Sunday, March 20, 2011

I got a new toy -- Pressure Cooker

I haven't done a lot of interesting cooking lately, been pretty busy. But for St. Patrick's I decided I wanted Corned Beef. My problem was that it was on a week night and takes about 3 hours to cook. I did cheat a little and picked up an already corned beef brisket, but I was still facing 3 hours of cooking time. So I broke down and bought a pressure cooker.

I went for a stove-top model rather than an electric one. I liked the idea that you could brown meat and saute other ingredients before popping in the meat and cooking it under pressure. So a nice 8 quart pressure cooker is now in my arsenal. So I did have my corned beef.

It worked well! Not perfectly, but that's more my fault being a first-time pressure cooker user, but it did work pretty well. I ended up with a nice corned beef dinner. Plus the left over corned beef was my breakfast this weekend. Cut up and rendered like bacon and mixed with some eggs and scrambled -- Yum! I didn't do anything special, just followed the package directions on the John Morrel Corned Beef. I have corned my own in the past and plan to do it again soon. Just didn't have the 10-14 days once I made up my mind.

I also did a Pot Roast on Saturday and it went pretty well also. A nice 3.5 lb bottom-round roast.

  • 3-4 lb Pot Roast (Bottom round worked well, plan to try a chuck roast next)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 medium onion (finely diced)
  • 2 celery stalks (finely diced)
  • 2 medium carrots (finely diced)
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
    1/2 tsp of dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in the pressure cooker.
  • Brown the meat on all sides and remove.
  • Toss in the carrots, celery, and onion and saute until softened.
  • Add garlic, mustard, and paprika and bloom (heat until fragrant)
  • Add broth, brown sugar, and vinegar and de-glaze the pan (scrape up any brown bits off the bottom). The liquid should come up about halfway up the meat. Add more broth/vinegar if needed.
  • Return the meat and any juices.
  • Put on the lid and cook at pressure for about 75 minutes.
  • Once the meat is done, remove from the pot. It should try and fall apart it it's done. If it still feels really firm, continue cooking for 15 more minutes. If you are doing nearer to a 4 lb roast you might have this problem.
  • Cover the meat on a cutting board or plate. I usually use a plate to catch any liquids.
  • Reduce the liquid in the pot by half. If the vegetables are still chunky, you can use a stick blender and reduce them. Personally I like the rustic chunks.
  • Once reduced, add a tablespoon of unsalted butter and serve as an pan sauce. You can mix in some flour and make a pretty good gravy.
  • I slice the pot roast into 1/4 inch slices and lay on a serving platter. You must use a very sharp knife or it will just fall to pieces.
  • I put a little cooking liquid on the serving platter to warm it up before adding the sliced roast and top with a small amount of the reduced liquid.
Like I said it came out pretty well. Next time I'll be adding some root vegetables during the last 30 minutes of cooking. I didn't try it here mainly because I didn't have any potatoes and only had baby carrots left. I was worried about them coming apart in the cooker. So next time I'll be better prepared.

I served it with some potato salad (Roasted Potato Salad) and some corn. Not a bad late evening meal after a great day (Warm, sunny, light breezes -- best last Winter day we've had in a long time.)

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