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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