Sunday, March 16, 2008

When the stars align....

My friend Danielle (of Make No Little Meals) and I are new to the blog challenge/event world, but we are both addicted already. When Danielle emailed me the link about a week and a half ago to Weekend Cookbook Challenge - I was excited instantly about this month's theme - dutch ovens, crockpots, and pressure cookers. I had to laugh at the timing because just the night before I had been flipping through my "Pressure Cooking for Everyone" cookbook.

My mother is a big pressure cooker fan - she cooks chicken in there, beef stew, boiled dinner, soups, pot roast, etc. When my husband and I set up our wedding registry I not only requested a pressure cooker, but I also requested the aforementioned cookbook.

It's been a little over 2 years since - 2 years of never having used a kitchen gadget or a cookbook (so not like me!). I want to clear the air and dispell the any notion you may have right now - the fact that I had not yet used my pressure cooker is not because I am afraid of it. I know many people have a fear of pressure cookers - afraid of getting burned by steam or losing an eye. I remember hearing the mumble of some concerned guests at my bridal shower when I opened it. I'm not afraid of a pressure cooker, I watched my mom use it for many a year, and there have been no injuries! So, I figured it's time for me to take the plunge. I resolved that I needed to use both the pressure cooker and the cookbook sooner rather than later.

If it wasn't ironic enough that I had resolved to use my pressure cooker in the very near future, and pressure cooking was one of the themes of the latest Weekend Cookbook Challenge, St. Patrick's Day was also approaching. When I was flipping through my "Pressure Cooking for Everyone" cookbook I had dog-eared the Corned Beef Boiled Dinner recipe which I tried out last night.

Being a pressure cooker virgin (ok, c'mon, I had to make the joke!) it was a little bit of an adventure for me which included a phone call to my parents' to ask some advice, and my husband lending me a hand with the process since I've been feeling a little under the weather (isn't he sweet?).

So, the recipe below is a reflection of stars aligning at the right place and the right time! I've completed the Weekend Cookbook Challenge, used my pressure cooker and cookbook (everything went well and I can't wait to use my pressure cooker again!), and cooked a celebratory St. Patrick's Day meal (which turned out great may I add, the corned beef was SO tender!)

Corned Beef Boiled Dinner
(from "Pressure Cooking for Everyone")

One 3 pound corned beef brisket with pickling spice packet
2 cups water
One 12 oz bottle of lager beer
2 medium onions, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup baby carrots
1 small head green cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

Rinse corned beef but do not trim the fat. Tie the spices in a double thickness of cheese cloth.

Place the rack in a 5-7 quart pressure cooker. Add water, beer, onions, garlic, and spice sachet. Place corned beef in the pot (do not be concerned if corned beef touches sides of the pot as it will shrink as it cooks).

Lock lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain pressure. Cook for 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let the steam release naturally (about 15 minutes). Open the lid, tilting it away from you to block escaping steam.

Transfer meat to serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onions to large serving bowl. Cover with with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Place the potatoes and carrots in cooking liquid in pot. (The nitrates in the corned beef will have probably turned the liquid red, but don't be concerned). Place the cabbage on top, trying to submerge it in the broth as much as possible. Lock the lid in place. Bring to high pressure over high heat. Adjust the heat to maintain pressure and cook for 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to the serving bowl.

And on that note...........
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day!!!!


Kate said...

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
1) My Irish heritage husband is always asking me to make corned beef and cabbage for him on St. Patty's Day. I finally gave in today and told him I'd make some tomorrow, but I don't have a recipe.
2) He was worried we wouldn't eat till 11pm because it would take too long to make
3) We BEGGED for a pressure cooker for our wedding, got one, and still haven't used it!

You may have saved my marriage

Lis said...

Aww thank you so much for participating! I'm so happy the stars aligned for you. heee!

Your corned beef and cabbage looks exceptionally good! And I'm tickled to know it can be made in the pressure cook! Yay!

Thanks again. :)