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
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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

 

 

The Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Challenge

or… can you cook a 7-lb pork shoulder after work and still eat before bedtime?

The answer is yes, as long as you don’t turn in before 10 PM.

There seem to be recipes for pulled pork on practically every cooking blog, including a lot of ones made in the pressure cooker, so I wasn’t sure if I even should do this post. But since this was more of a challenge to myself to cook a seven-pound pork shoulder on a weeknight, I decided to go ahead with it.

While perusing the meat counter at the Smart & Final (The Smaller, Faster Warehouse Store according to their advertising) on Sunday, I bought an almost seven pound pork shoulder. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes while shopping I get caught up in the excitement and the next thing you know I’m trying to squeeze a one gallon jug of Tabasco sauce into the refrigerator.
I had it earmarked for pulled pork. I almost made pulled pork a couple of weeks ago, but it morphed into carnitas by time I was ready to start cooking it.

Since this past sunday was 100 degrees, it turned out to be a cheese plate night. Not wanting to keep the meat too long (I tend to be a bit overcautious about such things), I planned on making it during the week. It didn’t help much that I left work a half-hour later than usual, meaning that I got home at 7:30 PM. Seeing as how I get to work and back by bicycle, I have to figure a shower in there after work as well.

So around 7:45, I started rubbing my butt (The pork, the pork! Get your minds out of the gutter! A pork butt comes from the shoulder. How confusing.) I threw together a quick rub (this meal was all about the quick) that was something like this:

RUB:
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Hot Paprika
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Dash Cayenne
Salt and Pepper to taste

I unwrapped the pork. This was definitely the most massive amount of meat I have ever put into the pressure cooker. In fact, it was the largest piece of meat I have ever brought into my apartment!

It had a substantial fat cap on it, so I trimmed some of it off, being sure to leave enough to impart its flavor to the finished dish.

I hastily applied the rub while heating a small amount of olive oil in the pressure cooker and browned it in two batches. After removing the pork to a plate, I dumped in a chopped onion and some garlic (I used around seven cloves, but use whatever you’re comfortable with. I think I usually use about double of what most people use) to soften them up a little.

As with many things I make, I added the beer. At first I was going to use a Pilsner that I had sitting around for awhile because it was kind of weird. I was convinced it was mislabeled and was actually a hefeweizen, and it was also quite foamy. Well, I opened it up and sure enough, the thing started foaming like Cujo. The only other beer I had was Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA. I was a little apprehensive about using an IPA since I have never tried it before for cooking and was worried it might impart too much of a bitter flavor to the meat. I also added some white wine vinegar (about a half-cup), and then some actual white wine (also a half-cup). I put in a couple tablespoons brown sugar,  a couple tablespoons worcestershire sauce, a couple bay leaves and some liquid smoke.

I let it come to a boil for a couple minutes to cook off some of the alcohol, then added the browned meat back in. After I added the meat, it looked like a little more liquid wouldn’t hurt, so I put in a cup of water.

Having never cooked a pork shoulder before, I headed to the handy time chart at hippressurecooking.com. According to the chart, pork shoulder should cook for 45-50 minutes. I decided to add an extra ten minutes since the piece of meat seemed rather large to me, but I think 50 minutes would have been fine.

I locked on the top of the pressure cooker, brought it up to high pressure, lowered the flame on the burner and set the timer for one hour. By the time I did this it was 8:30 PM.
While the pork was cooking I threw together my BBQ sauce and some slaw for a side dish.
I recently heard about vinegar based sauce from the Eastern part of North Carolina, so I thought it sounded interesting enough to try. I used this one from allrecipes.com as my starting point. I usually make a tomato-based sweet and spicy sauce, but thought I would try a vinegar-based sauce for a change. I varied the recipe somewhat to use what I had on hand, but hopefully it didn’t alter the flavor too much from what would be considered authentic.

CAROLINA BBQ SAUCE (I hope)
1 cup rice vinegar (I used this because it is what I had and I didn’t want to go to the store to get apple cider vinegar, which is traditional)
2 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp Frank’s hot sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and Pepper

Since I wouldn’t be able to let it sit for any length of time to let the flavors meld, I used my trusty Bamix immersion blender to whisk it together.

When the timer went off, I took the pressure cooker off the heat to let it neutralize naturally (at least that was the plan, but once it got down to the low pressure line, I fought the urge to speed things up a bit for five minutes or so, but soon my rumbling stomach won out over my patience and I opened the quick release valve.

I put it in a large bowl and pulled it apart with two forks, and I must say it pulled apart beautifully! After pulling it, I added the BBQ sauce (if you are unfamiliar with Carolina sauce, it is quite thin, almost like a marinade rather than a sauce, so don’t think that something has gone awry if it is not like the sauces that you are usually used to. I had to fight the temptation to add some ketchup and molasses to thicken it up).
Tonight, I just served it on a plate with some vinegar cabbage slaw (it was quite an acidic meal, but not overly sour).

Since there were plenty of leftovers, I will probably make sandwiches tomorrow. The sauce was quite tasty, but it will probably not replace my usual go-to tomato and molasses based sauce anytime soon.

Sure, it was 9:40 by the time dinner was ready, but most of the recipes for cooking pulled port using other methods require the the meat to be roasted or smoked for 6 hours or longer, so around two hours from start to finish including prep work is pretty quick, I think.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!