JeffreyW plates up a good-looking Pot Roast Dinner
I love to cook in my pressure cooker – rice, beans, soups – they all get their start in my pressure cooker. But my favorite thing to do is that quick dinner that tastes like it’s been in the slow cooker all day, even though I completely forgot to even take the meat out to thaw.
My usual meal is to add about 1 cup of water to the pan, add a bunch of spices and herbs to the water, put the tray in and then layer halved potatoes, FROZEN skinless chicken breast or thighs (boneless or not, doesn’t change cooking time much), throw a couple of halved carrots on top and pressurize. Twenty minutes later, dinner is ready. The spices and herbs in the water infuse everything with flavor. It’s not as complex as roasted chicken, but for a quick dinner, it’s great.
Today I was wandering through the freezer, reorganizing to make room for holiday stuff and counting my bags of cranberries – which I stockpile in case there is a great cranberry shortage in the future. I pulled out a nice chuck roast I bought on sale a few weeks ago, half of which I used for the beef stew last week, half I tucked away for a nice pot roast dinner. I thought it would be nice to make tomorrow. Then I decided I wanted it today.
So I pulled out the pressure cooker. This would be a first, starting with a frozen roast. It was either going to work or I was going to end up with one tough piece of beef. But I wouldn’t know if I didn’t give it try. (I do these things so you don’t have to).
I put the roast on the tray, poured a little bourbon over it (since it worked so well with the beef stew) added water, bay leaf, salt, pepper, onion, halved potatoes and carrots. I pressurized it for 55 minutes. I was guessing at the time because I wasn’t sure with it frozen how much extra time I should add.
At the 55 minute mark, I turned off the heat and let it depressurize slowly (instead of cold bath method). When I opened it, the beef was perfect. Again, the flavor was not as complex as if I had been able to brown it ahead of time. But it was tender and moist.
The carrots and potatoes were good, although if I did it again, I would probably add them at the twenty or thirty minute mark and re-pressurize for another twenty minutes.
So I’ll mark this down as a win and know that if I need a quick dinner, I can put pot roast on the list of recipes that will go from frozen to dinner in an hour.
Mmm… chili! I’m convinced this is the only way to prepare chili: Chop up a beef roast, add pork, onions, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, chili sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, anchovy paste, fish sauce, salt, and whatever else that looks appropriate because I’m sure my list isn’t exhaustive. Let all that marinate over night and cook it with more onions and chopped peppers before adding beans and more of whatever it needs in the way of chili powders and garlic. This batch has minced bell peppers and a couple of jalapenos and is relatively mild. Serranos or habaneros will up the heat to suit a more jaded palate.It’s hard to beat a decent ribeye. Easy to cook and easy to eat. We’ve taken to roasting potato halves cut side down with olive oil and kosher salt.Here’s Homer! He thinks he’s a dog. Yet to catch a mole but not for lack of effort. I have to say, we have plenty of moles for everyone to chase. Jack is a champion mole catcher and Annie lends a hand. I just wish they would fill the holes back up.Usually I make chili mac with plain boiled pasta but this time I ladled the chili over mac ‘n cheese. I like these new dishes.Mrs J has just organized a dog walk and the crew charges out into the yard, eager to see what’s new. First stop is always the spot where she dumps corn and sunflower seeds – there are always new scents to savor.I’m going to throw this up again, just because. The shutter has tripped for some reason during that period where the light is low enough that the camera sensor has switched to night IR mode but there is still plenty to illuminate the whole scene.Burritos! These are filled with roast pork, refried beans, and cheddar cheese. We like burritos, they make an easy meal out of leftovers of all kinds – just about anything you can wrap a tortilla around.
I’ve been on a fruit salad kick. Lots of fresh fruit at the market this time of year. Grapes are a mainstay, I use both red and green grapes and I like to cut them in half unless they are really tiny. Seedless grapes are easier but I have spent a lot of time scraping seeds away when those aren’t available. Also in this one are pears, peaches, kiwis, pineapple, oranges, and bananas.
Kitteh! Here’s a 3 month old male. Mrs J says they named him Diti but she will not swear to the spelling. D. T.? DeeTee? Ditty?Mmm… cheeseburger. This one has Swiss cheese and a pile of pickled peppers.More of those roasted rosemary Parmesan potatoes. These are Yukon Golds and they are plated with sesame green beans and a piece of roasted chicken.Moar Kitteh! This is Kaitlyn, an 8 week old female with interesting coloration, a tabby/calico look.That’s Kaitlyn there – right up against the blue watchband on this kitten house staffer. They call that staffer “the cat whisperer” because she can really get a feral cat calmed down and purring.Country ribs and fries. I have my best luck with these pork “logs” when I braise them, covered, in a low oven, say 225 to 250. I use broth as the braising liquid, adding bbq sauce at the end and uncovering them to help reduce the sauce. These were finished on the outside grill but they can be done under a broiler – watch them close so they don’t char.Here’s another cheeseburger, this one is garnished with some of those refrigerator pickles. On the side is one of my favorite summer salads of tomatoes and cucumbers with onions in a vinaigrette. It’s better the next day but isn’t bad when freshly made like this one.
Mmm… rib eye steak with rosemary potatoes fried in duck fat, and stir fried asparagus. This is about the fifth best photo of this platter but all of the better angles revealed a (gasp!) hair. It’s still there in this one but the light doesn’t catch it in quite the same manner and it’s not something you would find without some advance notice and some scrutiny at a higher magnification. Of the three entrees the potatoes took the longest to cook. Some recipes call for them to be par-boiled but I went with a straight up skillet fry.The asparagus we had with the steak came in a sizable bunch so I kept some back and used it this morning in a frittata/omelet with a sliced onion and a bit of ham. Mrs J took a portion of orange chicken and rice to work with her the other day but brought it back because they had a spread laid out for lunch.The leftovers were perfect for a nice fried rice dish – this one has bacon, peas, green onions, and an egg added to the plain rice with a splash of oyster sauce and soy.St Francis is in the middle of moving out of the old house that the shelter was established in and into their new building. They’ve been saving up for a while and doing sales and auctions and hitting up local animal lovers for cash, the new headquarters is nearly half paid for already but they could always use more help.Mrs J says they aren’t quite done with the finish work in the kitteh section of the new digs but these may be the last pictures taken of cats in the old house. They are taking bids for the demolition. It really was falling down around them.We’ll have photos of the new place soon-ish.