Tag Archives: Pressure Cooking

Stocks and Broths

In the past decade, there’s been an explosion of products containing bone broth. In fact, bone broths are touted as the latest health elixir. Well, guess what, folks: Bone broth is nothing but your great granny’s stock.

TV cooking personality Alton Brown defines stock as containing bones and water. Period. That’s it. No salt, no vinegar, no vegetables…just bones and water. Broth is created using stock with the addition of ingredients for seasoning, such as celery, onions, carrots, and salt and pepper.

Stock cooks for hours in order to extract all the flavor and collagen from bones. Then it’s strained and stored for future use. With a pressure cooker, I reduce cooking time to 90 minutes followed by natural depressurization. I store in pint-size freezer-safe jars.* After quick cooling in a sink filled with cool water, I refrigerate my jars of stock. The following day, I label and freeze the jars unless I intend to use the stock within a week.

Pint freezer-safe jar

*Freeze only in jars marked “freezer safe.”

Homemade stocks are better than store bought cans or cartons because you control the ingredients. Less expensive, too.

Broths made from homemade stocks are rich, healthy, and tasty. Stock can be used to make a quick gravy or sauce, or as the base for soup. It’s a perfect liquid for pressure cooking. It’s nutritious for dog food, too.

A couple of pounds of bones can yield a gallon of stock, although I usually use more. It isn’t an exact ratio. If you favor slow cooking stock, you’ll need a minimum of six hours. Over night works. When you open the stock to use it, you may find a layer of congealed fat at the top. Carefully remove this fat before using stock but don’t discard it. That fat (especially chicken fat) is rich in flavor and can be used to sauté onions, etc. in place of butter.

Vary your stock as you wish, depending on available bones. I love ham bone broth (stock) for making beans. Chicken stock is versatile and can be used in all poultry dishes as well as beef or pork. Beef stock is good for starting a vegetable soup or any number of beef dishes. Or mix your bones for a rich stock to flavor as you wish.

One last word of advice from Alton Brown. Skip the vinegar. It’s a myth that a teaspoon of vinegar accelerates the extraction of collagen. The amount of vinegar needed to have an impact would render the stock inedible.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #27 – Oatmeal

Today we’re out of milk. The skim milk is gone, the unsweetened almond milk is gone, the evaporated milk is gone … we’ve even used the shelf-stable cartons of milk we typically stock for hurricane preparedness. No cold cereal today for breakfast.

Oatmeal to the rescue! Grocery stores frequently have oatmeal on sale as a BOGO (buy-one-get-one free), so we had two boxes of Quaker Old Fashion Oatmeal in the pantry. With a pressure cooker, perfect oatmeal is easy. Here’s how I cook it.

RECIPE

Oatmeal for two

Ingredients: 2/3 cups oats, 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste), 1 1/2 tsp butter, and 1 cup water for the pressure cooker.

Directions: Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker pot. Add trivet. In a separate bowl or pot (any vessel that fits inside the cooker for pot-in-pot cooking), combine all other ingredients. Seal pressure cooker, set for 10 minutes, cook, and allow pressure to drop on its own. Do not vent manually. Carefully open the pressure cooker, remove the inner pot or bowl using potholders or mittens, and stir oatmeal vigorously. Serve immediately.

My husband eats his oatmeal with a Tablespoon of honey stirred in. I like to add cinnamon and stevia. There are endless possibilities to flavor oatmeal.

If you want larger servings (Ours are approximately 100 calories per serving , not including toppings), simply increase the amounts of oatmeal and water while maintaining the 1/3 cup oats/1 cup liquid ratio.

We will enjoy oatmeal again soon. It’s a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #26 – Taco Soup

Social media abound with recipes for taco soup, also known as 5-can soup. It’s a good pantry recipe that requires few fresh items. The 5 cans refer to two different cans of beans, a can of hominy, a can of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, and a can of whole kernel corn. (The ingredients vary, but it’s basically a soup with similar elements)

Ingredients for taco soup

Taco seasoning mix, a can or cup of chicken broth, a pound of ground meat, and an onion round out the recipe. Some versions include a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, but mine doesn’t. My version includes a bit of garlic powder instead. I also add a cup of tomato sauce.

Today I wanted to cook taco soup but had no canned beans. Fortunately, I use pressure cookers. There’s no need for canned beans when I have a pressure cooker and dried beans. Cooking a pound of dried beans takes less than an hour. I mixed a cup of pinto beans and a cup of black beans, cooked them under pressure 40 minutes, and allowed pressure to drop on its own.

Meanwhile, I browned a pound of ground turkey and chopped the onion. I added all the cans (corn, Rotel, hominy, and tomato sauce), broth, seasonings, and browned ground turkey and onions to the beans to slow-cook until mealtime.

Taco soup can be served with a variety of toppings, such as cheese, cilantro, and/or crumbled tortilla chips. It’s an inexpensive soup that yields 6-8 servings.

Taco soup

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #10 – Turkey Breast

Yesterday I ran out of produce except for onions, celery, and a few potatoes. I had to open a can of turnip greens, which aren’t bad. I’ve cooked greens from scratch that, frankly, weren’t worth the effort.

I pressure cooked a turkey breast, made gravy, and we had greens, turkey, and mashed potatoes yesterday and today.

The photo doesn’t do the meal justice. It tasted better than it looks. I have enough leftover turkey breast meat for tomorrow. Stay tuned for what I make with it.

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Quarantine Cuisine Day #3 – Grits

Breakfast. I’m a firm advocate of eating breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day because you are “breaking” the “fast” of sleep.

I’m also no fan of fasting. Those diets that involve fasting are not for me! Just as with any meal, I will need to be creative with breakfast if I stick with my vow to stay home 30 days.

We still have eggs and egg substitutes, so today I combined the two to make a lightened version of scrambled eggs. We have plenty of Jimmy Dean turkey sausage patties in the freezer, so I added those to the menu. But the star of today’s breakfast was grits.

I blogged previously about making grits in my pressure cooker.(No Grits , No Glory)

Today I needed only a cup of grits so I adjusted the recipe accordingly.

INSTANT POT GRITS FOR TWO

  • 1 cup water in the pot of the cooker (the grits are cooked in a bowl on the rack within the pot of the cooker)
  • 1/4 cup old fashion grits
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp (1 pat) unsalted butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Cook grits under pressure 5 minutes.
  • Turn off cooker. Allow pressure to drop completely on its own.
  • Carefully open cooker and remove bowl using silicone mitts or potholders.
  • Stir grits vigorously.
  • Serve immediately

This recipe produces one cup, or two half-cup servings. If you need more or larger servings, simply double the recipe.

In conclusion, I strive to vary our menus while meeting this thirty-day challenge. I don’t want my quarantine routine to turn into a rut.

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Beef and Mushroom Stew

We love all meat yet try to limit our consumption of red meats. So I developed a recipe for beef stew that uses only half a pound of meat. By adding a pound of mushrooms, I boost the umami taste. I sneak in more vegetables, too.

This is a pressure cooker recipe that’s easily adapted to slow cooking. By using the pressure cooker, we get that cooked all day flavor in about half an hour.

Recipe

Beef and Mushroom Stew

Makes 4 one-cup servings

  • 1/2 pound beef (chuck or round works) cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced and cleaned
  • 1 cup broth + 1 Tbsp (reserved for slurry)
  • 2 tsp. Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 small red or gold potatoes, sliced or cubed
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Preheat cooker pot.
  • Add oil.
  • Generously salt and pepper the beef.
  • Brown the beef on all sides, then remove from pot and set aside.
  • Sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms 1 minute.
  • Add cup of broth, deglaze bottom of pot, and return the beef to the cooker.
  • Seal and cook under high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare slurry by combining Worcestershire sauce, reserved broth, and cornstarch.
  • Remove pot from heat (or hit Cancel if using electric) and allow pressure to drop on its own.
  • Carefully open pot and add potatoes and carrots. Reseal.
  • Bring to pressure and cook 1 minute under pressure.
  • Remove from heat, allow pressure to drop 5 minutes on its own, then release remaining pressure.
  • Carefully open the cooker and check vegetables for doneness.
  • Stir slurry again right before adding it to the pot. Return to heat (or use sauté mode on electric models) just until sauce thickens.
  • Remove from heat immediately and check for seasonings. Add salt and pepper if needed and serve.
Beef and Mushroom Stew

Adding fresh chopped parsley before serving adds flavor. Unfortunately, I was out of parsley when I cooked this stew today. Next time …

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Mashed Potatoes for Two

If you think you can’t enjoy mashed potatoes without sacrificing your waistline or health, think again. For my Mashed Potatoes for Two, I use 1 pat of butter…real butter, no substitute. A pat of real butter is 1.5 tsp. or 50 calories. That’s 25 calories per serving. The butter adds plenty of flavor with a tiny amount of fat.

For my recipe you need only two russets, a pat of butter, salt/pepper, and a cup of water. The water goes into the pressure cooker. The peeled and halved potatoes go on a trivet above the water.

Pressure cook 15 minutes, allow pressure to drop 5 minutes on its own, then quick-release. Reserve the cooking liquid. Carefully remove the cooked potatoes to a bowl and add the butter to melt with the potatoes.

Using a fork, mash and stir the potatoes. Add a tablespoon or two of the starchy cooking water to loosen the mash. If mixture is still too stiff, add more of the cooking water. Season to taste.

That’s it. Potatoes boiled in water lose much of their flavor. By steaming potatoes above the water, you retain the natural flavor and nutrients. There’s no need to add anything beyond the small amounts of butter and cooking water for creamy mashed potatoes.

Add mashed potatoes to your Hasty, Tasty meals. Serve with fat free gravy, if desired.

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