Modern Pressure Cooking
More Than 100 Incredible Recipes and Time-Saving Techniques to Master Your Pressure Cooker
By Bren Herrera, Ken Goodman
Page Street Publishing Co. Copyright © 2016 Bren Herrera
All rights reserved.
GET STARTED WITH THESE STARTERS, APPS AND SIDES
Appetizers are underrated. We go out to eat and order them because we're hungry or need to fill the time spent catching up with our family and friends. I've not done any empirical research but I wonder if there's any correlation between the appetizers we order and the ensuing enjoyment of the rest of the courses. I want to argue appetizers can make or break our palate, ultimately defining our dining experience. After all, typically, they are the first thing we bite into. I love appetizers so much I have to be careful in measuring myself. I want them to be really good, but not so filling I won't eat a main course. That brings me to the appetizers in this book. My goal is twofold: to ease you into pressure cooking with easy dishes that'll intrigue you to meander through the process; and to offer you really good starters versatile enough to enjoy any time of day. These dishes are quite simple and illustrate how fast you can cook delicious food. I can eat any of these on their own or paired with something more elaborate. The plantain mash is an upgraded version of a simple Cuban dish that doubles as a starchy side or filling accompaniment to a nice cut of meat. Fall scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in that sweet dish will turn it into a regular option for you and your family. My absolute favorite, however, is the first recipe, the Sweet English Pea and Mint Soup (here). Once you make and try it in fifteen minutes, you'll agree on its lead placement!
Sweet English Pea and Mint Soup
I loathed peas while growing up, even though they were incorporated in a lot of our rice dishes. We call them petits pois, or little peas. I used to pick them out of everything they landed on. During a trip to Prague in the spring, I had the most remarkable chilled pea soup for breakfast at a coffee bar. It was bright and light in consistency and paired well with my coffee, oddly enough. A crazy combination, I know, but it's lingered in my heart since then and converted me into a pea fan. But only in the soup form. This vibrant soup was inspired by that visit, with a touch of added creaminess and herbal elegance. Enjoy it cold or warm. I love it warm with crusty bread. No coffee, please.
Serves 4 TO 6
1 tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (60 g) chopped spring onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 fresh sage leaves, minced, or 2 tsp (1.5 g) dried
½ cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (475 ml) Herbed Chicken Stock (here), or store-bought
3 cups (450 g) English peas, preferably fresh
7–8 fresh mint leaves, rubbed and chopped
1 tsp (6 g) kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) vegetable oil
½ cup (70 g) unsalted pumpkin seeds, plus more for garnish
1¼ cups (285 ml) light whipping cream
3 tbsp (9 g) thinly sliced fresh chives, for garnish
Melt the butter in the pressure cooker over medium heat for the stovetop pressure cooker or use the sauté setting for the electric pressure cooker. Add the spring onions, garlic, sage and flour, in that order. Whisk constantly, making sure the flour doesn't clump, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the peas and mint. Season with the kosher salt and the pepper. Cancel cooking for the electric cooker, and close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes total.
Electric: Use the soup setting, or set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 8 minutes.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and release the pressure, using auto-release.
While the peas are cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds: Heat the oil over medium in a small skillet. Add the pumpkin seeds and season with sea salt to taste. Toast the seeds, turning on each side until they are browned but not burned, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
When all of the pressure is out, stir in the whipping cream. Purée using an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a large food processor or suitable blender and purée the peas until they're smooth and velvety. If you have to, do it in two batches. Stir well and let simmer for 5 minutes. If you did this in a processor or blender, transfer the soup back to the pressure cooker, scraping it with a rubber spatula.
Serve immediately in individual bowls, or allow the soup to cool and then transfer to the refrigerator to chill. Garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon (9 g) of pumpkin seeds and chives.
Sweet Plantain Mash
Plantains, ripe or green, are one of Latin cuisine's biggest stars. Sweet fried plantains, or platanitos fritos, were the very first thing I learned how to fry, when I was seven. This fufú, a traditional mash with origins in West Africa, is typically enjoyed as a savory option for breakfast. Customarily, it is flavored with bacon and onions. My fufú is a result of expanding the versatility of sweet plantains. Infused with aromatic spices, this creamy mash is filling on its own.
Serves 4 TO 6
4 medium-ripe plantains, peeled, cut into 2" (5-cm) pieces
3 cups (710 ml) Herbed Chicken Stock (here) or Simple Vegetable Broth
(here), or store-bought
5 garlic cloves, 3 sliced and 2 minced, divided
2 tbsp (28 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¼ cup (55 g) butter
1 cup (235 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
1 tbsp (2.5 g) minced fresh basil, for garnish
Add the plantains, broth and the 2 minced garlic cloves to the pressure cooker.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over high heat for 7 minutes total.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 10 minutes.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and allow the pressure to release on its own (natural-release). While the plantains are cooking, prepare the garlic: In a small skillet, heat the olive oil and brown the remaining sliced garlic, about 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
When all of the pressure is out, open the cooker and strain the liquid. Allow the plantains to cool for a few minutes. Using tongs, remove the plantains and transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Mash the plantains, using a potato masher, until smooth and creamy. It's okay if you see little black seeds. Fold in the butter, orange juice, dried spices and honey. Season with salt to taste. Top with the sautéed garlic and drizzle the olive oil all over the top. You can stir well to incorporate, if you want. Garnish with the basil. Serve immediately.
B'S COOKING TIP: Depending on the ripeness of your plantains, the mash could be a bit too dry for your taste. If it is add about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the pot broth or 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 g) of butter.
A growing favorite appetizer or snack, the leaves of an artichoke serve as a delicate but interesting treat. We're seeing them at cocktail parties, Sunday brunches and more formal settings, for their unexpected accessibility yet intriguing eating style. Sucking and pulling on leafy grains is trendy. Imagine that. But they need some flavor assistance. I love a simple garlic "bath" that adds some sweet pungency. Cooking a few medium artichokes in fifteen minutes makes them really attractive for your next dinner party.
Serves 4 TO 6
2 medium artichokes
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, skin on, mashed
Leaves from 4 sprigs fennel
1 tsp (6 g) kosher salt
Cut off and discard the stem and the hard tips of the artichokes. Add the lemon juice, garlic, fennel leaves and salt to the pressure cooker and stir. Place the artichokes, facing up, in the pressure cooker and add enough water to cover them halfway. Close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over high heat for 12 minutes. When the pressure is reached, lower the heat enough to maintain the pressure level and continue to cook.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 15 minutes.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and release the pressure, using auto-release. When all of the pressure is out, open the lid and remove the artichokes from the cooker, using tongs. Peel back the leaves to enjoy.
Serve with your favorite dip. A simple mix of olive oil or melted butter and salt is a good way to become acquainted with the purplish thistle flower.
B IN THE KNOW! Buy fresh artichokes in season and from farmers' markets when you can. They are less expensive then and taste better, naturally.
Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip
Artichoke dip is that warm appetizer you can't get enough of, no matter the season. It's easily one of America's best go-to dips when entertaining at home, because of its wide appeal. It's also a suitable spread. Plus, you can really personalize this without much effort. A pinch of smoked paprika will give it an added punch. The garlic in this recipe is the star but the spice also makes it special.
Serves 4 TO 6
5 (6-oz [170-g]) bags fresh baby spinach, or 1 (6-oz [170-g]) bag frozen, cleaned, finely chopped and patted dry
1 (8-oz [225-g]) bar cream cheese, softened
2 to 3 fresh artichoke hearts, choked and roughly chopped, or 1 (16-oz
[455-g]) jar marinated hearts, drained
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp (28 ml) hot sauce
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1½ tsp (9 g) salt for fresh artichokes, or 1 tsp (6 g) for jarred
3 tbsp (45 ml) Italian dressing, if using fresh artichokes (optional; see notes)
Add all of the ingredients to the pressure cooker, in the order listed. Using a wooden spoon, fold the ingredients and combine well and close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over high heat for 12 minutes total if using fresh artichoke hearts and 8 minutes total if using jarred.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 10 minutes for fresh artichokes, or low pressure (5–8 PSI) and 7 minutes for jarred.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and release the pressure, using auto-release. When all of the pressure is out, open the lid. Stir well and adjust for salt if necessary.
Serve warm. Goes well with fresh pita, toasted pita chips or toasted artisan bread you already have. Also makes for a great spread for turkey or portobello sandwiches.
B CREATIVE! As a delicious variation, try topping the dip with shredded Parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.
B'S COOKING TIP: Adding 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of Italian dressing provides great flavor if you are using fresh artichoke hearts. If you do, reduce the salt amount by half.
Creamy Corn Polenta
There are a few foods I stay away from even though I love them deeply. Polenta is one of them. This creamy cornmeal "bowl," rooted in Italian peasantry, humbly livens the adage "Less is more." It's hearty and substantially filling, making it an ideal side dish, a base for a savory stew or a mélange such as the Soulful Beef, Okra and Plantain Mélange on here. That's a divine combination I know you'll love. I've tweaked this version to be a wonderful and airy starter to your more complex dishes.
Serves 4 To 6
2½ cups (590 ml) water
1 cup (235 ml) milk, plus ½ cup (120 ml)
1 cup (235 ml) Herbed Chicken Stock (here), or store-bought
1 cup (140 g) stone-ground yellow cornmeal (noninstant)
2 tsp (9 g) sugar
1½ tsp (2 g) dried thyme, or 1 tsp (1 g) fresh
½ tsp achiote oil (optional)
1 cup (225 g) corn, canned (drained) or fresh
2 tbsp (28 g) salted cultured butter
1 tsp (6 g) kosher salt, or to taste
Add all of the liquid, except the ½ cup (120 ml) of milk, to the pressure cooker and stir. Bring to a very light boil over medium heat for the stovetop pressure cooker or use the sauté setting for the electric pressure cooker, about 3 minutes.
Gently whisk in the cornmeal, maintaining the low heat. Constantly stir the mixture, using a metal whisk, as it thickens and turns into polenta, about 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar and thyme, and the achiote oil if desired. Cancel cooking for the electric cooker, and close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over high heat for 6 minutes total. When the pressure point has been reached, lower the heat to medium to finish cooking.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 8 minutes total.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and allow the pressure to release on its own (natural-release). When all of the pressure is out, open the cooker. Gently stir in the corn, remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk and butter. Season with salt.
B CREATIVE! For a savory polenta "cake," pour the polenta into small ramekins while still hot. The polenta will set within 5 to 10 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes. Unmold from the ramekins and serve with your favorite savory sauce.
B'S COOKING TIP: Polenta can be eaten alone or topped with your favorite savory sauce. The Soulful Beef, Okra and Plantain Mélange (here) is a crazy good combination if you make plain polenta without the corn. The corn is good and will add to the experience, but I love the flavors and textures of that stew with something creamier.
Asian-Spiced Turkey Meatballs
I didn't meet my maternal grandfather until I was 20 years old, and when I did, our facial similarity left me in awe. Here was this fragile, elderly man in his early 70s, rocking back and forth in a beat-up wicker chair. He was so adorable. He was so Chinese. I'd seen pictures of him while growing up but it didn't hit me until I embraced him in person: There is a visible Asian thread on both sides of my family, which I've never really explored. And though my father has always addressed my mother as "China" (little Chinese girl), a direct implication of her father, that culture sits very dormant in my life. These spicy, sweet and savory meatballs are a small way of acknowledging my mother's very authentic characteristic (and my paternal grandmother) and hopefully the beginning of a journey of delicious findings. They make a whimsical appetizer for any casual or elaborate meal. Make them a bit bigger, double the sauce and enjoy as your main protein for dinner!
Yields 28 small to medium meatballs
Spicy Sweet-and-Sour Sauce
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 g) packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp (28 ml) ketchup
2 tbsp (28 ml) soy sauce, regular or white
6 tbsp (90 ml) rice vinegar (seasoned is okay)
1 tbsp (8 g) ginger paste
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup (235 ml) water
1 tbsp (15 ml) hot sauce
4 tsp (11 g) cornstarch, plus 4 tbsp (60 ml) warm water
1 lb (455 g) ground turkey
½ white onion, finely minced
½ green bell pepper, finely minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1¼ cups (285 ml) spicy sweet-and-sour sauce (recipe precedes)
1 tbsp (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) milk
½ cup (35 g) crumbled soda crackers
1 tsp (6 g) salt
1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil
1 cup (235 ml) Herbed Chicken Stock (here), or store-bought
1 spring onion, diagonally sliced
Prepare the sweet-and-sour sauce: Add all of the sauce ingredients to a saucepan, in the order listed, except the cornstarch and warm water. Bring to a medium boil, stirring constantly. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and warm water to dissolve the starch. Slowly add the starch mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, gently stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to allow it to cool and form. This is going to be your seasoning base and sauce.
Prepare the meatballs: Place the turkey, onion, bell pepper, garlic, 1 cup (235 ml) of the sweet-and-sour sauce, the Worcestershire, milk, crumbled crackers and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Gently blend with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined. Chill for 30 minutes (optional).
Using your hands, shape the mixture into 1-inch (2.5-cm) round balls. Perfection is not necessary.
Heat the sesame and canola oils in the stovetop pressure cooker over low or use the sauté setting of the electric pressure cooker.
Gently place and arrange the meatballs in the cooker. Turn up the heat to medium for the stovetop pressure cooker or cancel cooking for the electric cooker (the residual heat will continue cooking the meatballs). Lightly brown the meatballs, about 2 minutes.
In a bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) of sweet-and-sour sauce and the stock to combine well. Evenly pour the sauce over the meatballs. Do not stir. Close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and set the timer for 10 minutes total. Cook over high heat until the pressure point has been reached, about 7 minutes. When the pressure is reached, lower the heat to medium and finish cooking for the remaining 3 minutes.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 12 minutes.
When done, remove from the heat or turn off the cooker and allow the pressure to release on its own (natural-release). If any pressure remains after 8 minutes, turn the valve to the auto-release position to finish. (Continues...)
Excerpted from Modern Pressure Cooking by Bren Herrera, Ken Goodman. Copyright © 2016 Bren Herrera. Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
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