Pressure Cooker Soutzoukakia

Soutzoukakia? Just Call Them Greek Meatballs!

Soukzoukakia_Closeup

I think I make meatballs almost as often as I make chili, and like chili there is an almost endless variety of flavors and styles.

Sometimes called “sausages”, Soutzoukakia are actually more of a torpedo shape than actual balls, though you could shape these into balls if you like, but this is the traditional shape

Soukzoukakia_Formed

I got the idea for these the same way I get a lot of my inspiration, from watching TV. I think it was Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives this time. At a Greek Restaurant they were putting these together and I thought “That looks good!”, and the next thing I know I’ve got a pressure cooker full of Soutzoukakia on the stove.

Greek flavors such as cumin, cinnamon and mint set these apart from other meatballs. And as you are preparing these and have the fresh mint and the cinnamon and all the various ingredients out, your kitchen is going to smell great!

Soutzoukakia_Spices

I know some people are not crazy about mint, but don’t be tempted to leave it out. I, too am not very fond of mint flavoring in candy, ice cream or pretty much any other pastry or confection. In fact, when my wife asks if I want any type of mint flavored treat, my usual response is “No thanks, I don’t care for toothpaste flavored food.”

But fresh mint, that’s a whole different ballgame. It gives such a fresh aroma and flavor to whatever it is used in. So, give mint a chance!

Let’s make the meatballs first

Soutzoukakia_Ingredients_Meat
In a food processor or blender, place 1/2 of a large chopped onion, a small handful of parsley, a small handful of mint and 4 cloves of crushed garlic and pulse it a few times. You don’t want it to be completely liquid, just kind of grated. I don’t like big chunks of onion and leaves in my meatballs, but you still want that flavor.

Soutzoukakia_Herbs_Ground

In a bowl, mix together the 2 pounds of ground beef, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup of bread crumbs (I used Panko), 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese (I used the “green can” type, please don’t think less of me) , 2 tablespoons red wine, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Add in the onion mixture.

Soukzoukakia_Mixed

Mix the whole deal together with your hands until everything is combined. Don’t be too vigorous with the mixing, or you may end up with tough meatballs.

Pop it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to let those flavors get friendly with each other.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and form it into twelve oblong rolls (torpedo shaped). I make them fairly large. You can make them smaller if you like.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.

Working in batches, brown the meat rolls on all sides and remove them to a plate.

Soukzoukakia_Browning

Now it’s time to get saucy

Soutzoukakia_Ingredients_Sauce

In the oil from the meat, sauté a finely chopped shallot until it starts to soften.

Shallot_Browning

Add in the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of allspice, and sauté for 30 seconds or so.

Pour in a 26 ounce box (or can) of crushed or strained tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and 1/2 cup of red wine.

Soukzoukakia_Sauce

Stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Return the meat to the pan and toss a couple of bay leaves on top.

Soukzoukakia_Bay_Leaf

Turn heat to high and lock the lid on your pressure cooker.

Bring up to high pressure

When high pressure is reached, reduce heat to maintain high pressure and set time for ten minutes.

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

Soukzoukakia_Plate2

Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve these with french fries or rice.

Pressure Cooker Soutzoukakia
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Greek
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 large servings
The greek classic Soutzoukakia get
Ingredients
For The Meat
  • 1 medium or ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 small handful Italian parsley (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 small handful Fresh Mint (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko)
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan (I just use the "Green Can" type)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
For the sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, run through a press
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 box or can (around 26 oz.) crushed or strained tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
For The Meat
  1. In food processor or blender, place the onion, parsley, mint and garlic
  2. Pulse a few times until it looks finely grated, but not liquid
  3. In a bowl, add beef, egg, bread crumbs, parmesan, red wine, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper
  4. Add in the onion mixture
  5. Mix with hands until everything is combined, being careful not to over-mix
  6. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes or so, to let flavors combine
  7. Remove from refrigerator and form into twelve oblong rolls (torpedo shaped)
  8. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat
  9. Working in batches, brown the meat rolls on all sides and remove them to a plate
For The Sauce
  1. In oil from the meat, sauté the shallot until it starts to soften
  2. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute
  3. Add the cinnamon and allspice, and sauté for 30 seconds or so
  4. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine
  5. Stir in the brown sugar
  6. Return the meat to the pan
  7. Toss a couple bay leaves on top
  8. Turn heat to high and lock lid on pressure cooker
  9. Bring to high pressure
  10. When high pressure is reached, reduce heat to maintain high pressure
  11. Set time for ten minutes
  12. When time is up, remove from heat and let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  13. Serve these with french fries or rice

 

Pressure Cooker Leg Of Lamb

Easter Everywhere
Lamb_Yogurt_Sauce4 There’s no particular reason for that obscure reference to Easter Everywhere, the second album by cult favorite 1960s band The 13th Floor Elevators other than the fact that it mentions Easter and today's recipe is for Pressure Cooker Leg of Lamb, in my famous just barely in time for the holiday fashion (but it's good for any time). It is a dang good album, though. Give it a listen if you are a fan of Psychedelic Music. Now back to food-related matters. I was tempted to call it Leg o' Lamb, but then I would hate myself because I get annoyed at such things as replacing the word "of" with "o'", and don't even get me started on "fixin's". So Pressure Cooker Leg of Lamb (With Yogurt Sauce) it is. I am going to include separate recipes for the yogurt sauce and the lamb just to simplify things a bit, even though the sauce isn't a pressure cooker recipe. It's best to make the sauce first so you can pop it in the fridge to let the flavors blend while you work on the lamb. I used a boneless leg of lamb, since the bone-in ones at the store didn't look like they would fit in my pressure cooker. The lamb I used was 3-1/2 lbs., so the time will need to be adjusted some if you have a larger or smaller piece of lamb. It was nice of the store to include the decorative and photogenic bit of rosemary in the package. LAMB_ROSEMARY Boneless lamb usually comes already dressed in one of these sexy fishnet numbers. If yours does not you will have to tie yours up S&M style. Before you get out the leather straps and handcuffs, S&M stands for String and Meat (OK, I just made that up, but really, if your lamb doesn't have netting, roll it up and fasten with butcher twine. So first, let's do the sauce. It would probably work with low-fat yogurt, but I used full-fat Greek Yogurt, because let's face it, it tastes so much better (and it doesn't include those weird gums and whatnot that are used to make the lowfat ones thicker). Also, I haven't tried this with dried herbs, it would probably work, but would take away the nice, fresh flavor that comes from using fresh herbs, so use dried only as a last resort. Use fresh lemon as well. DILL_MINT_YOGURT_SAUCE_INGREDIENTS6 Finely chop the dill and mint, zest the lemon (I never used to use zest until I got one of these Microplane gizmos, now I'm a zesting fool) and mix it together with a cup of yogurt. Add a little salt and white pepper, too. DILL_MINT You could whisk it if you don't have an immersion blender, but I mixed it up with the Bamix. It blends the flavor a little better, and gives it a nice greenish color. YOGURT_SAUCE_PREMIX Not the most attractive concoction before blending, I know. I put it in one of the these sqeezie deals so I could make cool squiggles on the lamb, but you could just put it in a bowl and plop it on old school. MINT_DILL_YOGURT_SAUCE4 Once that is all mixed, stick it in the fridge to get it out of the way, clear away the sauce ingredients and work on that lamb which has been taken out of the fridge befor you made the sauce, right? I used a “wet” rub, which could also be used as a marinade if you have the forethought to do it ahead of time and let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours, which unfortunately I did not. LAMB_RUB_INGREDIENTS3 In a bowl or measuring cup, add 1 cup olive oil, a heaping tablespoon Herbes de Provence (I use this spice blend so often that I buy the jumbo bag, so I don't need to see my Herbes dealer as often), a tablespoon of dijon mustard, juice of a lemon and some white pepper. I add some salt slightly later. I used the Bamix to blend this mixture as well (even though I have been lusting after a Vitamix, I have found the Bamix to be one of the most useful things I have ever purchased). LEG_LAMB_WITH_RUB2 Once you've got the rub all blended, go to town on that lamb. Rub that baby all over, bottom and top. make sure you have the lamb sitting on a large platter or something with sides that isn't going to make a big mess (I should have followed my own advice). LEG_LAMB_RUB2 Let the lamb be for a minute while you put a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat. When the oil gets hot, put the lamb in the cooker and brown on all sides. PC_LAMB_BROWNING After the lamb is browned, remove it to a platter and sauté the onion in the pot. When the onions are translucent, add wine, Worcestershire sauce, and the spice bag (or cheesecloth packet) with the bay leaf, peppercorns and cardamom pods (cracked first). PC_ONIONS2 Add salt and pepper to your liking at this point. Turn heat to high and add the lamb back to the pot. KUHN_RIKON_TOP_HIGH_PRESSURE You know the drill, put the top on the pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. When high pressure is reached, set timer for 35 minutes (This will result in lamb ranging from rare to medium depending what part of meat it is cut from. If you don't like it so pink, try 45 minutes. you can always bring it back up to pressure for a few more minutes if it is not to your liking). Temperature should be 135-140 for medium-rare. Around 160 if you don't want pink. LEG LAMB_PRESSURE_COOKER2 Let the pressure come down naturally, remove lid, put lamb on platter and tent with foil. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes. PC_LAMB_NET Remove the netting, slice the meat, plate it and top with the Dill Mint Yogurt sauce. Check out those cool squiggles that I mentioned earlier! Lamb_Yogurt_Sauce8 I leaned a little to the Mediterranean side of things with this, serving it with some Turmeric-Cardommom rice and a tomato-cucumber salad. You could easily serve it with more traditional Easter sides like mashed or boiled potatoes and a green vegetable of some sort. Give it a try, it's pretty lamb good!
Dill-Mint Yogurt Sauce
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Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Greek
Author:
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
A refreshing Yogurt sauce with Dill and Mint for topping Pressure Cooker Leg of Lamb
Ingredients
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Dash of salt and white pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients
  2. Whisk or blend with immersion blender
  3. Put in squeeze bottle, or cover in bowl and let flavors blend in refrigerator until ready to use.

 
Pressure Cooker Leg Of Lamb
Print
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Greek
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
Perfect for Easter or any day, this easy pressure cooker leg of lamb is especially good with Dill-Mint Yogurt Sauce
Ingredients
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 (generous) tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 3-3.5 pound boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups white wine, such as Chardonnay
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 6 cardamom pods, cracked
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix together first six ingredients (Olive Oil through the ½ teaspoon white pepper) using whisk or immersion blender
  2. Rub mixture on the lamb and let sit a few minutes
  3. Heat oil over medium-high heat in pressure cooker
  4. Brown Lamb on all sides
  5. Remove Lamb to platter
  6. Saute onion in pressure cooker pot
  7. When onion is translucent, add wine and Worcestershire Sauce
  8. Put bay leaves, peppercorns and cardamom pods in a spice bag or wrap in cheesecloth
  9. Add spice bag to wine mixture in pot
  10. Turn heat to high and place the lamb back in the pot
  11. Add any rub that may have dripped onto platter into pot
  12. Add a little salt and pepper
  13. Turn heat to high, cover pressure cooker and bring to high pressure
  14. Lower heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 35 minutes (45 minutes if you like it a little less pink)
  15. When timer sounds, let pressure come down on its own
  16. Check temperature in several spots (it should be 135-140 for rare-medium rare). If necessary bring back up to pressure for 5 minutes or so.
  17. Add salt and pepper to taste
  18. Remove to platter, tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
  19. Serve with Dill-Mint Yogurt Sauce