cover the top pretty well.


Lower the pan onto the trivet that was previously placed in the pressure cooker. Wow, that was a lot of P’s in a paltry period of time. Phew!

Set the pressure cooker to come up to high pressure for 30 minutes.

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

Pumpkin Spice Cake Finished

Carefully remove the pan from the pressure cooker and remove the foil. Let cool for a few minutes and turn onto a plate.

Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Spice Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 slices
A super moist dessert, perfect for Autumn and Winter
  • 1-1/4 cups (156 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (all pumpkin, not pie filling)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Place trivet and 1-1/2 cups of water in your pressure cooker
  2. Prepare non-perforated steam tray or cake pan by placing a disk of parchment in the bottom and greasing parchment and sides of pan
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and stir together
  4. In bowl of stand mixer, place the eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, cooking oil, brown sugar and honey.
  5. Mix on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes to combine well and incorporate some air into mixture
  6. Sift the dry ingredients into wet ingredients
  7. Add the salt and mix on low just until dry ingredients are incorporated
  8. With a spoon or spatula, mix in the walnuts and raisins
  9. Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top
  10. Cover the pan with foil
  11. Lower the pan into the pressure cooker
  12. Lock the top on the cooker and set electric pressure cooker for 30 minutes at high pressure (25 minutes for stovetop cooker
  13. When time is up, let pressure subside for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  14. Carefully remove cake from pressure cooker and let cool
  15. turn out onto plate
  16. Serve with whipped cream or topping of your choice


Return Of The Instant Pot

The Instant Pot Duo 60 7-in-1 8 Months On


So, I have been using my Instant Pot since the beginning of the year and it has since become part of my normal workflow.

I tend to use it for things that take advantage of its “set-in-and-forget-it” capabilities more than anything. In reality, you can “set it” and kind of “forget it” briefly. Which means you need to remember to release the pressure when you need to or some things will become overcooked.

Anyway, I use it use it most often for cooking sides and such while working on the main dish.

It is now my go-to pot for making rice while I am preparing an entree in one of the stovetop pots. If I am making a cup of rice (dry measurement), I still prefer my copper sauce pan, but if I am preparing 1-1/2 cups or more, I use the instant pot. And if I sauté some onions and substitute a can of Ro-Tel for some of the water, I have Spanish Rice in 4 minutes under pressure.

Making potatoes is a breeze also. Either mashed, steamed or boiled, the Instant Pot makes quick work of it.


After 8 months, I can’t remember the last time I used one of the programs. For the most part, all the programs do is set the time for a certain length. If it is not the exact amount of time that you want, you need to adjust anyway, so I find it easier to always use the manual setting.

I do use the sauté feature. One entree I find easier to make in the InstantPot is pasta. I just brown some ground beef or Italian sausage using sauté, add in some pasta, sauce and enough water to cover the pasta, switch to manual pressure mode and in 4 or 5 minutes under low pressure I have a complete dinner ready.

In fact, anything that requires low pressure I find myself gravitating to the InstantPot. Instead of trying to catch it at just the right moment and keeping the flame adjusted at the perfect amount to maintain low pressure, I just set the Instant Pot for low pressure and don’t have to worry about it.

Hard “boiled” eggs is another thing that comes out better since I have had the Instant Pot, because of the low pressure setting.

For one pot meals such as chili, stew and soups I still turn to the 7-quart Kuhn Rikon. The 6-quart capacity of the Instant pot is just a tad too small for these things.

I still haven’t gotten around to using the yogurt making feature, but that is still on my mental to-do list.


Like my Fissler, I wouldn’t want the InstantPot to be my only pressure cooker, but in combination with my others, it is a very useful tool.

This doesn’t mean that for others, the InstantPot wouldn’t make a good “only” pressure cooker, and it would probably be a good place to start for many, if not most users. It can be quite a bit less intimidating if you have never used a pressure cooker before. But for me, I find the 7-quart stove top cooker to be more versatile.

The removable pot makes clean up a cinch. I have read some complaints that the silicone seal tends to hold odors and takes on a bad smell, but I haven’t had a problem at all. The seal gets washed after each use, and I haven’t once noticed any lingering odors.

First Impressions – Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

My First Thoughts on the Instant pot Duo

Instant Pot Panel

I thought I would post a quick review to share my thoughts on my new Instant Pot Duo 60 Electric Pressure Cooker, though I have only used it four times so far.

First off, I thought that this was something I would never purchase. I am more than happy with my two stovetop pressure cookers, but lately I have been getting questions such as “How would I do this in an electric pressure cooker?”

In order to give a more accurate answer to such queries, I thought it would help to have first-hand knowledge of such a device (and it does not take a lot for me to convince myself that I need another gadget).

Instant Pot

First, the pros:

1. No need to adjust the heat once full pressure is reached, it adjusts itself automatically. This is probably the thing I like best about it.

2. The built in lid holders. It seems that every time I remove the lid from my stovetop cookers, I spend the next five minutes wandering around the kitchen trying to find somewhere to set down a hot lid where it will not burn or melt something.

Instant Pot Top Holder

3. It doubles as a yogurt maker. I can’t vouch for the quality of this feature, but I definitely plan on trying it. I have come very close to buying a yogurt maker on more than one occasion. If this works, I will be able to make yogurt without adding another machine to my already overcrowded kitchen counters.

4. Stainless steel cooking insert. My stovetop cookers are stainless steel, of course, but a lot of the electric pressure cookers (I would say most) have nonstick inserts. I don’t really trust nonstick, and try to avoid it altogether. The only nonstick pan I own is a small pan that only gets used for eggs at low heat.

Now, the not-so-pros:

1. The most annoying  thing I have noticed is with the insert. When you use the sauté feature for vegetables or to brown meat, when you stir the contents, the cooking insert spins around. All you have to do is hold it with a towel, but it seems like there is no reason they couldn’t make the insert with some sort of ridge or something so it drops in at the same position every time and stays in place.

2. Takes a little longer than a stovetop cooker. This is being a little nit-picky, but it can take a few minutes more for cooking because of the lower pressure. Also, you don’t have the option of doing a cold water release, so it can also take longer for the pressure to come down.

3. Super simple to use. Just prepare your ingredients, push a button or two, and a short time later your dinner is ready! I can see how it could attract new pressure cooker users because of the simplicity, and more pressure cooker users is a good thing (particularly if you run a pressure cooking blog).

I have only used it four times so far (for my Everyday Chili, Savory Oatmeal, pasta with sauce and sloppy joes), so this is just a preliminary review. Everything turned out great so far. I don’t know if there is a reason, or if it was just a fluke, but the steel cut oats turned out better than they ever have before.

I will try to have a more complete review sometime in the future after I have used it for awhile, and have tried the yogurt feature, of course.

To learn more, this video by Laura from Hip Pressure Cooking explains many of the features of the Instant Pot Duo.

And, coming up this weekend:

Not the same old boring oatmeal!

Savory Oatmeal