May 31, 2018

Pressure’s Rising!




With the growing popularity of the “instant pot” recipes, people have been pulling out little-used pressure cookers from the back of their kitchen cabinets.  After all, an instant pot is basically and electronic pressure cooker. So if you’re still “low tech” like us, these delicious recipes can be prepared in your pressure cooker and enjoyed any night of the week. 

Today’s pressure cookers have multiple safety features.   Instead of the little jiggly thing at the top of the pot, precise pressure indicators allow you to choose the right amount of pressure for the food you are cooking.  Pressure is easily adjusted by raising or lowering the flame. 

Advanced safety mechanisms allow built up steam to escape gradually if it has gone above safe levels.  Some brands will incorporate up to three pressure releasing safety systems.     And, the gaskets found inside the lids are now silicone and stay soft and supple for many years unlike their rubber predecessors that quickly turned hard and brittle.  Many models allow for removal of handles for ease of clean-up. Others offer “quick pressure release” for those of us who are in a rush.   

The best reason for using a pressure cooker is to reduce cooking time.  For some recipes the cooking time may be cut down by as much as 70%. That’s a huge difference for a busy cook!




These melt-in-your-mouth ribs taste like they slow baked in the oven all day!

½ cup water

2 large onions, thickly sliced

1 each red and green peppers, seeded and cut into 1” strips

2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce

5 pounds beef spare ribs or flanken

2 tablespoons corn starch



Place water, onions and peppers in your pressure cooker.  Place a single layer of ribs on the vegetables.  Brush generously with sauce.  Place another layer of ribs on top and once again brush with sauce.  Continue layering until all the ribs are in the pot.  Pour in any remaining sauce.  Cover the pressure cooker by lining up indicator symbols on the lid and handle.  Turn and lock lid in place, closing any required locking mechanisms.   Turn up flame to high until just before the second or higher pressure indicator appears.  Lower the heat slightly to maintain pressure at the second level but no higher.  Cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat.

When the pressure indicators are completely lowered, either by waiting or quick release methods, open the cover.  Remove the ribs to a platter and keep warm.  Skim off any visible fat and place 2 tablespoons of the liquid in the cooker into a small bowl.  Stir in the cornstarch and pour it back into the pot.  Bring to a gentle boil and heat until sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.  Pour sauce over ribs and serve. 




Need soup for dinner in an instant? Here goes!



1 tablespoon canola oil

1 large white onion, chopped

3 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock

1 lb peeled baby carrots

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/4 cup coconut milk

kosher salt and white pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh micro greens or chives, for garnish



Heat oil over medium heat in the pressure cooker. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and cook high pressure 15 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Release steam. Add coconut milk, using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender), carefully blend until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into 4 bowls and garnish with a little more coconut milk and fresh chives if desired. Makes 5 cups.



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