Saturday, October 22, 2011

OMG Paula, Butternut Squash Risotto in 7 minutes FLAT.

I love my friend Paula, she is smart, beautiful and fun to be with. She looks like this Modigliani painting. She also likes to eat. I love people who love to eat. Paula's cutie pie daughter and my daughter like to play together so we decided that we would cook together and the kids would play. Paula bought  a gorgeous Mistyknoll chicken that she roasted to perfection.

I was in charge of the starch. Now don't think-geesh, this is going to end up being a pressure cooker blog and I might as well just stop reading it right here-I promise I have a whole host of cooking experiences to share beyond the pressure cooker. What you ask? Well that would just be cheating, wouldn't it, for me to tell you in this post? Come back and I'll tell ya.
 Back to the starch. Yes, this is going to be 7 minute risotto in the pressure cooker. A RISOTTO IN 7 MINUTES, I mean how can I NOT write about that? Especially since it is a Butternut Squash Risotto with Fried Sage Leaves, OMG!
If you are going to get a pressure cooker, I recommend buying two books: Pressure Cookers for Dummies (no really I am serious, its a great book) and  Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Dianne Phillips.

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto
Adapted from Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Diane Phillips
4 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 leek (I added this because I had it and why not)
2 cups chopped butternut Squash
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice (she suggests Carnaroli or Vialone Nana but I have never seen them ANY WHERE so Arborio it is!)
1/2 cup of Paula's Pinot Grigio so she can have a glass and not feel guilty about cracking the bottle open without her husband around.
3 1/2 cup homemade pressure cooker chicken stock or box chicken broth
Some more butter to fry the sage in.
1/4 cup packed fresh Sage Leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.
Isn't that a beautiful squash? I grew that squash. Smooch! Its that beautful!

Prep your veggies. I only ended up using 1/2 the butternut squash.

Get your cheese grated.

Arborio rice, none of that fancy smancy rice for us.

Get your pressure cooker on the stove and pop the butter into it. Melt it down.
Add your onion and leek, saute for a few minutes. 

Add your squash and rice and mix so everything is oniony and leeky. Haha, that tickled my funny bone. I know I am a geek.
Add your chicken broth/stock.

Don't forget the wine. Very important. 
Now seal that sucker up and fire her up.
And once again my camera is trying to protect you from the steam and not taking the shot. Anyway, there will be pressure as indicated by the yellow button popping up and steam like a tea kettle without the whistle. Turn down the burner if you have a gas stove or  move it to a burner that is on medium if you have an electric. Start timing! 7 minutes. 
Once the 7 minutes is up you are going to take the pot off the burner and move the dial to do a quick release. Let me remind you that steam is HOT. It is not time for a facial people, look away from the steaming pot show. Once the pressure is totally released the yellow button will fall. 
In the meantime, get a gander at the glorious Sage  Paula grew.

Slap some butter in a frying pan and fry up that Sage.

Doesn't that look great? 
You are going to need the fried Sage for the topper. Really! It is the secret ingredient. Okay now open the pressure cooker now that its safe.
NO I am not lying. This happened in 7 minutes. But wait! Its not finished. You need the cheese.
Pour it in.

Mix it up and add some sea salt and pepper.

There she is! You never met anyone who could get so beautiful so fast.

Except for a Pressure Cooker risotto baby!

Paula and I ate far to much but we were able to work it off hiking through the Haunted Forest. Luckily my peanut the Viking was able to fend off marauding ghouls with her sword. My mantra was "watch the sword, please watch the sword" to the actors as she was yelling "I have a sword and I am not afraid to use it!" By the way, she didn't try the risotto. She is a chicken eating Viking.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Be not Afraid said the Kitchen Gods.

I love my pressure cooker. Oh stop, do you think that progress has marched on in cookery but stood still for pressure cookers? Do you think my dear readers that I would encourage you to use a pressure cooker so I could hear all about how the roof blew off your house on the Hiawatha Playground when you made pea soup?
Seriously, a pressure cooker is a wondrous tool, used everywhere in the world, sometimes several at a time except in the good ol' USA. You can make a risotto is 7 minutes FLAT. Without stirring! Soup Stocks richer then Warren Buffett, in about 45 minutes while you hang out and read the New York Times. Beans, tons and tons of beans, black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas can all be made in the pressure cooker in a snap without all the sodium and that cancer causing crap that is coating the inside of the tin that is suppose to make your life easier. DO NOT ASK FOR YOUR MOM"S PRESSURE COOKER, or for your grandma's either. Those are the ones that blew up. Get yourself a new one with all the fancy safety features. You will feel better and so will I.
Okay, lets get on with the recipe at hand. Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock. Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock will be now referred to as PCCS since I don't want to have to spell it out. PCCS is a good excuse to clean out your crisper of all that stuff that is about to go bad and you really aren't sure what to do with. And since your kids are onto you about recycling, you can do the ultimate recycle and use the chicken carcass from last night's dinner which is what I did. I tend to save up chicken carcasses, backs, necks, wings  etc and freeze them so I can make stock.
I have a ton of veggies in the frig from my last two CSA pick-ups so I decided to use them all in my stock.
What you see here is a chicken carcass, garlic, onion, 2 tomatoes that are about to go bad, a leek, a red pepper that is on its way out, arugula, leftover salad greens, celeriac, carrots, parsnips and some parsley. All grown here in Westford at Bread and Roses Farm. The chicken has been raised the old fashion way, with yard, grubs, bugs, feed and other animals at Tamarack Hollow Farm. That was one happy chicken when it was alive and it definitely tastes happy. I love buying meat at the Burlington Farmers Market from Tamarack Hollow Farm because Mike Betit is a bit of a curmudgeon. He doesn't try to be all warm and fuzzy because the man is TIRED and he is trying to sell his meat and he rather be with the animals then with you. Maybe that is why his meat tastes so good, because he likes them much better then you.
Back to the PCCS, the best thing about stock is that you don't have to get fancy with your cutting.
Onions, leave the skin on. It helps the color and richness of the soup.
Same with the garlic. No need to get labor intensive.
I do peel my celeriac because its gnarly and can hid dirt.

I am assuming that you will wash all your veggies prior to chopping but you don't have to peel them. Whoohoo! More time for you!

I don't get crazy chopping the greens but if you so desire, get your aggression out.

Put a few glugs of olive oil in the bottom of your pressure cooker and add all your veggies and the chicken carcass in no particular order.
Add 8 cups of water.

Add peppercorns and salt if you want to, I don't add salt until after its cooked and drained but do what suits you.
That's the money shot. Now for the explicit directions on how to close your pressure cooker.
Every cooker has a gasket in the lid. Make sure yours is in correctly and then lock your lid into place by sliding the handles together.
Like so.           
Slide the green button up to lock into place.
Turn the dial at the top to the closed valve (depicted on mine by the little pan). Your pressure cooker is now locked up tight. It will not explode.

I have an electric range top so I turn on two burners. The first is on high so that the pressure can build quickly. Once you have reached pressure, you want to keep it consistent so I switch it over to the medium heat burner. If you have a gas stove (lucky you!) you can just turn it down on the same burner.
You will know it reached pressure because this little yellow button will pop up and a steady stream of steam (like a tea kettle but without the whistle) will come out of your vent. You want the button to stay up the whole cooking time.
I attempted to show you the steam but my camera refused to take the shot for fear of intimidating you. Seriously it really is like tea kettle steam. 
 Set your timer for 45 minutes and go get your book or magazine.

Once your buzzer goes off, take the pot off the burner. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO OPEN! Really, I don't think that Fletcher Allen Healthcare is qualified to do face transplants. The yellow button will look like this:

You will allow the pressure to drop naturally. Which means you leave the pot on the stove locked into place until the button looks like this:
Then you can open that sucker up. Slide the green button down and twist the handle/cover off. Don't hover over it. As I said, Fletcher Allen Healthcare is not qualified to fix your face. 
This is what you will see. Get out your colander and  strain the solids out. You can compost them if you chose to or throw them out.
This is the result. I know, crazy rich in 45 minutes.
You can put it in the frig to cool it and skim off the fat if you choose to but lets face it, chicken fat is Jewish penicillin if you have an old fashion chicken so why not keep it. Its valuable stuff. Happy pastured chickens don't have much fat in them anyhow.

So go forth with said pressure cooker and make your life easier. I will from time to time post a recipe for it.