Mexican Quinoa Dinner

A Zesty  One Pot Mexican Quinoa Dinner

Mexican Quinoa Plate2

The holiday is behind us, we have all loosened our belts, or in some cases poked extra holes in our belts with a paring knife (I’m just guessing). With visions of huge turkey dinners and huge leftover sandwiches dancing in our heads, what do we have for dinner now?

For me, I’m ready for something relatively healthy (compared to what I have eaten for the past several days, what isn’t)?

Mexican Quinoa Ingredients

Just a few months ago I never would have seen myself posting a recipe with not only ground turkey, but definitely not with quinoa. Quinoa? I don’t even know what it is, but I have slowly started to acclimate myself to the evil pseudo grain. And you know, it isn’t bad. I guess too many “healthy” restaurants that serve plain quinoa with steamed kale put the fear in me. But like most things, it can be a tasty treat if served in tasty ways.

Sure, I top it with sour cream and pepper jack with corn chips on the side, buy hey, it could be worse.

I was kind of inspired by Spanish Rice and maybe a little by a certain product that is intended to assist hamburger.

Yes, it still has turkey in it, like you have been eating since Wednesday, but it is ground turkey. You just want to wean yourself off the “bird” a little at a time. Once you have the turkey on your back you don’t want to quit cold, um cold what? Well, I guess that is where the name comes from. Anyway this recipe is intended to get you back to normal.

Diced Onion

But, as I usually caution, do not use ground turkey breast, use ground dark turkey. It took me awhile to get used to ground turkey at all, but ground white turkey, I am not sure if I will ever be OK with that.

Corn

And I am starting to warm up to quinoa. It is super fast to cook and takes on the flavors of whatever you cook it with, kind of the “tofu theorem”.

To start, in a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium heat, sauté the turkey and onions until the turkey is no longer pink.

Dump in the garlic and continue to sauté for a minute longer.

Quinoa

Now’s the time to introduce a packet of taco seasoning (I always look for one with no MSG) and the quinoa (always make sure to rinse quinoa well before cooking).

Stir and sauté for another minute or so.

Turkey Onion Quinoa

In a measuring cup, pour a can of Ro-Tel (juice and all), or another brand of diced tomatoes with green chiles. Then add enough chicken (or vegetable) broth to make 2 cups.

Add the tomato/broth mixture and stir.

Dump in a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) and a cup of frozen corn (fire roasted corn would probably be nice in this also).

Give the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle a stir and lock the top on the pressure cooker.

Bring to high pressure and set time for 2 minutes.

When time is up, let pressure come down on its own. If pressure is not completely released after 10 minutes, do a quick release.

Let sit another 5 minutes or so to further absorb the liquid.

Serve in bowls or on plates, topped with grated cheese (I like to use pepper-jack), sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Mexican Quinoa Plate

I serve it with corn chips on the side. I usually put them right on top, it provides just the crunch it needs.

Mexican Quinoa Dinner
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
A quick and easy one-pot quinoa dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 can Ro-Tel (10 oz), juice included (or other brand diced tomatoes with green chiles. If the can is larger than 10 ounces, use only one cup)
  • Chicken Stock (enough to make 2 cups when combined with the tomatoes)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Serve with corn chips
Toppings
  • Shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Over medium heat, sauté the turkey and onion in 2 tablespoons oil
  2. Toss in the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  3. Add the quinoa (make sure that it is rinsed well) and stir together with the turkey mixture
  4. Add in the taco seasoning and sauté for 30 seconds
  5. Pour in the Ro-Tel and chicken stock mixture
  6. Add the black beans and the frozen corn
  7. Give it a stir and lock the top on the pressure cooker
  8. Bring to high pressure for 2 minutes
  9. When time is up, remove from heat (if using electric, make sure it is turned off or unplugged)
  10. Let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release
  11. Let set for a minute or so, then fluff with a fork
  12. Serve on plates or in bowls with cheese, sour cream and cilantro

 

Smoked Turkey Collards

A Great Side Dish For Thanksgiving, or any time!

Greens On Plate

Greens, greens, I love some greens, on the far side of the hill! Yes, the New Christie Minstrels said it best back in the fabulous sixties, in one of the best songs about greens ever recorded. Wait, what? The song wasn’t about collard greens? Well, as far as I’m concerned there should be a great number of songs touting the virtues of collard greens.

The plan was to post a Thanksgiving pulled pork recipe, but it wasn’t quite at 100% so I decided to work on it a bit longer and post one of the side dishes, which was 100%. The side dish of which I speak is smoked turkey collard greens. I know the trendy green these days is kale, but I have to say, my favorite of all greens are collards. I understand that kale is on the way out, to be replaced by some other trendy green. Chard? Dandelion? Turnip? Whatever is the flavor of the moment, I am pretty sure that collard greens will always be my favorite. I can’t say for sure if it the greens themselves or the way they are prepared that fuel my obsession, but the juice, or “pot liquor” as it is known, is the tasty elixir that makes this dish one of the tastiest.

Smoked Turkey

Traditionally, this is made with ham hocks, but to “Thanksgiving” this puppy up a bit, and also just because they are dang tasty, I used smoked turkey thighs.

I used about 2-1/2 pounds of collard greens, with stems still attached.

Start out by removing the stems from the greens. Grip the stem with one had, place  the other hand at the base of the leaf. Pull on the stem and zip off the leaf. Place in a large bowl or sink. Fill with water and soak 15-20 minutes to remove all the schmutz, of which there will be plenty. Grab a stack of leaves, and roll them up like a “see-gar”. Slice the roll in about 1/2″ strips until all the greens are sliced.

Greens Stacked

The dirt and whatnot will sink to the bottom, so remove the leaves from the water fairly gently so as not to jostle the water too much.

Heat up some oil in the pressure cooker. Add in some diced onion, BAM!, and sauté until translucent. Plop in the garlic and sauté for another minute.

Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

Greens With Top

Put the greens in the pot. It is best to use your largest pressure cooker, which in my case would be my 7 litre Kuhn Rikon, but since my KR was at the time housing a 6-pound pork butt, it was up to my Instant Pot to pick up the slack and cook my greens.

If your greens fill your pot past the maximum line, I usually put any top that fits fairly well on top of my cooker and steam the greens until they are below the max line. This usually takes just a couple of minutes.

When the greens are down to a manageable level, put in a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of brown sugar, some salt and pepper and a shake of crushed red peppers.

Greens Turkey On Top

Top the greens with a couple of smoked turkey thighs.

Lock the top on the pressure cooker, bring to high pressure, adjust heat to maintain high pressure if using a stovetop model. Set the time for 25 minutes.

Greens Turkey Cooked

When time is up, immediately remove from heat. If using an electric pressure cooker, immediately remove the inner pot of the cooker.

Take the turkey thighs and place on a plate or cutting board.

Turkey Thighs Plate

Let them cool for 5 minutes or so and with a fork remove the meat from the bones. Remove most of the skin but it’s fine to leave a little. It is where most of the flavor is, don’t you know.

Turkey Shredded

Now, take that tasty turkey and blend it back in with the greens.

Pour into a serving bowl, or if you are serving later, put in a sealable container and refrigerate.

Smoked Turkey Greens Cooked

Makes a tasty side to any BBQ meal, and also a great addition to any Thanksgiving spread.

Smoked Turkey Collards
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Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: southern
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 servings
A turkey-ized take on the Southern classic, perfect for a holiday side dish
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2-1/2 pounds collard greens (weight with stems), stems removed and chopped into ½" strips
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 rounded tablespoon brown sugar
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • A sprinkle of crushed red pepper (around ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 2 smoked turkey thighs
Instructions
  1. With the pressure cooker pot on medium high heat, place 2 tablespoons oil
  2. When oil looks shimmery, add the onions and sauté until translucent
  3. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  4. Pour the chicken stock into the pot
  5. Place the greens into the pressure cooker
  6. If it is above the maximum limit line, put any lid that will fit on top for a couple minutes and let steam until the greens are below the maximum line
  7. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper
  8. Place the smoked turkey thighs on top
  9. Lock lid on pressure cooker and set time for 25 minutes
  10. When time is up, do a quick release and immediately remove the inner pot from the pressure cooker, if using electric
  11. Remove the turkey to a plate, let cool for 5 minutes or so, then use a fork to remove the meat from the bones. Discard most of the skin, but you can leave a little of it.
  12. Add the turkey meat back into the greens and mix with a spoon
  13. Move to a serving bowl and serve

 

A Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving

A Few Suggestions For A Pressure Cooker Thanksgiving

I was thinking of doing a post gathering a few of my Thanksgiving appropriate recipes, but then I thought, “Thanksgiving isn’t for a couple weeks.” Then a wave of panic swept over me, as I thought “Thanksgiving is in a couple weeks!”

I know many of you are traditionalists and would consider nothing but Turkey for your feast. I, on the other hand rarely make turkey for Thanksgiving. Below I will offer some alternatives. Or, you could offer your guests a choice of Turkey or something else! Something perhaps prepared in the pressure cooker! I also have a couple dessert ideas.

Since I just posted this one recently, it is still fresh in my mind, so it comes first:

Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Spice Cake

Pumpkin Spice Cake On Plate

And here is another pumpkin dessert that might be just right:

Pressure Cooker Pumpkin Custard

Pressure-Cooker-Pumpkin-Custard-Final-Small

For a zesty side dish, this Southwest twist on cranberry sauce may be just what you’re looking for:

Pressure Cooker Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries-On-Turkey-Burger-Final-Small

As an alternative (or in addition to) turkey, think outside the bird with  this tasty alternative:

Pressure Cooker Atlanta Brisket

Brisket Plate1

This one is usually reserved for Easter, but why not try a leg of lamb for something different, or give your guests a choice!

Pressure Cooker Leg of Lamb

Lamb_Yogurt_Sauce4Whatever you decide to dine on this Thanksgiving, have a good holiday and don’t forget the pressure cooker!

Goulash Soup (Gulaschsuppe)

The Great Goulash Debate Continues

Goulash Soup Spoon

Whoo Hooo! I passed the test! “What test?” you might ask. Well, it certainly wasn’t a math test, because I surely wouldn’t have passed that. The test of which I am speaking is the one I set up for myself whenever I make any German dish. You see, my wife is from Germany, so every time I make a German dish, I set it on the table without mentioning what it is and if she immediately recognizes it I consider myself over the first hurdle.

In this case, she took a bite and said “Goulash soup?” Yes! At least she could tell what it was. The next hurdle is if she actually thinks it is good, and she did!

Goulash Soup Ingredients

Now that that is out of the way, it’s time to tackle the tricky subject of Goulash. Goulash can be many things to many people. First off, let’s take American Goulash off the table right away. Why this mixture of ground beef, macaroni and tomato sauce that is basically Hamburger Helper from scratch procured the moniker “Goulash” is beyond me, but it is now out of the equation, so we will speak of it no more.

Now, what is real Goulash? It depends where you are at. In Hungary, Goulash (gulyás in Hungarian), is basically a soup. Porkolt, which is a stew and is mainly composed of meat and paprika is what is known as goulash in other parts of Europe. It is kind of a European equivalent of Texas Chile. In Germany, for instance, what they call Goulash is Porkolt. Gulyás is called Gulaschsuppe, or Goulash Soup. Now that I have cleared that up. What, you are still confused? You and me both, my friend.

Beef ChuckBut for the purposes of this post we are dealing with German-Style Goulash Soup. This is a hearty, beefy, paprika-y, oniony soup that is just the ticket for cooler weather. And, believe it or not we are having cooler weather right now after months of 90-degree plus weather. Add to that the fact that the wife and I are both fighting colds at the moment, this was the perfect dinner for the circumstances.

I made this in the Instant Pot Electric pressure cooker, so the instructions reflect that. Of course it can be made in any pressure cooker.

Chuck Cubed

Start off with 1-1/2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into 1″ cubes. I like to buy a piece of meat and cut it up myself. It’s cheaper that way and only takes a couple minutes. You can also use pre-cut stew meat if you like, but you don’t always know what you are getting that way.

Chuck Browned2With the sauté setting on high, put a couple tablespoons of oil in the pot. In two batches, brown the meat on one side. Just browning one side is enough to get the flavors of browning but still saves some time.

Remove the meat to a plate.

Onions Bell Peppers

Lower the sauté mode to medium (on the Instant Pot, you will need to turn off the sauté mode then turn back on. If there isn’t much fat left, add another tablespoon of oil.

Sauté some sliced onion and a chopped green pepper until it starts to soften. Now, when I say “some” onion, I mean “lots” of onion. I used one onion, but it was huge. If your onions are more on the medium side, use two. When you first dump them in the pot, it might look like a ridiculous amount of onion, but when the dish is complete, it will be just right.

When the onion and pepper starts to soften, add in some garlic. I know that some fancy schmancy chefs may frown upon the use of a garlic press, but it saves time, and unless you have a recipe that calls for bits of chopped garlic, I like it just fine.

Meat With Spices

Continue to sauté for another minute and add a couple of tablespoons of paprika, a couple teaspoons of caraway seeds and some salt and pepper. The tablespoons of paprika can be a bit on the heaping side. This is a dish that originated in Hungary, after all. And speaking of Hungary, Hungarian sweet paprika is the best for this dish. Unfortunately, I went to the store to purchase some Hungarian paprika and they were all out, so I ended up using domestic Paprika. It was fine, but if you are able to get Hungarian paprika, go for it. If you like, you can mix some sweet and hot paprika, but I wouldn’t use entirely hot. Not that it’s that spicy, but it would change the flavor of the dish.

Chuck With Tomatoes

Add the meat back in and stir so that everything is coated with the paprika mixture.

Add a splash of wine just to deglaze. When I say splash, I mean just a couple tablespoons. A little wine goes a long way when cooking under pressure.

Wine

Put in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of honey, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and a carton of beef stock.

Turn off the sauté mode, toss in a couple bay leaves and slap the top on the cooker. Set manual setting for 15 minutes at high pressure.

Potatoes Cubed

While this is going, get some potatoes ready. Cut about 4 medium red potatoes into cubes about 1″ in size. Waxy potatoes work best for this. Russets will get mushy. I used 4 potatoes which came out to about a pound. Put the potatoes in a bowl of cold water until needed. This will help prevent oxidation, because nobody likes brown potatoes.

Potatoes Soaking

When the time is up, carefully do a quick release, being sure to stand well clear of the path of the steam. When pressure is released, remove top, put in the potatoes, and put the top back on. Bring back to high pressure for 5 minutes.

Goulash Soup With Potatoes

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

Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream. I admit my dollops are rather large. I prefer a whallop of a dollop.

Goulash Soup Finished

Best served with some German bread and butter, or even a giant pretzel! Oh, and beer!

 

Goulash Soup (Gulaschsuppe)
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Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: German
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
A hearty warming soup. Just add some bread and you've got a whole meal.
Ingredients
  • 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1" cubes
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 rounded tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) beef stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 4 red (or other waxy variety, about 1 pound) potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
Instructions
  1. With sauté setting on high, add 2 tablespoons oil
  2. Working in 2 batches, brown the meat on one side, then remove to plate
  3. Change sauté setting to medium and add another tablespoon oil, if needed
  4. Sauté onions and green pepper until they start to soften
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute
  6. To this, add the paprika, caraway seeds, salt and pepper
  7. Add the meat back in and stir until the meat and vegetables are coated with the paprika mixture
  8. Add a splash of red wine (a couple tablespoons) to deglaze, scraping browned bits off the bottom
  9. Add tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, honey, fire-roasted tomatoes and beef stock
  10. Stir everything together
  11. Turn off sauté mode
  12. Toss in bay leaves
  13. Lock top on pressure cooker, turn on manual setting and set for 15 minutes at high pressure
  14. While soup is cooking, wash potatoes and cut into 1" cubes
  15. Put potatoes into a bowl of cold water until needed
  16. When time is up, carefully do a quick release, being sure to be out of the path of the steam
  17. Drain potatoes and add to the pressure cooker
  18. Lock top on pressure cooker and on manual mode set for 5 minutes at high pressure
  19. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes then do a quick release
  20. Serve in bowls with sour cream on top

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.

Batter

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.

DSCF0458

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
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Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8 slices
A super moist dessert, perfect for Autumn and Winter
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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

 

Pressure Cooker Rice and Peas

Or Should It Be Rice and Legumes?

Peas and Rice Plate

Is it rice and peas or rice and beans? This is the conundrum with which I am faced. I used black beans for this dish since that is what I found at the store. Sometime in SoCal it can be difficult to find much besides black beans and pinto beans, depending on which store you go to. At this particular store, I could have bought kidney beans which work well for this recipe, but they only had cans that were about the size of the old oil drums which some people make smokers out of. Anyway back to the pea or bean debate. This dish is traditionally made with pigeon peas, which I suppose is where the name is derived from, even though the pigeon pea seems to be closer to a bean, much like the humble black eyed pea, which I would also consider a bean.

Rice and PeasKidney beans are often used for this as well, especially here in the states. But as I said, I used black beans. Canned black beans I might add. Partly so everything can cook at once and partly because my goal here was to make a super-quick side dish to accompany my Brown Stew Chicken recipe.

I am posting this during the week, in my usual non-recipe post because it is one of those that is just so dang simple that it barely qualifies as a recipe.

Beans and RiceJust take a can of beans (drained but liquid reserved), 2 cups of rice (I use Basmati. Different types of rice may require adjusting the liquid a bit.), 1 can of coconut milk and enough water to make 3 – 1/2 cups of liquid when combined with the bean liquid and the coconut milk.

Put this in your pressure cooker (I used the Instant Pot so I could just set it and let it go while I worked on my chicken in the stove top pressure cooker.) Add some Allspice, dried Thyme, salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Beans Rice Onions

Lock the top on the pressure cooker and set for 4 minutes at high pressure.

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

I like to let it sit for 2-3 minutes with the lid off in order to absorb a little more of the liquid.

Rice and Peas Finished

Makes a great side dish to any Caribbean meal!

Pressure Cooker Rice and Peas
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Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings
A quick version of the Caribbean side dish. Goes great with any Caribbean entree.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 can beans (I used black beans, you can also use red beans or kidney beans), drained and liquid reserved
  • Water as needed
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (white part and a couple inches of the green part)
Instructions
  1. Put reserved bean liquid and coconut milk in a large measuring cup
  2. Add enough water to make a total of 3-1/2 cups liquid
  3. Put rice, liquid and the rest of the ingredients in the pressure cooker pot
  4. Lock lid on pressure cooker and set to come to high pressure for 4 minutes
  5. When time is up, turn off cooker and let the pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do a quick release
  6. Remove cover
  7. I like to let it sit a couple minutes after the lid is removed to absorb a bit more liquid, but you can serve immediately if the texture is to your liking

 

Pressure Cooker Brown Stew Chicken

My Take On Caribbean Brown Stew Chicken

Update: I managed to get some photos with a bit of color when having leftovers the next day (coincidentally, while watching The Leftovers).

Brown_Stew_Chicken_NewI guess I am on a Caribbean kick lately. After making my Jerky Joes last week, here I am again hanging out in the islands. The main reason is probably that I already had those spices out and I am not finished playing with them yet.

Brown Stew Chicken Ingredients2

One thing that I have noticed is that although this dish is chock full of flavor, it is not particularly photogenic. I neglected to include something, anything, to provide a splash of color, but what I got was quite a brown photo. But I swear it is tasty.

Peppers Scallions

This is one of those recipes where no two people do it the same way, yet each person claims to do it the “right” way. Some make Brown Stew Chicken with carrots, potatoes, bell peppers and other ingredients. I went with the bell peppers, but I kept it pretty simple besides that. My twist is the addition of ginger beer rather than water. Having recently discovered cooking with this ingredient, I have really been going to town with it recently. I think it ads a nice flavor.

Seasoned Chicken

I like to use chicken thighs, because of the winning combo of price and flavor. Traditionally this dish is made with a whole cut up chicken, but I just bought a large package of thighs. Usually labeled “family pack”, I am a little embarrassed to buy such a thing for just my wife and me, but we do get a couple meals out of it. And we are technically a family.

Chicken Browning

If you want to leave out the Kitchen Bouquet it probably won’t be noticeable in the flavor, but the color just won’t be the same.

For the hot sauce, I think the Habañero Tabasco is perfect but you can use what you have on hand. I think Sriracha would work well, even though it is not exactly caribbean.

So, how do you make it? Funny should ask. I was just about to ‘splain.

Season about 4 pounds of chicken thighs with Montreal Steak Seasoning. You can use seasoning salt, or a combination of Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder.

Heat the coconut oil in your pressure cooker pan over medium-high heat. I recommend that you don’t substitute a different oil in this particular case. The coconut ads that special something to this dish.

Chicken Browned2In batches, brown the chicken on the skin-side only. I don’t think the extra time to brown the entire thing is worth it in this case. The skin is full of flavor and that is going to leave enough brown bits on the pan to make it quite tasty.

After the chicken has been browned, pour out most of the fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons.

Sauté some sweet onion and bell peppers until they start to soften (about 3-4 minutes).

Veggies Pan

Add in some garlic and green onion and continue to sauté for another minute.

Now comes 1/2 cup catsup and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often. This is where a lot of the color comes from, so you want it to slightly caramelize and darken.

Add in some allspice, thyme, salt, soy sauce, hot sauce, lime juice, Kitchen Bouquet and stir.

Vegetables Cooked

Now, put the chicken back in the pot.

Pour a cup of ginger beer over the chicken and place the top on the pressure cooker.

Chicken In Pan

Bring it up to high pressure, then lower the heat to maintain the pressure.

Set the time for 20 minutes.

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

If you would like the sauce a little thicker, put the pot over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. This is not a super thick stew, the sauce will be a little on the thin side.

Chicken Finished

Serve with caribbean peas and rice, a traditional side dish. The peas are actually beans, but this is what it is called, so who am I to change it? I made a super quick version, which I will post the recipe for in a few days. It is one of those “so simple it is barely a recipe” recipes, so it will be on the Wednesday post.

You could also serve this with French fries if you like.

Brown Stew Chicken Plate2

 

Pressure Cooker Brown Stew Chicken
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Caribbean
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5 servings
Enjoyed throughout the caribbean, this is my zesty take on this classic
Ingredients
  • 3-4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Montreal Steak Seasoning (you can use Seasoned Salt or salt, pepper and garlic powder)
  • 4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (with skin on)
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 medium sweet onion, halved then sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup catsup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (Tabasco Habanero works very well for this, Sriracha would be good as well)
  • 1 cup good quality ginger beer (make sure it is made with real ginger, not artificially flavored)
Instructions
  1. Over medium-high heat, put coconut oil in pressure cooker pot
  2. Season chicken with Montreal Steak Seasoning (You can use seasoning salt, or a combination of Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder)
  3. Brown chicken thighs (skin side only) in batches and remove to plate. Takes about 5 minutes per batch.
  4. Pour out all except about 2 tablespoons of fat
  5. Sauté the sweet onion and bell peppers until they start to soften (about 3-4 minutes)
  6. Add garlic and green onion and continue to sauté for another minute
  7. Add the catsup and brown sugar and cook for a few minutes, stirring often
  8. Add in the allspice, thyme, salt, soy sauce, hot sauce, lime juice, Kitchen Bouquet and stir
  9. Put the chicken back in the pot
  10. Pour the ginger beer over the chicken and place top on the pressure cooker
  11. Bring to high pressure
  12. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set timer for 20 minutes
  13. When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for 10 minutes, then do quick release
  14. Put pot over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes to reduce sauce slightly
  15. Serve with caribbean peas and rice

 

Pressure Cooker Jerky Joes

Just because they are called Jerky Joes, they are not made with jerky!

Jerky Joe 3

These pork and beef Sloppy Joes with Jamaican jerk style seasonings are a spicy update to the old lunchroom classic.

It finally cooled off just enough that I can do a little cooking. With a temperature of only 80 degrees today, I even contemplated putting on long pants this morning (I only contemplated it, mind you).

I made this in the Instant Pot, so I wrote it for electric pressure cooker, but it can easily be made in any stovetop model.

Jerky Joes Ingredients

Because it is still fairly warm around here, I wanted to prepare something quick and tasty. This was easily done in the Instant Pot, so I did not even have to turn on the oven. And I served it with sweet potato chips to avoid needing to heat up a side dish.

Ketchup

It seems nearly impossible to find Scotch Bonnet peppers around here, which are traditional Jamaican peppers, so I used habeneros, which are related to Scotch Bonnets and are easy to find. You can use whichever you like. The heat level is pretty similar. If you don’t like things quite so spicy you can use jalapenos.

I have had these both with and without cheese, so the choice is yours. When I do use cheese, I prefer pepper jack.

Garlic And Jalapenos

I top them with grilled pineapple slices. Just heat a grill pan or iron skillet (dry) over medium-high heat and grill however many slices you need until they take on a little color. Flip once.

If you can find it, use the Pickapeppa sauce. They had it at my local grocery store in the hot sauce section. If you cannot find it, the closest thing would probably be Worcestershire Sauce. It has a similar flavor profile, but I recommend seeking out the Pickapeppa sauce. It gives it that “Jamaican” flavor.

Green Onions Chopped

In blender or food processor, add all the sauce ingredients. And pulse a few times until it is fairly smooth.

In the pressure cooker in a couple of tablespoons of oil, with sauté mode on high, sauté onion until translucent.

Onions Saute

Add pork and beef and sauté until broken up. It’s ok if it is a little pink, it will finish cooking under pressure.

Add the salt and pepper and top with two bay leaves.

Turn off sauté mode and add the sauce.

Pineapple Grilling

Give everything a stir, toss in a couple of bay leaves and lock top on pressure cooker.

Using manual setting, set for high pressure and 8 minutes time.

When time is up, do a quick release.

When pressure is released, remove top and turn on sauté mode on high.

Pineapple Grilled

Simmer until mixture thickens a bit (about 5 minutes).

Serve on toasted buns with a grilled pineapple ring.

To grill pineapple rings:

Put grill pan or iron skillet over high heat.

Jerky Joe Ready

Put desired number of pineapple rings between two paper towels for a minute to dry some.

When pan is hot, place pineapple rings in pan.

Flipping once, cook until they take on a little brown color.

Jerky Joe 2

Goes well with sweet potato chips.

 

Pressure Cooker Jerky Joes
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Recipe type: Sandwich
Cuisine: Carribean
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8 servings
A spicy take on the old lunchroom classic. Caribbean flavors make this a tasty alternative.
Ingredients
For the sauce
  • 2-3 habanero chiles, roughly chopped (I included seeds, remove if you would like it less spicy)
  • 3 green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped (include white and most of the green part)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice (from the canned pineapple)
  • 1 cup catsup
  • ½ bottle ginger beer (not ginger ale)
For the meat
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. In blender or food processor, add ingredients from habaneros through ginger beer
  2. Pulse a few times until fairly smooth, some chunks ok
  3. In pressure cooker in a couple of tablespoons of oil, with sauté mode on high, sauté onion until translucent
  4. Add pork and beef and sauté until broken up. It's ok if it is a little pink, it will finish cooking under pressure.
  5. Pour the sauce in
  6. Add the salt and pepper
  7. Give it a stir and top with two bay leaves
  8. Turn off sauté mode
  9. Lock top on pressure cooker
  10. On manual setting, set for high pressure and 8 minutes time
  11. When time is up, do a quick release
  12. When pressure is released, remove top and turn on sauté mode to high
  13. Simmer until mixture thickens a bit (about 5-7 minutes)
  14. Serve on toasted buns with a grilled pineapple ring
Grilled Pineapple Rings
  1. Put grill pan or iron skillet over high heat
  2. Put desired number of pineapple rings between two paper towels to dry some
  3. When pan is hot, place pineapple rings in pan
  4. Flipping once, cook until it takes on a little brown color

 

Super Quick Spinach Chickpea Curry

Delicious Spinach Chickpea Curry In A Jiffy!

Garbanzo Spinach Curry2

I know, “in a hurry” would have been much catchier but since there is a chain called “Hurry Curry”, I didn’t want to infringe on any copyrights and whatnot. I’m sure all major corporations are watching my blog like a hawk, just waiting for me to slip up.

This one is so simple that it barely counts as a recipe, which is why I am posting it on my Wednesday miscellany day rather than my weekend recipe day.

Garbanzo Spinach Curry Ingredients

Cue harp arpeggio:

Here’s the story, I remember it as if it were yesterday (when in fact it was four days ago).

After enjoying my Butter Chicken Recipe on Saturday, I had almost enough left for dinner on Sunday. Almost. How could I augment the leftovers to make an entire meal? I wanted something in the same family as butter chicken and something quick and easy. You see, Sunday is my pub day, and I don’t want to cook anything too complicated after a rough day at the pub.

So I decided to make a curry that actually had some sort of vegetable in it, since the chicken dish did not (except for onions and garlic). So I bought some frozen spinach, a can of chickpeas, a jar of curry sauce and an onion (you need to have something fresh).

Onion Sliced

Besides slicing and sautéing the onion, everything else is just plopped into the pot. This would also be a good crazy-quick dinner for two on its own with some rice. I think the entire thing took around 20-25 minutes.

I also made it in the Instant Pot, making it even easier.

Garbanzo Spinach In Pot

All you need to do is heat some oil on the HIGH sauté setting, and sauté the onion until it it is translucent.

Dump in a jar (15 ounce) of Madras Curry sauce, a large can (29 ounce) of chickpeas and half a 16-ounce bag of frozen spinach (or an 8-ounce package if you can find it).

Turn off the sauté mode, lock on the lid and using the manual setting, set to reach high pressure (which is the default) and 4 minutes time.

Garbanzo Spinach Curry1

When time is up, do a quick release, give it a stir and serve! It is excellent with a dollop of sour cream.

Super Quick Spinach Chickpea Curry
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
An extremely simple curry that can be a side dish or an easy weeknight entree
Ingredients
  • 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced (I used the mandoline)
  • 1 jar (15 ounce) madras curry sauce
  • 1 can (29 ounce) chickpeas
  • ½ of a 16 ounce bag frozen spinach (or 1 8 ounce package, if available)
Instructions
  1. In electric pressure cooker, heat oil on high sauté mode
  2. Sauté the onion until translucent
  3. Add the curry sauce, chickpeas and frozen spinach
  4. Turn off sauté mode and lock top on pressure cooker
  5. Using the manual setting, set for high pressure and set time for 4 minutes
  6. When time is up, do a quick release
  7. Serve with a dollop of sour cream (optional)

 

 

Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken

The Indian Restaurant Classic Made Simple

Butter Chicken Plate1

Butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani is a North Indian dish that can be found in most Indian restaurants, and I have even seen frozen versions in my local market. But why buy mediocre frozen versions when you can make it fresh?

My goal with this recipe was to strip it to the basics to make a fast and easy version that is perfect for a weeknight meal.

The chicken is traditionally cooked in a clay tandoor oven, but wouldn’t you know it, mine was in the shop. So, I just browned the chicken in the pressure cooker pan.

Butter Chicken Ingredients

Some may scoff at the fact that I eliminated the yogurt marinade, but that can add anywhere from another couple hours to an entire day. So if you are one of the scoffers, I will allow you a minute or so to finish your scoffing.

Onions

Ok, we are back. As you may have noticed, this is not a super authentic recipe, but it is super tasty.

As I have mentioned, boneless, skinless chicken is not really my favorite but it works well for this recipe (and it was cheap at the store). I brown it with the breasts intact to make things easier, then cut it into 2-inch chunks before adding into the sauce.

Chicken Browning

Let’s start by heating a little coconut oil and butter on medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pan. Mixing the coconut oil and butter helps keep the butter from burning.

Add the chicken breasts to the pan and brown them until they are a nice golden color, then remove them to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium and add in the rest of the butter.

Veggie Sauté

When the butter has melted, add some diced onions, along with some finely chopped ginger and Serrano chiles. If you have read many of my recipes you have probably noticed that Serrano chiles are my favorite chile to cook with. I have no idea if they are readily available everywhere, but we have them up the ying-yang here in SoCal. If your local ying-yang is not full of Serrano chiles, jalapeños will work fine. Sauté the onions, chiles and ginger until they start to soften (about 3-5 minutes).

Add in the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute or so.

Dump in some garam masala, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander and cayenne and sauté for 30 seconds or so. I usually put all the spices together in a small bowl so I can just add them in one swell foop, which makes things a lot easier.

Chicken In Sauce

Add a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato paste, a tablespoon of brown sugar, one cup of coconut milk and some salt.

Stir everything together.

Now cut the chicken into 2-inch chunks and add into the sauce mixture.

Lock the top on the cooker and turn heat to high to reach high pressure.

When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set time for 7 minutes.

When time is up, remove from heat and let pressure come down on its own for about 7 minutes on its own, then do a quick release.

If sauce looks a little thin, place over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes to thicken, stirring often.

Chicken Finished

Serve with rice, naan, or any other flatbread. You can top with a little yogurt, which I had planned on doing but totally forgot until my dinner was totally digested. I did remember for the leftovers the next day, though.

Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken
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Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
The Indian Restaurant favorite, made quicker and easier in the pressure cooker
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 medium sweet onions, diced
  • 3 serrano chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Yogurt (optional, for serving)
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter on medium high heat in the pressure cooker
  2. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides and remove them to a plate
  3. Lower the heat to medium and add the rest of the butter
  4. Add the onions, ginger and chiles and sauté until they start to soften (about 3-5 minutes)
  5. Add in the garlic and continue to sauté for another minute
  6. Dump in the spices (garam masala, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander and cayenne) and sauté for 30 seconds or so
  7. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, coconut milk and salt
  8. Stir everything together
  9. Cut the chicken into 2-inch chunks and add into the mixture
  10. Lock the top on the cooker turn heat to high to reach high pressure
  11. When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain pressure and set time for 7 minutes
  12. When time is up, remove from heat and let pressure come down on its own for 7 minutes on its own, then do a quick release
  13. If sauce looks a little thin, place over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes to thicken, stirring often
  14. Serve with rice, naan, or any other flatbread