After taking a few weeks off for Spring Break, this week was supposed to be an all-new recipe, Chipotle Mango Pulled Pork Tacos.
Unfortunately, I hit a few snags along the way. I had some issues getting the electric pressure cooker coming up to pressure, and when trying to transfer the massive mound of meat to the stove top pressure cooker, the pork slipped and fell back into the pot, the splash resulting in a few second-degree burns.
On the plus side, the pulled pork resulted in what is definitely among the top ten tacos that I have ever had. And living in SoCal, I have had a lot of tacos in my day.
The pork, along with the tangy slaw and the chipotle cilantro sour cream dressing definitely hit the spot.
Of course, the problem is that the recipe did not work in the Instant Pot, which means that I cannot post it until I can confirm that it will work in both the stove top and electric PCs.
So, I guess the Spring Break will continue for 1 more week, and next week I hope to have the final recipe for my pulled pork tacos!
So, come back next week for the deets, as the kids say these days.
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
When time is up, do a quick release, give it a stir and serve! It is excellent with a dollop of sour cream.
It’s hard to believe that it is almost the end of summer. With the weather we have been having lately, it’s even harder to believe. It seems to finally getting back down to reasonable temperatures just in time to cook up some tasty treats for the last big blast of the summer!
Here are a few recipes using the pressure cooker so that your Labor Day can be less laborious.
Alright, let me clear up a couple things from the get-go. Yes, it is called Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, but that does not mean that it has pineapple in it. There is NO pineapple in this, and simply adding pineapple to something does not make it Hawaiian. Also, this is in no way, shape or form intended to be a healthy dish, so please do not try to substitute Low Fat Mayo, skim milk or brown rice (or spelt, etc.) macaroni. Any of those changes will automatically render this dish Non-Hawaiian.
This dish is meant to emulate the creamy, decadent macaroni salad that is typically served with the Hawaiian Plate Lunch. If you have never had a plate lunch, it usually comes with one or two entrees such as Teriyaki Chicken or Kalua Pig, with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. It is definitely not “diet” food, but it is definitely delicious. I will admit, though, that I have used less mayo and milk than most recipes call for (believe it or not).
I have found that adding the vinegar to the water while cooking the pasta will permeate the macaroni with vinegar flavor, giving it the “tangy” quality that restaurant versions have. If you taste the macaroni by itself, you may find it kind of odd tasting, but once it is all mixed together you will have a tangy, tasty treat.
I made this in the electric pressure cooker, so that is how I wrote the recipe. You can easily use a stovetop model using the same timing. But make sure that you are cooking on LOW pressure, so as not to overcook the macaroni.
Start by dumping the macaroni into the pressure cooker pot.
Add 1/2 cup rice vinegar and about 2-1/2 cups water (liquid should just barely cover the macaroni, adjust as needed). Apple cider vinegar will also work, but I prefer the milder taste of Rice Vinegar.
Add a tablespoon of oil to help reduce foaming and salt the water liberally.
Place the top on the pressure cooker and set for LOW pressure.
Set the time for half the time that is listed on the macaroni package (mine said 9-11 minutes, I set the time for 5 minutes). You want the macaroni to be soft and fluffy, not al dente, so that it will easily absorb the dressing.
While the macaroni is cooking, get your dressing ready. In a bowl whisk together 1-1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup milk, a tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce, a couple teaspoons prepared mustard, a tablespoon of brown sugar and one teaspoon of onion powder. This mixture will look thin, but once it is blended into the macaroni and some of it is absorbed it will be just right.
When time is up, do a quick release. Remove the top and let it sit for about a minute.
Transfer the macaroni to a colander and quickly rinse with cold water. Drain for a few minutes, then transfer macaroni to a large bowl.
Add about 1/4 cup grated carrot, 2 stalks finely chopped celery and 3 finely chopped scallions and mix together. I used the medium side of a box grater for the carrot.
Pour the mayo/milk mixture over macaroni and stir it all together.
Taste and add salt, if needed.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Top with freshly ground black pepper and/or paprika, if desired.
For authentic plate lunch, serve with white rice and an entree, such as teriyaki chicken. It is also a great side for just abut anything, Hawaiian or not!
Need some (pressure cooker) ideas for your holiday get-together?
Well, I just happen to have some right here!
In addition to my Cherry Sriracha Ribs from last week, I thought I might list a few other things that could work for the occasion.
How about these Frijoles Charros? All-American? Perhaps not, but if you are having anything such as pulled pork or carne asada, this is the perfect accompaniment.
For a change from the traditional, mayonnaise-y potato salad, give this pressure cooker German version a try.
And last, but not least, if you happen to hail from the Midwest and you happen to be grilling some hot dogs, you might just want to try this Coney Island Chili. I have been told it is closer to the original than most. Give it a try!
So, have a great holiday, and be careful out there!
No grill? Celebrate the Holiday With These Easy Ribs!
Talk about falling-off-the-bone tender. These were practically leaping off the bone. In fact, I had to point at my plate and in a stern voice, shout “Stay!”
Ok, that may have never happened, but the falling off the bone part is true. The rest may have been a delusion due to my being a bit under the weather this weekend, which is also why this post is a little later than usual, but it is worth the wait for this tasty treat. This would be good for your 4th of July party if you don’t have a grill, or if you want something in addition to your grilled foods.
It’s not quite as sweet as it sounds, the Sriracha Sauce helps temper that a little.
Start by cutting about 5 pounds of ribs (2 slabs comes out to about the correct weight) into pieces small enough to fit in the pressure cooker.
Rub them with Montreal seasoning (or seasoning of your choice such as seasoned salt). I have been using a lot of this Montreal Seasoning lately. Partly because it is tasty, and partly because I went shopping at the local warehouse store, so I came home with what is quite possibly a lifetime supply. They must release some kind of drug into the air vents in those stores, because it always seems like a good idea at the time to buy a container of seasoning that causes you to have to tie your trunk shut for the ride home.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat.
In batches, brown the ribs (meat side only), removing them to a plate as you go. I probably really needed a platter because the ribs were stacked precariously high on the plate. I dubbed it “Mt. Ribmore”.
Toss a chopped onion in the pot and sauté it until it is translucent.
Add in four cloves of garlic (run through a press), a couple tablespoons fresh ginger (about a thumb sized piece, chopped) and a teaspoon of dry mustard and continue to sauté for another minute.
Now, add a jar (about 12-13 ounces. If you have a larger jar, measure about a cup) cherry preserves, 1 bottle (12 ounces) cola, 1/4 cup Sriracha, 4 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 cup catsup, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, and 1 teaspoon each sesame oil and liquid smoke. I always look for catsup and cola without high-fructose corn syrup. I know, it might seem strange considering other things I eat that HFCS is where I draw the line, but that’s just the way I am.
At this point, add in a little salt and pepper and return the meat to the pot.
Cover the pressure cooker and adjust heat to high and bring to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure and set the timer for 40 minutes.
When time is up, let pressure come down on its own for ten minutes, then do a quick release.
Remove the ribs to a plate.
Adjust heat to medium-high and let simmer the sauce for about 7 minutes or so.
Remove the sauce from heat.
You can use sauce as is (rustic style), but I prefer to whizz it with an immersion blender for a few seconds.
Serve the ribs with some sauce on top and some on the side.
Celebrate The Beginning Of Summer The Pressure Cooker Way
I just realized that we are less than two weeks away from Memorial Day, the unofficial beginning of summer. Time to get out the old grill and burn some burgers and dogs.
But what about those of us who aren’t able to grill or barbecue? Those of us that live in apartments with one small grill out by the pool that is shared by 69 other apartments? You can’t really count on it being available.
And what about if inclement weather puts a damper on your plans. This year, that seems like it may be likelier than in years past. I know friends in a couple different areas who had snow just this past weekend.
You probably saw this coming, but you could use your pressure cooker to make some of the classics that are usually associated with outdoor cooking.
And by gum, I just happen to have a few examples on this here blog.
Or cook up some wieners and top them with this tasty Coney Island Chili. Based on the chili at Coney Island restaurants that are plentiful in the Detroit area where I grew up, after some experimenting, I think this is a pretty reasonable facsimile.
Whether you do you cooking inside or out, I wish all of you a great holiday!
Living in Southern California, there is no shortage of Mexican food, and I have eaten many different dishes going by the moniker “Steak Picado”. Sometimes it is a skillet dish that seems more akin to fajitas or a stir-fry. But I was inspired for this recipe by “Guisados“, a local place here in the Los Angeles area that was featured on one of the food shows I watch, or “my stories” as I call them. I don’t claim that this recipe is anything like theirs, but merely inspired by their idea of serving homestyle braises, which would simmer on the stove the entire afternoon. But through the magic of the pressure cooker, you can have a tasty, falling apart flank steak in a tangy sauce in about an hour. Perfect over rice, on warm tortillas, or a little of both!
I prefer to use Serrano chiles, which are a little hotter than Jalapeños, but I am led to believe that the Serrano chiles may not be as easy to find in some areas, whereas Jalapeños can be found just about everywhere, so feel free to use the Jalapeños. I leave the seeds in when I chop them, but you can remove the seeds if you prefer a milder flavor.
This recipe is for approximately 2-2.5 pounds of flank steak. The flank steak that I used was unusually large at about 2-1/4 pounds, but you may need to use two smaller ones.
Start out by browning the steak on both sides in a couple tablespoons of oil, then remove it to a plate.
Sauté some chopped onions, green peppers and the Serrano or Jalapeño chiles until the onions just start to take on a little brown color, then add in the garlic and continue for another minute or so.
Add in 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of chili powder of your choice (I like to use Penzey’s Chili 9000), 2 teaspoons of cumin and 1 teaspoon oregano.
Stir for a minute or so until the spices become fragrant.
Pour in a can of roasted tomatoes with green chiles (such as Ro-Tel, but I used Trader Joe’s brand).
Pour in 1/2 cup beer and 1/2 cup water, then add 1 teaspoon of beef flavored Better Than Bouillon. You can add 1/2 cup beef stock in place of the water and Better Than Bouillon if you prefer.
Top it off with a couple of bay leaves, then put the top on the pressure cooker.
Bring to high pressure, adjusting heat once high pressure is reached to maintain.
Set time for 40 minutes. I know this may sound like a long time, but it should give you that good, falling apart texture that requires hours of braising without the pressure cooker.
When time is up, remove the meat to a plate. Put the sauce back on medium-high heat and let it cook down a bit (around 7-8 minutes, until the meat is ready to add back in).
Let the meat rest for five minutes, then cut into approximately 1-inch chunks. Some of the meat will probably fall apart in shreds. That’s fine. This is a rustic recipe, as they say when things don’t quite work out as planned.
Stir the meat back into the sauce, then remove from the heat.
When I realized that Fat Tuesday was almost upon us, I knew I needed to come up with something to honor the day. After all, it is the last day before lent, which means I will not be able to indulge in this type of thing again until Easter. …BAZINGA! I had you going there for a minute, didn’t I? But even if I don’t stop eating meat for a month doesn’t mean I can’t have an overindulgent meal to celebrate. The recipe may seem a little involved, but fortunately both the roux and the chicken can be prepared ahead of time, so by the time you are ready to put the gumbo together, the entire thing can be done in less than an hour.
I admit that I was pretty stressed out about the Roux. That mysterious substance upon which good gumbo is built. Yes, I read all the the horror stories and heard all the warnings. “You can’t make roux, you dang yankee!”, “You’re gonna burn it hundreds of times before you finally get it to turn out right!”, “you can only make a roux if your mama made roux, and her mama before her, and her mama before her, and her mama before her and the ape that she evolved from made roux.” And “you cannot make gumbo unless you are in possession of The One Ring To Roux Them All. But I managed to put that out of my mind, steeled my nerves and did what any red-blooded American boy would do… I cheated! Well, only a little. Rather than stand over a hot stove, stirring for up to 90 minutes until my arm is ready to fall off, I used this method (just the roux part, not the entire recipe) popularized by Alton Brown, and made it mostly in the oven. I made the roux a couple days in advance. It keeps fine in the fridge for a few days. And making it in advance gives you plenty of time to do it over on the off chance that something does go awry. Since this was a special recipe for Fat Tuesday, I went all out and used lard, but you can use vegetable oil if you like. When making a dark roux, it is best not to use butter, as the milk solids can burn and ruin the roux. If using oil, you just need to combine the oil and flour and pop it in the oven. Since I was using lard, I started it on the stovetop over medium-low heat until the lard was melted, then I put it in the oven.
I like to cook the chicken and make the stock at the same time. Starting with a 3.5-4 lb. chicken, throw it in the pressure cooker along with some carrots, celery and onion plus a little salt. Add about six cups of water. You can add a little more water if there is room in your pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure for 25 minutes, do a quick release and carefully remove the chicken to a plate. It may come apart some, but you are going to pull the meat off anyway so that is fine. After the chicken is removed, strain the liquid and save for the gumbo. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones.
If you made the roux and chicken ahead of time, take them out of the fridge and hour or so before starting the gumbo. Now that the stressful stuff is out of the way, you can relax and get going on your gumbo. Chop up a couple green peppers, a large onion and some celery (known as “the trinity” in Louisiana cooking) and some garlic.
Slice a package of Andouille sausage into approximately 1/2″ slices. In a tablespoon or so of fat, in the pressure cooker pot, brown the sausage, then remove to a plate. Sauté the onion, green pepper and celery in the sausage oil until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for a couple minutes more. Add in a couple tablespoons of the roux.
At this point, the roux is just for flavoring so don’t add too much. If it is too thick, you will have a problem getting it to reach pressure. Mix with vegetables and cook for a couple minutes. Add the sausage and all the chicken to the vegetable mixture. Add in the spices and stir for a couple minutes. Add four cups of the stock (more or less depending on how liquid it looks. You don’t want it to be too watery. In my 6 quart electric pressure cooker, 4 cups was perfect. Add 1 tablespoon better than bouillon chicken flavor (this is optional, I like the extra flavor it ads, but it would be fine without). Toss in the bay leaves Turn heat to high, place top on pressure cooker and bring to high pressure.
When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure (if using an electric pressure cooker, it will do this step for you). Set timer for seven minutes. When the time is up, do a quick release. Lower heat to medium to maintain low boil. Add in four or five tablespoons of the roux (depending on how thick you like it, I used five) while stirring to help avoid lumps. Serve it over rice with some crusty bread, or the traditional potato salad. Or both! It is Fat Tuesday, after all. I know, I am using Fat Tuesday as an excuse to break all the rules, but it’s as good an excuse as any. Some people even put the potato salad right into the gumbo. I may be a bit “northern” to try that.
I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating: Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!
8 oz. by weight fat (I used lard. Vegetable oil will also work.)
8 oz. by weight flour
For The Chicken
1 3.5-4 lb. Chicken
2 carrots, cut in 2 inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut in 2 in pieces
½ large onion, cut into 2 pieces
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
For The Gumbo
7 Tablespoons Roux
2 Green Bell Peppers, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced about ¼-inch thick
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press
1 tablespoon cajun or creole seasoning
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt to start (then to taste)
½ teaspoon black pepper to start (then to taste)
File Gumbo for serving
4 cups chicken stock (made with the chicken)
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Flavor (optional)
2 Bay Leaves
Meat from a 3.5-4 pound chicken, removed from bones
1 package (12-16 oz.) andouille sausage, cut into ½-inch slices
For The Roux
(Adapted from Alton Brown)
This is best when made a couple days in advance
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Over medium-high heat, in an iron skillet or dutch oven, put fat in pan
When fat is liquid, add flour and stir until combined
Put into oven
Stir every 20 minutes until desired color is reached (I left it in oven for about an hour, stirring every 20 minutes until it reached a dark brown color). Dark brown gives it a very smoky taste. If you prefer a bit milder, just cook until approximately the color of peanut butter
Keep in oven until slightly lighter than desired color, it will continue darken some after removing from oven
If saving for later, let it cool then put in a container and refrigerate
For The Chicken
Put chicken, carrot, celery, onion and salt in pressure cooker
Turn heat to high and cover pressure cooker
When high pressure is reached, turn heat down to maintain high pressure
Set timer for 25 minutes
When time is up, do a quick release of the pressure
Carefully remove chicken to plate
The chicken may not still be in one piece, so carefully remove all pieces to the plate
Strain the stock in another pot
If doing this ahead of time, wait until cool enough, then put in container and refrigerate until needed
When cool enough, remove chicken from bones, discarding skin
Put into a container and put in refrigerator until needed
For The Gumbo
In 1 tablespoon fat or oil, brown sausage over medium-high heat
Remove sausage to plate
In sausage fat, sauté "the trinity" (Onion, Celery, Green Pepper)
When it starts to soften, add in the garlic
Sauté for another couple minutes
Add two tablespoons roux and stir
Add the cajun/creole seasoning, thyme, cayenne pepper
Add the sausage back in
Add the chicken to the pot
Add 4 cups broth
Add salt and pepper
Add 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken (Optional)
Toss in Bay Leaves
Place cover on pressure cooker and turn heat to high
Bring to high pressure
When high pressure is reached, adjust heat to maintain high pressure (electric pressure cookers will do this automatically)
Set time for seven minutes
When time is up, do a quick release
Adjust heat to maintain a low boil
Add in 4-5 tablespoons roux depending on thickness desired, stirring constantly
Cook for an additional 5 minutes
Sprinkle with File Gumbo when serving
Serve in bowls, with rice or potato salad and warm bread