Sauerkraut, potatoes, kielbasa. All the basic food groups.
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!
Since Easter is right around the corner, I thought it was time to add another lamb recipe to my repertoire.
One of the more popular dishes in Kashmiri cuisine, Rogan Josh Wikipedia description here is one of those things that no matter how you do it, everyone is going to tell you that you are doing it wrong and that it is “not authentic”, but don’t let that deter you. I’m not claiming that this is authentic, just good.
My version probably leans a little more towards the version you would get at a British Curry House, but since I have never been to a British Curry House, I cannot verify that either. Much like Chili and Gumbo, there is the Tomato/No Tomato debate here as well. And yes, I do use tomatoes. A lot of recipes use yogurt, but I use some coconut milk, mainly because it works so well in the pressure cooker. I do top it with a little yogurt, though. You can skip this if you would like a paleo version.
I found some good lamb at my local butcher and they even offered to cut it up for me, so I couldn’t very well turn that down. Either leg or shoulder would work well for this. The shoulder was a few bucks per pound cheaper, so shoulder it is!
I know two onions looks like a lot, but they will totally break down and you will end up with a tasty, oniony sauce.
Just as a lot of recipes start out, this one starts with browning the meat. I just brown it on one side. That is enough to add the caramelized flavor without taking too much time.
After the meat is browned and set aside on a plate, toss the onions in the pot, adding a little more oil if the pot looks dry. Let them cook until they start to darken just a bit, about ten minutes. Toss the garlic and ginger paste (or freshly grated ginger) in and sauté another minute or so.
Now its time to add the paprika, cayenne, cardamom, cumin, coriander, Chinese 5 spice, garam masala, fennel and turmeric. Sauté for just about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so nothing burns.
Pour in the tomatoes, coconut milk and water.
Now, return the meat to the pan and stir everything together.
Toss in a couple bay leaves, put the top on the pot, bring to high pressure and set time for 15 minutes.
Let the pressure come down for about ten minutes, then do a quick release.
If it looks really liquid, turn heat to medium and let it boil for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens a little.
Serve it on plates or bowls with rice and naan or pita bread.
I like to top it with a little yogurt, but you can leave it off if you want a paleo version.
The Comfort Food Classic, Stuffed Cabbage, Minus The Pesky Stuffing
On the weekend when I do my shopping, when I have all the time in the world, I make big plans for my weekday meals. Visions of meatloaf, roast beef, chicken kiev and other such things dance in my head. This week, I had plans to make stuffed cabbage, so I purchased all the ingredients. And then on Tuesday evening, after I dragged myself in from work and took a shower after my ten-mile bike ride home, it was pushing 8 PM by the time I was able to start preparing dinner. By that time I was thinking, “I don’t want to have to steam the cabbage, mix all the ingredients together, roll the filling mixture in the cabbage leaves, then cook the dang things.”
As is often my solution on weekdays, I use the “throw it all in the pressure cooker and see what happens” method.
I suppose that if this were made in a baking dish and cooked in the oven, it would be called a “casserole” or “hot dish”. But, since it was cooked in the pressure cooker, I will continue to call it “Unstuffed Cabbage”.
And as usual, just when I think I’ve come up with a great new invention, I do a search and find similar things all over the internet, such as here and this one. And not even the name, which I thought to be so clever, was not original.
But even these “quicker” stuffed cabbage recipes can take as long as a couple hours, but using the pressure cooker, the entire process can be done in less than an hour.
I considered adding in the rice as well, but in the end I chickened out and cooked the rice separately, then served the cabbage concoction on top. Perhaps in the future I will experiment with adding the rice, but for now this works just fine.
I used a 50/50 mixture of ground beef and ground pork, but all beef would work fine, or maybe some pork sausage mixed with ground beef to zip things up a bit. (I have since made it with all beef, and it was good, but I prefer the beef/pork combo.)
I got several compliments from the S.O. on this, so I guess it was a success. And I must admit that the leftovers I took to work the next day were even better than the night before.
Lately I have been juggling several projects at once (as I explained here), so my cooking has become more focused on speed. Influenced especially by episodes of “Chopped“, I try to use the ingredients I have on hand and make a meal as quickly as possible. I admit I usually don’t do it in the 30-minute limit that they have on “Chopped”, but I can get a good meal cooked in about an hour, and that ain’t so bad.
Slightly influenced by French-style “Chicken In A Pot”, I get to use my two favorite pots for this particular recipe, one of course being my Pressure Cooker. The other, my dutch oven, which is probably feeling a bit neglected since I acquired my pressure cooker. I have found that I like the texture of the skin using this method much better than browning the chicken in the pot first, then pressure-cooking.
This recipe allows for a lot of improvisation, such as varying the fruits and vegetables as well as the seasonings.
I don’t usually believe in using herb and spice blends, partly because when I post recipes on this blog, I try to use things that people might have on hand (and also because it seems like cheating). In this case, since it is all about cooking like “The Flash”, I used the “Tuscan Sunset” blend from Penzey’s, but if you have a favorite Italian seasoning blend feel free to use that. Herbes de Provence would probably work quite well also. This is all about saving time by using the minimum amount of ingredients.
This time I used all citrus fruits. I have also done this with apple. With the apple, it imparted much more of the fruit flavor. With the oranges and lemon, it was more subtle, but still resulted in a very juicy bird.
Use caution when transferring the chicken from the pressure cooker to the dutch oven. I use two large, sturdy spoons to move it. It will be close to falling apart, so be sure to be very careful.
I was a little heavy-handed with the Italian seasoning this time, but a heaping tablespoon should be plenty.
I have found that around a 3.5-4.5 lb. chicken fits pretty well in my cooker, so keep pressure cooker size in mind when selecting your chicken. I have read some recipes where they say the chicken should not touch the bottom or sides of the pot, but to be honest I haven’t had a problem by placing it directly in the pot. If you would be more comfortable to not have it directly on the bottom, place the trivet in first. Slightly touching the sides should be ok, just make sure that your chicken is not so large that you have to wedge it in there, as that could definitely be problematic (i.e, turning your pressure cooker into a chicken launcher).
Pressure cooker time will vary a bit depending on the size of your chicken. I have found about 25 minutes works best for a bird that will fit in my cooker.
I used about a 1/4-1/2 cup of wine, but if your cooker requires more liquid than that, make up the difference with water or broth, since that would be way too much wine for pressure cooking since nothing evaporates once pressure is reached.
I use the quick release method, as the natural release would result in the bird being a bit too “falling apart tender” to be able to transfer it to the dutch oven. I have to admit that I lost the wings when I cooked for 30 min., so 25 min. is probably about right.
It will definitely make a loud sizzle when you transfer to the dutch oven, but I haven’t had any issues with burning or sticking.
If you have extra vegetables or fruit after filling the cavity, throw them in the pot.
I’d like to hear of any variations that you might try, and how you it turned out.
A French-influenced whole chicken cooked in the pressure cooker and finished in the oven.
1 3.5-4.5 lb chicken (make sure it will fit in your pressure cooker)
1 brown onion
a few cloves of garlic (optional, I didn't use any because I forgot to buy some)
salt, pepper and garlic powder for seasoning chicken
¼ to ½ cup white wine (or a combination of wine and broth or water)
1 heaping tablespoon italian or french seasoning (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset)
Place the dutch oven in the oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees
Remove giblets from chicken and wash inside and out
Cut the onion, lemon and orange into quarters
Stuff as much of the fruit and onion as will fit into the cavity of the chicken (add the garlic too, if using)
Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder
Pour wine (and other liquid, if using) into the pressure cooker over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer
Let simmer for a few minutes to give some of the alcohol time to evaporate
Lower chicken into pressure cooker
If you have any fruit or onion left, throw it in the pot with the chicken
Cover pressure cooker and bring heat to high
When high pressure is reached, reduce heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 25 min.
When timer sounds, use quick release method
Carefully remove hot dutch oven from oven
Using two large, sturdy spoons, carefully transfer chicken from pressure cooker to dutch oven, placing one spoon inside the cavity and using the other to hold it steady. Be very careful, as chicken will be very tender and could easily pull apart.
Spoon a few large spoons full of the cooking liquid over the chicken and place dutch oven back in the oven.
Set timer for 15 minutes.
While chicken is in oven, remove large pieces of fruit and onion from pressure cooker with a slotted spoon.
Put pressure cooker pot with cooking liquid over high heat and reduce liquid a bit. Add salt and pepper to the cooking liquid, if desired.
When timer sounds, remove dutch oven from oven and let cool for five minutes or so.
Move chicken to platter, cut and serve.
Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the chicken.