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Stew

Beef bourguignon.

The use of pressure cookers for preparing quick and flavorful family meals has increased substantially, ever since the advent of electric, programmable pressure cookers. Because steam trapped in the pot builds up pressure, creating a hotter cooking temperature, pressure cookers cook food up to 70 percent faster than conventional methods.

It is a perfect method of cooking tougher cuts of meat, but also is useful in preparing soups, stews and even baking desserts, such as cheesecake. The new era multi-cookers allow you to select a variety of settings, have more levels of heat control, can be used as a slow cooker as well, and some also can be used to make yogurt or cook rice. The Instant Pot has perhaps had the most attention, but there are many brands on the market at a variety of prices points.

Before purchasing a multi-use cooker, be sure to research the different brands and models on the market to select the one that is most appropriate for your needs.

When using a pressure cooker of any type, be sure to follow the rules of safety that go with the cooker, such as not overfilling it and allowing the pressure to release to normal before opening. Recipes for a regular pressure cooker can be adapted for use in the multi-use pots and the recipes for use in the multi-use pots can be adapted for use with a regular pressure cooker.

If you have questions about cooking with the pressure cookers, feel free to get in touch with me: bcmason2612@hotmail.com.

Beef bourguignon

Makes 8 servings

Beef bourguignon is a classic French recipe that originated as a way to tenderize tough cuts of meat. It usually requires cooking in the oven for about 3 hours, but with the use of the pressure cooker, you will enjoy tender fall-apart beef that is full of flavor within about an hour of cooking time.

Ingredients:

8 slices bacon, diced

1 (3 pounds) boneless chuck roast

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf

3-4 cups Burgundy wine

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons butter

16 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups baby carrots, sliced in half

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup beef broth

Directions:

Fry bacon over medium heat until it is browned; remove bacon and set aside. Put 2 tablespoons bacon fat in pressure cooker. Trim roast of fat and cut into bite-sized pieces; add beef pieces to the pressure cooker; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, stir fry for 5 minutes. Add diced onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, garlic and thyme; stir to coat the meat. Add the bay leaf and stir in enough of the Burgundy to cover the meat in the pan completely, being careful not to exceed the fill line in the pressure cooker. Lock the lid in place and bring to low pressure; maintain pressure for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to release naturally.

Add sliced onions and 2 tablespoons butter to microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrots; cover and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir, cover and microwave on high in 30 second increments until mushrooms and carrots are sautéed and onion is transparent.

Quick-release any remaining pressure in the pressure cooker and remove the lid. Stir the mushroom-onion-carrot mixture into the pan. Lock the lid into place and bring to low pressure; maintain pressure for 5 minutes. Remove cooker from heat. Quick release pressure.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour and broth together to form a slurry. When the pressure has been released, remove the lid. Stir the flour mixture into the beef mixture; boil for 1 minute without the lid on.

Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, cooking and stirring for 5 minutes or until the gravy thickens. Stir in bacon pieces. Serve with cooked noodles or mashed potatoes.

Source: The recipe has been adapted somewhat from: “The Everything Pressure Cooker Cookbook,” Pamela Rice Hahn.

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Makes four servings

Making a batch of barbecued ribs in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker is much faster than doing it on the grill, and you can make them any time of the year. The ribs cook to tenderness in the pot, then get brushed with barbecue sauce and make a quick trip to the oven until nicely browned and caramelized.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 racks baby back ribs, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds total

4 cups apple juice

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup favorite barbecue sauce

Directions:

With a rack bone-side up, and starting at one end, slip a knife tip under the translucent membrane, loosening it from the bone. Once you have lifted enough to get a good grip, grasp the membrane with a paper towel and peel it off the rack (or ask your butcher to do this). Repeat for the second rack. Cut the rack(s) in half crosswise.

Stack the ribs in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Pour in the apple juice and vinegar. Secure the lid and move the pressure release to sealing. Select the meat/stew setting and set the cooking time for 20 minutes at high pressure. (For meat falling-off-the-bone ribs, set the cooking time for 25 minutes.) Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes.

While the pressure is releasing, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or a silicone mat. When 15 minutes have passed, move the pressure release to venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot and, using a pair of tongs, transfer the ribs to the prepared sheet pan. Discard the cooking liquid. Brush the ribs on both sides with the barbecue sauce, and then bake for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is caramelized and browned.

Remove from the oven, cut the ribs apart and serve.

Source: “The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook,” Coco Morante.

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Bernie Mason has written the Local Flavor column for the Billings Gazette for three years or so. She was Yellowstone County extension agent for 24 years. Mason grew up in Sidney in a family of German and Danish ancestry.

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