17 January 2019

Pressure Cooker Beef Stew - Instant Pot

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Beef Stew / www.delightfulrepast.com

I know what you’re saying: “Beef stew? Didn’t she just post Beef Stew last month?” Yes, but that was Slow Cooker Beef Stew. This is Pressure Cooker Beef Stew. 

Beef Stew is the first thing I made when I finally succumbed to all the hype and got an Instant Pot. But I made Slow Cooker Beef Stew, using the Instant Pot in its slow cooker mode, which is really what I bought it for. It was fabulous!

Then I decided to try it out in pressure cooker mode. I wasn’t entirely happy with the result. I tried not browning the meat as an added timesaver, but browning adds flavor, so I added back that step the second time around. 

And I shortened the cooking time on this second batch. Went from 35 to 30 minutes, and next time I’ll try 25 minutes. I cut the beef into much larger chunks this time, as the typical size pieces all but disappeared that first time.

It’s always better to buy a 3-pound (or so) piece of chuck and trim and cut it up yourself, as I did this time and usually do. Packaged “stew meat” simply disappears in the pressure cooker. If you have a good sharp knife, you won’t have any problem. 

I’ve come up with two ways to cut down on grease splattering during the meat browning in Saute mode. The first way, shown in my Slow Cooker Beef Stew post is fine if the second way isn’t an option for you. The second way works with your range hood/extractor fan.


Pressure Cooker Beef Stew - this photo shows how to save your kitchen from grease spatters when you saute in an Instant Pot or other countertop appliance / www.delightfulrepast.com
Protect your kitchen from grease spatters when you saute in your Instant Pot or other countertop appliance by setting the appliance on your stovetop to take advantage of your range hood/extractor fan.


This recipe serves six OR makes three meals-for-two, so I immediately divided it into three and popped one in the freezer for a future meal. We love having a stash of homemade freezer meals.

If you're new to Instant Pot cooking, you'll like the detailed instructions included in my recipe. If you haven't yet jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon but are contemplating it …

My "verdict," so far, is: I don't think I really need a pressure cooker and will probably use my Instant Pot as a slow cooker most often. It's the only multi-cooker slow cooker I've found with a stainless steel cooking pot.

As I get more proficient with the Instant Pot pressure cooker, I’ll come back here and make updates to this post. And if you have any hot tips for new Instant Pot users, do let me know. 


Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Beef Stew / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Pressure Cooker Beef Stew


(Serves 6)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2.75 pounds (1.25 kg) 2-inch cubes of well-trimmed lean beef chuck
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces/35 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, divided
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/473 ml) chicken broth or water, divided
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces/680 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots (12 ounces/340 grams), peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch slices
3 stalks celery (6 ounces/170 grams), sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1/2 large onion, coarsely chopped (6 ounces/170 grams—about 3/4 cup)
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
4 to 5 tablespoons (half a 6-ounce can) tomato paste

Slurry of 1/4 cup (1.25 ounces/35 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) water
Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or 1 cup of frozen peas

Note: Some Instant Pot and slow cooker users have told me they don’t bother to brown any meats, they just throw the meat in with all the other ingredients. But I’ve never been happy skipping that step, and I brown the 2.75 pounds of beef in three batches.

1 Plug in the Instant Pot. Select the Saute program. Leave the indicator on Normal temperature. When the word Hot appears on the display, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the stainless steel cooking pot of the Instant Pot. 

2 Put the flour on a dinner plate. Dry the beef cubes a batch at a time with paper towel and dredge lightly in the flour, add to hot oil and brown very well in single layer, sprinkling with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Transfer browned beef to a bowl. Repeat twice, adding 1/2 tablespoon of oil each time.

3 Deglaze the cooking pot with 1/2 cup of the broth or water or drinkable dry red wine. Press the Cancel key. Add the beef back to the Instant Pot, along with all remaining ingredients except the slurry and garnish. 

4 Put the lid in place and turn the steam valve to Sealing. Attach the condensation cup to the back of the unit. Plug in the Instant Pot. Press the Pressure Cook key. Leave the indicator on High Pressure and change the cooking time to 25 minutes.

Note: It took 25 minutes to reach working pressure. This varies with the amount and temperature of the ingredients in the pot. 

5 Allow the pressure to release naturally until the float valve drops down. 

Note: This took 42 minutes. It can take 10 to 40 minutes or more, depending on the amount of food in the cooker.

6 When the float valve drops down, press Cancel (display will read OFF, indicating the cooker is in standby mode) and open the lid.

7 Shake together flour and water until mixture is smooth. Stir the smooth slurry into the stew, taste and adjust seasoning; press Saute and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to thicken. Remove bay leaf, and sprinkle on parsley or stir in frozen peas.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

10 January 2019

Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert

Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert (Remember impossible pie?) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Magical Coconut Pie popped into my head the other day because I needed a quick and easy, but “from scratch,” dessert. I've been cooking way too much lately. Our favorite restaurants and takeaway places are going to forget who we are! 

Unlike some of my historical foods that are hundreds of years old, this one is just “retro” or “vintage” since it’s from the 1970s. Anyone who grew up, or cooked, in the 1970s might remember Impossible Pies, so called because they formed their own crust (not really) while baking. 

They were made with Bisquick, which we never had in our house because my mother never used mixes of any kind. I still don't. So several years ago when I had some extra organic coconut on my hands, I came up with my “from scratch,” organic version. 

This "pie" puffs way up while it's cooking and then shrinks down as it cools. So I like to set it on a baking sheet “just in case.” Nobody wants to clean up a burnt-on mess from the bottom of their oven less than I do!

What is your favorite quick and easy from-scratch dessert to make when you just don't have the time or energy to get too carried away? Of course, if you have more time you can make my Coconut Cream Pie.


Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert (Remember impossible pie?) / www.delightfulrepast.com


Magical Coconut Pie 

(Makes one 9.5-inch/24 cm deep-dish pie, 8 servings) 

1/2 to 3/4 cup (3.5 to 5.25 ounces/99 to 149 grams) sugar
1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 1/2 cups (20 fluid ounces/591 ml) milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract



1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Spray a 9.5-inch/24 cm glass deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray. Set it on a baking sheet if you’re worried about oven spills.

Note: Don’t try to use a standard 9-inch pie plate; it will not hold this amount. For that size, you can make my original 9-inch Magical Coconut Pie.

Magical Coconut Pie - A Quick and Easy Retro Dessert (Remember impossible pie?) / www.delightfulrepast.com
I know, it looks like a Pyrex farm. I'm the Pyrex queen!

2 In medium bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure), whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. Add eggs, butter, milk and extracts; whisk until thoroughly combined (I whisked vigorously for about 30 seconds). 

3 Pour into prepared pie plate. Bake about 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and set. If it has just a bit of a jiggle, it will firm up nicely as it cools. 

4 Let cool to room temperature before cutting and serving or refrigerating. Serve with some barely sweetened whipped cream.


Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

03 January 2019

Guildford Manchets - A British Historical "Receipt" (Recipe)

Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com

A few weeks ago my heart was in southwest England, and I made Devon Flats. This week it moved over to the southeast, Surrey to be precise, and I made Guildford Manchets (pronounced man-chits).

Guildford Manchets are pastry-like bread rolls that date from Medieval times in Guildford, Surrey. They are flaky, buttery rolls that make a perfect continental breakfast or fit in at the finest dinner party. 

It makes me so happy to find an old ‘receipt’ (recipe) with directions like “Make the bread dough in the usual way” and imprecise (or sometimes no) measurements and turn it into something my dear readers can easily do.


Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com


I found this one at Foods of England and couldn’t resist. I didn’t have any lard on hand and didn’t want to buy a pound of organic lard for the 1 ounce called for, so I used organic unsalted butter, which also makes the recipe vegetarian.

And, of course, bakers didn’t have instant yeast back in the Middle Ages. But I didn’t want to trouble any of my craft beer brewing friends for a bit of barm from the top of their vats, so I “made do” with store-bought yeast.

I love historical cooking, but only when it’s good! These are some seriously good rolls, and I hope you’ll try my updated version soon.


Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com


Guildford Manchets


(Makes 16)

1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces/142 grams) unsalted butter, divided
3 dip-and-sweep cups (15 ounces/425 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) salt

1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) milk and water, about the same amount of each, room temperature

Egg Wash: 1 large egg, 1 tablespoon water, pinch of salt*


* The egg wash “goes far” so there is lots left over; I just stuck it in the microwave for under a minute and had a scrambled egg snack so as not to waste that good organic egg--I hate food waste!

1 Take the butter out of the refrigerator. In a tiny bowl, melt 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) of the butter; let cool slightly. Put the remaining butter in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature until needed. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, and pour the melted butter, milk and water into it, stirring to form dough. It might look like you need more liquid, but knead lightly with one hand, right in the bowl, to bring the dough together.

2 Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. Use only as much flour as you need to keep dough from sticking to the counter (I measure out 1/8 cup in advance to work from so that I'm sure to not add too much) . The dough will feel sticky, but it won't actually stick. Place flattened ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure so I can quickly see when it has doubled) and cover loosely with lightly oiled lid or plastic wrap (no need to oil lid or plastic wrap if container is large enough that the doubled dough won't reach it). Let rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Note: Rising time will vary with the temperature. We keep a rather cool house, which makes for a slower rise.

Guildford Manchets (Rolls) - A British Historical Recipe (this photo of the dough after first rise and the creamed butter)  / www.delightfulrepast.com


3 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cream the room temperature butter. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface. Press and roll it out to a 16x8-inch/40x20 cm rectangle about 1/2 inch/1 cm thick. 


4 With short edge facing you, spread the butter over two-thirds of the rectangle. Fold the unbuttered third over the middle third, and then fold the remaining third over that. Pinch the edges to seal. Roll the dough again to the same size rectangle and fold. Repeat two more times.

5 Roll out the dough a final time into an 11-inch square. Cut the square of dough into 16 equal pieces. To shape the buns, take a square of dough and turn its corners under into the center, pressing down to seal, and form a round, flat bun. Place buns on a greased or parchment-lined 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

6 Preheat oven to 400F/200C/Gas6. When buns have risen and are ready to go into the oven, whisk together the egg wash and brush it on the tops of the rolls. Bake them for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: They keep well stored tightly covered at room temperature for a few days. Reheat loosely wrapped in foil for about 8 or 10 minutes in preheated 350F/180C/Gas4 oven.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

27 December 2018

Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges

Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com

I was craving cranberries and got the idea of combining them with apples in a clafoutis (pronounced cla-foo-TEE). Though some say it’s not a true clafoutis unless it’s made with cherries. Well, this isn’t cherry season, so … 

I suppose, technically speaking, my concoction is really a flaugnarde (pronounced flo-nyard). But Julia Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, just called all the variations clafoutis; and that is good enough for me.

If you’ve not had clafoutis, you might be surprised by the texture. Not a cake, not a custard, perhaps something in between? The simple French dessert is basically a thin crepe batter poured over fruit and baked in the oven.


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com


It’s such an easy dessert, but let me tell you, it could have been a disaster! You can use any shape dish you like, but I wanted to make it round (because, like Jacques Pepin, I think clafoutis should be cut in wedges) and narrowed it down to two dishes: a vintage Le Creuset enameled cast iron and a Pyrex.

I went with the latter, for no particular reason.

You can use one of two methods: Put the fruit and all the batter into the buttered dish before it goes into the oven or lightly bake a thin layer of the batter before adding the fruit and the rest of the batter.

I went with the latter because it’s supposed to make for tidier slicing and serving.

It wasn’t until I pulled the dish out of the oven with its lightly baked thin layer that the light bulb went on. You can’t add cold fruit and cold liquid to a hot glass dish! So I grabbed the Le Creuset and transferred that layer into it. Whew! That could have been a disaster!

It might have worked. Since the fruit and batter were actually room temperature rather than cold, perhaps the thermal shock wouldn’t have been quite shocking enough to break the glass, but I didn’t want to risk it. Anyway … 

The clafoutis was delicious, but I just had to make another one to see if that extra step of baking a thin layer of batter was really worth the trouble. And I used the Pyrex dish, for variety.

The verdict? No, that extra step is not worth the trouble. The second clafoutis, with all the batter going in at once, seemed to form its own little “self-crusting” layer. 


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis


(Makes 6 to 8 servings)

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams) cranberries, washed and dried
1 cup (about 4 ounces/113 grams) diced, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith or other good baking apples, peeled or unpeeled 
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 dip-and-sweep cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (10 fluid ounces/296 ml) milk
Garnish: powdered sugar

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Butter a 2-inch/5 cm deep 8-inch/20 cm round baking dish* with the 1/2 tablespoon softened butter. In a small dish, melt the tablespoon of butter and leave to cool slightly.

* I just learned this item is no longer made by Pyrex and can only be found on the vintage market. I think what would be even better, ideal, for this dish is the Pyrex Easy Grab 9.5-Inch Deep Dish Pie Plate, and I plan to order one.

2 Spread cranberries and apple cubes in prepared dish in a single layer. Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the fruit, holding back 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on the top.


Cranberry-Apple Clafoutis - Clafoutis aux Pommes et Canneberges / www.delightfulrepast.com
This photo shows why I decided to hold back a tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar to sprinkle on the top before baking. See how crackly and pretty it is. Also, for this one, I cut the apples into smaller 1/3-inch dice. Either way, 1/2-inch or 1/3-inch, is good.

3 In a 1-quart glass measure, whisk together the eggs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter, brandy, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk in the flour and then the milk, adding it gradually at first, to make a smooth batter. If it’s not as smooth as it should be, you can hit it with an immersion blender. Don’t drag out your blender for this one; a whisk will get the job done.

4 Pour the batter over the fruit. Sprinkle on the reserved tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffed and golden and browning around the edges and pulling away from the edges of the pan.

5 Let stand 10 to 20 minutes before serving warm. Add a dusting of powdered sugar, if you like, just before serving. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean 

20 December 2018

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew - made in the Instant Pot set on the slow cooker function / www.delightfulrepast.com

Slow Cooker Beef Stew was the first thing I wanted to make in my new Instant Pot. Yes, folks, I finally broke down and bought one. I didn’t have room for one more countertop appliance, but I needed to replace my slow cooker’s cooking pot. Here’s the story.

I love my slow cooker, the Cuisinart 6-quart multicooker slow cooker, but I damaged the nonstick surface of the cooking pot and so was going to have to order a replacement. Since I was interested in trying a pressure cooker, I thought I’d try the combination slow cooker pressure cooker Instant Pot with its uncoated stainless steel cooking pot.


Slow Cooker Beef Stew - made in the Instant Pot set on the slow cooker function / www.delightfulrepast.com
This photo shows how I protect the wall and undercabinet lighting from grease spatters with a dish towel when sauteeing in a countertop appliance. Or I can set it on something on top of the stove and turn the range hood on.


This time I used packaged grass-fed stew meat, but I really prefer to buy a piece of chuck (about 2.75 pounds) and trim it and cut it up myself into larger pieces. 

I’ve written my recipe instructions for the cook who is new, as I am, to using the Instant Pot as a slow cooker. If they are not clear, do tell me so that I can clarify them. Anyone using a regular slow cooker (or the stovetop) can easily make adjustments. 

Then I’ll try out the Instant Pot in its main function as a pressure cooker. I’m brand new to pressure cookers, probably because my mother and grandmothers didn’t use them, so it’s going to be an adventure. Have you jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet? I think I might be the last person on the planet to get one!

Update 01/17/19: Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot Beef Stew, Classic Stovetop Beef Stew.


Slow Cooker Beef Stew - made in the Instant Pot set on the slow cooker function / www.delightfulrepast.com



Slow Cooker Beef Stew


(Serves 4 to 6)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 pounds (1.02 kg) lean beef chuck, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces/118 ml) drinkable dry red wine or water
1/2 large onion, chopped (6 ounces/170 grams—about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces/680 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium carrots (12 ounces/340 grams), peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch slices
3 stalks celery (6 ounces/170 grams), sliced diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) chicken broth or water
4 to 5 tablespoons (half a 6-ounce can) tomato paste
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
Slurry of 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water
Garnish: 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or 1 cup of frozen peas

1 Brown the beef in two or three batches. (I do three because I’m really into thorough browning.) Plug in the Instant Pot. Select the Saute program. Press the Saute key again to go from Normal temperature to More. When the word Hot appears on the display, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the stainless steel cooking pot of the Instant Pot. 

2 Dry the beef cubes a batch at a time with paper towels, add to hot oil and brown very well in single layer, sprinkling with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Transfer browned beef to a bowl. Repeat. (And repeat again if you’re doing three batches.)

3 Deglaze the cooking pot with 1/2 cup wine or water. Press the Cancel key. Add the beef back to the Instant Pot, along with all remaining ingredients except the slurry and garnish. 

4 Put on the optional Instant Pot glass lid, or use the pressure cooking lid with the steam release handle turned to Venting. Select the Slow Cook program. Within 10 seconds, press Slow Cook to set temperature to Normal. Within 10 seconds, press “+ or –“ to set time to 6 hours.

Note: Instant Pot users have reported all kinds of timing differences in the slow cooker function, so you’ll just have to see about this!

5 After 6 hours (if your stew is done), shake together flour and water until mixture is smooth. Stir the smooth slurry into the stew, taste and adjust seasoning; press Saute and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to thicken. Remove bay leaf, and sprinkle on parsley or stir in frozen peas. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support.


Jean
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