Sunday, 21 November 2010

Stinchetti di Maiale Arrosto - Italian Pork Shanks adapted for the Pressure Cooker

The air has the cool bite to it.  Although I'm not thrilled with the prospect of several winter months ahead, it does inspire comfort food.  What better than slow cooked pork shanks.  Or, if you don't have time for the slow cooking, the perfect alternative is to do them in the pressure cooker.

I'm not familiar with the Italian name in the title, but had found this recipe and thought it would adapt well to the pressue cooker.  It reminds me a lot of my pork osso buco in the pressure cooker recipe but without the tomatos.  What I really like about this one is that you can use your bounty of fresh herbs from the garden (as long as you still have them).  In this case, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage. 

It's quite simple, you use pork shanks, trimmed of the thick skin and seasoned with salt and pepper. Brown them along with the rosemary.  Add veggies, wine, more herbs, bouillion.  Bring your pressure cooker to pressure and 25 minutes later you have a delicious comfort food dinner. 

Italian Pork Shanks - in the Pressure Cooker

4 meaty pork shanks, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 sprigs rosemary

1/2 cup dry white wine (pinot grigio)
1/2 cup chicken boullion
2 large carrots, 1/4" slice
1 stalk celery sliced
1 onion, diced
2-3 sage leaves
2 sprigs thyme, stem removed
1 small bunch parlsey, chopped

Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker.  Season the meat with salt and pepper then sear on all sides alongside the rosemary.  Remove the rosemary and add the remaining ingredients to the pot.  Secure the lid and bring to pressure, reduce heat enough to keep pressure.  Cook for 20 minutes and then let the pressure drop on its own. 

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Hearty Sausage and Beans in the Pressure Cooker

I love reading food magazines. In fact, I don't recycle each issue (unless its truly boring) but rather save them for re-reading in the same season each year (not in a hoarder sort of way, I do have limits).  So with fall upon us with all of its brilliant, leafy splendor, I pulled out my small stack of issues from seasons gone by.  In the Bon Appetit, October 2009 issue, I re-found several recipes that I immediately was compelled to dive into, but the one that took off was the White Beans with Sausage recipe.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly stated as it was one that requried several hours of time.  Instead I modified it and employed the pressure cooker to expedite the process. 

First I prepared the dried white beans suing a quick soak method by adding them to a lot of water and bringing them to pressure for two minutes followed by an hour of sitting to absorb.  Finally you drain them.

Meanwhile I prepared the sausage by browning it with garlic. 

I put the drained beans; sausage, garlic and drippings; along with red wine, canned tomatoes, more garlic, sage leaves, salt and pepper.  Brought it all back to pressure for 20 minutes, then let it drop pressure on its own. 

When I took off the  lid it smelled fantastic - spicy, homey, delectable.  The sausage didn't look as attractive as when it is when fully sauteed or roasted, but the taste was brilliant.  It's best meaty flabours came through along with the sage and garlic.  The beans and tomato sauce were also amazing and flavourful.  The beans I think would have been better (softer vs. al dente) if soaked overnight in traditional fashion, but still tasted great. 

Final  verdict:  comforting, tasty, great smell.

Hearty Sausage and Beans in the Pressure Cooker
adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2009

1/2 pound dried white beans
5 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil
3 links sweet Italian sausage
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup water

3 sage leaves
1/2 cup red wine (California merlot)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
14 oz canned diced tomatoes with their juice
1 tsp kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Prepare the beans using the fast method in the pressure cooker as described above or soak overnight.  Drain.

Prepare the sausage by sauteeing with the oil and garlic until browned, but not cooked.

Put the beans, sausage along with garlic and any browned bits, and remaining ingredients in the pressure cooker.  Bring to high pressure and let cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let reduce pressure on its own.

Serve with a crusty break for mopping up sauce.