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Multi-Pot Recipes: Beef and Barley Soup

Yummy photo by the great JeffreyW

I have used my Multi-Pot consistently for the last few weeks. I made two batches of soup, pulled pork, pasta sauce and two batches of rice. The first batch of rice I was all cocky and used the simple pressure cooker setting and my own time – because you know, I’m the Queen of Pressure Cooking – well, that didn’t turn out very well. I mean, it was great sticky rice, but I was going for light and fluffy. So the next batch I used the Rice Button! I mean, come on, a pot you can just push RICE and 10 minutes later have fluffy rice – why was I fighting it??

The buttons on this brand are easy and intuitive to use. It does help that I’m familiar with what times work well with my stove top cooker and there are good resources in the booklets that came with the machine to help pick timing.

My first batch of soup was to make Beef with Barley Soup:

I used this recipe (click here). I was excited to try out the browning feature and the pressure cooking setting.

I quickly and easily sauteed the onions and browned the beef with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then added the remainder of the ingredients, sealed it shut and turned it to the Meat/Stew setting and set it for 30 minutes.

It took it 10 minutes to come to pressure – which didn’t surprise me because I filled it to the highest mark allowed.

The soup was delicious – I could easily leave it on warm, open the lid and let sit and fill the house with yummy soup smells as long as I desired.  It was good and tasty. And clean up was a breeze – just tossed the insert into the dishwasher.

The one part of this electric pressure cooker that has been a learning curve for me is the quick -release method. I am so used to taking the pot over to the sink and running cold water over the top. With this, they say to just turn the pressure valve to open. Which sounds easy-peasy.  EXCEPT it spews greasy, starchy steam all over my kitchen cabinets.

The solution is fairly simple – I grabbed an old kitchen towel and cover the valve with that as it releases. Takes a bit longer, but no mess and no risk of a scary steam burn.

So for this recipe, I’d give the Multi-Pot a solid A.

I know, I know I promised a puppy update…give me a few minutes. Until then…



Multi-Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

I finally got my new pressure cooker/slow cooker. I was going to get the Instant Pot, but every time I went to order it, it was back ordered. Then I stumbled on the Multi-Pot and it had all the features I was looking for – stainless steel insert, steaming rack and stackable pot to cook two items at once. It also came with some fun accessories – silicone mitts, which I found invaluable, and utensils.

Operation is very intuitive, so I’ve barely opened the instruction manual, so that was a plus and it comes with a link to a website with hundreds of recipes. My thought going forward is that I will try out a recipe a week, rate it and offer my tweaks.

We’ll have to see if I’m able to maintain that…so far I’ve made beef and barley soup, rice, chicken tortilla soup and used the slow-cooker for pasta sauce which was waiting for us when we got back from the “Ice Castle” adventure up in the mountains last night. I’ll share a few of those photos later. Until then…


InstaPot Moroccan Chicken

This was pretty good.  I wanted to do something in the Instant Pot with a whole chicken I bought the other day. (Those poultry shears worked great.)  I liked this recipe when I skimmed it for ingredients, pretty much everything it called for I had on hand.  Subbed regular raisins for the golden kind, and used green olives instead of ripe, and added turmeric to the spice mix, maybe 1/2 tsp.

The couscous was from a box mix with a packet of garlic powder and other spices, it worked pretty well and was in keeping with the Mediterranean feel of the dinner.  They eat broccoli in Morocco?  Well, I like broccoli.

Pressure Cooker Beans

I was hit with a need for lima beans and cornbread and didn’t want to wait overnight to soak them properly so I turned to the pressure cooker.  I cheated a little – bringing them to a boil and then resting them for an hour before sealing the pot and giving them 40 more minutes under pressure.

Plenty of comment on the best method for pressure cooking dry beans, I saw many mentions of exploded looking beans from letting off the pressure too quickly along with a few predictions of foaming and overflow unless you add a little vegetable oil to the beans or fill the pot only half full, or less.  Many sites have time tables for cooking various beans, I’ve found that my tastes run towards adding a little time to most everyone’s recommendations.

Mine turned out mostly OK, they may have only needed 30 minutes given their head start.The buttermilk cornbread turned out pretty good though the bottom scorched a bit while on the stove top waiting for the toaster oven to come to temp.  I like to pour the batter into a hot skillet to give it a proper crust, got distracted rinsing out the bowls and let it go a wee bit long on high.  Two of the burners on the new stove put out much more heat than any of the burners on the previous range and I’m still adjusting.

Pressure Cooker Italian Beef

It’s just like crockpot Italian beef, only faster.  I’m liking my Instapot cooker more and more.  It’s the only way I make stock these days – just pile in the bones and odds and ends of celery and carrots and what-not with water and give it an hour on the timer and you’re golden.

Anyway back to the beef – sear a good chunk of that on sale chuck or what have you, cover it with some of your stock, add a couple of coarsely chopped onions, a handful of garlic, Italian seasonings (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley), and a jar of pickled pepperoncini.  The peppers are not as important as the juice.  You can add some red pepper flake to spice it up.  I set the timer for 75 minutes – it was easily shreddable when done,I baked some rolls to go with the beef.  I’ve been using the reliable KA bun recipe for several years now.  My hamburger buns usually turn out better looking than these hoagie type rolls but I’m working on that.Bonus Bea pic!

Butter Beans

These went from dry to done in just a couple of hours thanks to the Instant Pot pressure cooker.  It probably could have been done quicker but I was a little leery of the cooking tables.  I have a vague memory of being disappointed in some pintos I cooked following their data.  I decided to simmer them for an hour then give them an hour in the cooker.  They cooked in chicken stock with a chopped onion, bay leaves, pepper, salt, dried thyme, and a couple chunks of cured ham.


Just a reminder for those with an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker – you can make a nice stock out of those chicken bones you are saving.I set it for an hour and that seems sufficient.  The Food Lab has much more!

Pork Belly with Pickled Mustard Greens

Most days we watch cooking shows while having lunch or dinner.  I DVR shows so I can skip the commercials during playback.  This dish caught my eye so I grabbed a notepad to scribble down the ingredients:

  • pork belly
  • brown sugar
  • mushroom soy sauce
  • black bean sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • sliced ginger root
  • chopped green onions
  • chopped white onion
  • minced garlic
  • fermented black beans
  • sesame oil
  • pickled mustard greens

There will be no measurements.  I used about 1-1/2 pounds of pork belly cut into one inch cubes and pretty much eye-balled the rest of it,  I started the video from the top and added the ingredients in the same order as the TV chef, a Jamaican with Chinese ancestry.  His answers, when prompted for amounts by the host, were either “this much” or “that much there”.

The chef was asked how long will this simmer on your stove-top, but I couldn’t make out his reply.  I think he said “till it’s done”.I was going to be making it in the Instapot pressure cooker so I set it for an hour.

The mustard green were added after the pork belly had cooked down.These came from the International Grocery, a store in a nearby college town.  I was pretty sure they would have them, but I looked in the canned veggie section to no avail.  I asked for help.  The store clerk went right to them, they are in sealed plastic bags, he mentioned that they were very sour and needed a good soaking with changes of water so I started the soak the first thing. I also picked up the mushroom soy sauce and the black bean ingredients while there.  Handy store!Chop the greens and add them to the pot after it cools down enough to open.  I also thickened this the same way as the chef – a slurry of corn starch.  When I make this again I will back off on the on the added water.

The TV show was “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on the food network.  The info for the episode said it was from season 4, episode 6, first aired 09/05/08.  Alas, a search of the Food Network’s web page didn’t yield agreement, it says the the episode “A Taste of Everywhere” was from season 4, episode 7.  Clicking on that episode link was no help in finding the recipe.

A  Google search for recipes turned up numerous variations, most of them mentioned par-boiling the pork belly.  There wasn’t any mention of that on the show but it may have been edited out.  I went ahead and did it before cubing the belly:

Next time I’ll cube it first and boil it a little longer, that should reduce the fat a little in the end result.


Whoo Boy!  We got some rain last night, the thunder seemed constant all night long.  Bitsy just crawled out from underneath the sofa a few minutes ago.Here’s Gabe and Homer Kitteh messing about by the pond a couple of days ago.  It’s been down a little all winter long, several inches below the overflow pipe.  I haven’t looked this morning yet but it has to be up close, now.I’ve found that using a can of refried beans in my chili recipe really adds some body to it.  I used refried black beans in this but the regular refries from pinto beans should work fine.I’ve been making gravy from the chicken fat captured when I roast a chicken beer-butt style:I pour off the fat (and the water I’ve added to the pan) and refrigerate it to make separating the fat easy.  Make a roux of the fat and flour then add stock to make gravy.  You can also add milk to make it creamy but I don’t except when making it for a pot pie.  We eat half the chicken the first go, then bone the rest for later.  The carcass goes into the pressure cooker to make a stock, takes an hour at pressure rather than all day on the stove-top.Kittehs!  There are a couple of brand new momma cats at the shelter, they were brought in pregnant.  The shelter will eventually spay her but the kittehs have to be weaned first.  Mrs J says 6 to 8 weeks is normal.Rib steaks!  Sous vide is the killer app for steaks.  These spend the afternoon at 138 degrees in their vacuum sealed bags.  Kroger sells whole slabs of these, I slice and bag them with salt and pepper and then freeze.  They go right into the hot bath frozen.Another batch of cuties!  Mrs J says they had to open the overflow kitten room because they have too many right now for the dedicated kitteh nursery.

Leg of Lamb

20160410_132001I brought up a leg of lamb from the basement freezer and decided to go the pressure cooker route.  It was a little over 4 pounds and fit nicely in the Instapot.  I added 2 cups of broth and dusted the leg with a spice mix made up of garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, salt and pepper, and set the timer for 65 minutes per the table in Bob Warden’s cookbook (45 minutes plus 20 for frozen).  Needing thin slices for a gyro, I cut them from the cooked roast and browned them in oil in a skillet, dusting them with more of the spice mix.20160410_133147_HDRThat HDR software works pretty well on gyros, too!  I used fresh dill in the tzatziki this time, and a squeeze of honey, otherwise it’s the basic Alton Brown recipe (sans mint).