By Cheryl Shaffer, Chef Instructor
Once again we find ourselves in the A&P kitchen on behalf of research, our insatiable thirst for knowledge, and a hungry belly. “Choose your catalyst wisely,” is the common thread throughout life, and I’m sure it’s also one of the driving forces behind creating new recipes and finding new ways to use the contents of our pantry to their best advantage, especially when our time is in short supply.
There have been some thrifty sales on roasts lately, so we stocked-up on a beef chuck roast and a beautiful rolled pork roast. Root vegetables are always a good bet for winter meals because they are readily available and store so well.
Canned broths or stocks and tasty sauces like the Allen & Petersen Family Pantry Picante Sabroso Apple Spread and Chipotle Apple Raspberry Sauce, as well as basic fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage should always be on hand to make a quick meal delicious.
I decided to use the Kuhn Rikon 8 qt. pressure cooker and see how quickly I could take the beef chuck roast from a gorgeous hunk of raw meat to a delectable, 'Not Your Mama’s Yankee Pot Roast' with the help of some vegetables, stock sauces and herbs and a little creative spark. Time to get to work…
I started with a 3 pound roast. I placed the pressure cooker pan on the stove, over medium high heat, and added about 1½ tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil was hot, (it should shimmer but not smoke on the surface), I added the roast, which I had salted and peppered on all sides.
I let the roast brown on all sides, then removed it to a platter to rest while I sautéed two red onions that I’d rough chopped, three celery ribs, cut on the diagonal, 2 cups of baby carrots, four large potatoes, cubed, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 2 jalapeno peppers*, one red bell pepper, roughly chopped and 4 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley.
*I crave spicy foods, so I leave the seeds and inner membrane in the peppers. If you like a little less heat, you can easily remove them before chopping the peppers.
Once the veggies are transparent, I put them into a bowl so that I could deglaze the pan and salvage all of the wonderful, caramelized bits.
I added one quart of vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar to the pan and allowed it to heat and with a little scraping, it picked-up all of the goodness on the bottom of the pan. I then added 2 tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and returned the meat to the pan.
I poured ½ of a 16 oz bottle of Chipotle Apple Raspberry Sauce over the roast, and topped it with the vegetables. I use the apple raspberry flavors because the pectin in the apples helps tenderize the meat, and raspberries pair beautifully with beef, giving a piquant, sweet flavor.
I minced 2 teaspoons each of fresh rosemary, thyme, dill weed and sage leaves - if using fresh herbs, remove the stems or woody pieces first - and added them to a teaspoon of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Add one cup of tap water, then place the cover on the pan and lock it into place. I adjusted the flame to medium and set my kitchen timer to 30 minutes.
After about 15 minutes, I noted that the first red line on the pressure top was exposed, which is how we usually gauge the time for vegetables. I figured I’d need about 15 more minutes, so I decided to make some hot water cornbread as a side dish, and to soak up the yummy juices. The cornbread is a family recipe - super easy - and a delicious alternative to making rolls or a loaf of fresh bread.
Hot Water Corn Bread
Heat 1” of vegetable oil in a cast iron pan, a heat it to 350’F. or until you see the shimmer on top of the oil.
1 cup of corn meal (I use yellow, but the white cornmeal is fine)
1 onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup of boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
Mixture will be sloppy. Use a 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop, (the OXO Good Grips worked nicely), to drop the cornbread mixture into the hot oil. It will flatten slightly, and should fry to a golden brown in just a few minutes, turning once. Drain on a cooling rack or paper towels.
- Note: if you have some bacon drippings saved in your refrigerator, from another recipe, you can add 2 teaspoons to the cornmeal mixture, prior to frying, for added flavor, or add crumbled bacon.
Ok… it’s been 30 minutes, the second red stripe on the pressure release lid is now visible, and it smells heavenly… time to put an extra long oven mitt on my hand, turn off the stove and gently lift the pressure button to release the steam inside the pressure cooker. This is a time to be extra diligent that your arms are well protected from the escaping steam. If you’re not in a hurry, you can simply remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool on it’s own, or use an ice bath. I’ve never been patient enough to wait that long, and of course, I’m cooking at meal time, so the family/ friends are HUNGRY NOW, especially because it smells so good!
Once the steam has released, the top can be turned and you have access to the delicious meal – all cooked in one pot, 60 minutes, including the prep time, start to finish. The only other clean up required is for your prep tools, and that makes you a ROCK STAR!
We had such rave results for the 'Not Your Mama’s Yankee Pot Roast', that we decided to try it with the rolled pork roast the next week, and substituted Picante Sabroso Apple Spread for the Chipotle Apple Raspberry Sauce, and Nappa Cabbage for the jalapenos, red peppers and we added a teaspoon of the J&D’s Applewood Smoked Bacon Salt. Otherwise, we had the same browning, cooking time and delicious results. The apple spread paired so beautifully with the pork, and the pressure cooking made the meat and vegetables fork-tender and so full of flavor - we used homemade rolls to get every drop of gravy from the bottom of our bowls!