The Magic of the Cuisinart Electronic Pressure Cooker
The frost closes in as the air cools, the rain has started to fall. As I walk over to make a coffee, the cold tiles turn my toes blue and the goosebumps rippling my skin, make me long for warm hearty comfort food. Ladies and gentleman please welcome, Winter. Summer has left us for another season, and I’m one of ‘those’ people who look forward to what Winter brings. What’s not to love? The cool air reminds us we are alive, it gives us the opportunity to feast on some of the most deliciously rich, warming, hearty meals and wash it all down with a glass of red.
Of course there are some negatives to Winter, the days get much shorter, there are weeks where it rains non stop, and most people find themselves with a bad case of the Winter blues. I for one leave for work in the dark and arrive home in the dark. It’s not always inspiring, but that one bowl of the family favourite soup with a crusty loaf of bread, that one plate of curry filling the airwaves with its aromas and that slow cooked lamb shoulder that melts in your mouth, makes it all worth while (food nerd alert!).
The problem with our comfort foods is that they often take a lot longer to prepare than it would to fry up some fish and serve it with a delicious fresh salad. Quite often we need hours to slow cook that lamb so it falls off the bone, hours to ensure the split peas in your soup are cooked, hours to make sure the flavours in your curry have really bonded and gotten to know each other. Most of us don’t have hours too cook during the week, so what does that leave for dinner? How will you cure the Winter blues without your comfort foods? Never fear, I have a solution that you just might fall in love with.
As much as I love spending my time off cooking from scratch, during the week there’s not much time for that. My solution to you is the Cuisinart Electronic Pressure Cooker Plus. This appliance will rock your world. Not only is it a pressure cooker, but it functions as a slow cooker, warmer and it has a browning/sauté function! This is completely unheard of in the traditional slow cooker world. This is the all in one solution to cure your Winter blues and feed your family the heartiest of Winter warmers. It also lets you prepare your dinner while you fit in everything else you need to do. I’m not just talking about curries or soups either, this gadget can cook risottos, pot roasts and even a cheesecake! As always it’s important to have a read through the manual, it’s full of handy hints and tips. For example with meat dishes like the lamb curry I made, you want to let the machine depressurize naturally, this will continue to cook the meat and make it more tender whilst making it safe for you to open the lid. However if you’re making a risotto obviously you want to get it out of there before it over cooks, that’s where the manual depressurize comes in to stop the cooking process so you can get it on the plate and wow your family.
The trick here is to be a little organised. Spend an hour or two over the weekend to do some prep and this will make the mid week meal so much easier. I recently made an Indian inspired lamb curry (not a jar of curry paste in sight!), while at the same time I was packing, doing the food shopping and getting a hair cut, and no I don’t have an army of clones. This was all possible because of that awesome warming mode I spoke of earlier. Essentially, I prepped my ingredients, sautéed the onions and spices, browned the meat, added the remaining ingredients and set the pressure cooker for 22 minutes (cooking time guide is in the manual) and then I walked away to get everything else done. The Cuisinart kept my curry warm until I returned, then I reduced it a little to thicken up and…BAM! There it was a fragrant Winter warming curry ready to eat. Of course I told my girlfriend I had been slaving over a hot stove all day…
Indian Lamb Curry
What you’ll need:
I leg of lamb, diced into 3 cm cubes
1 onion finely diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumb sized piece ginger, chopped
6 cardamom pods
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon tandoori colouring (optional-this just makes is look cool)
6 dried chillies (more or less to taste)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon honey
Handful coriander chopped.
- Set the pressure cooker to ‘Sauté’, add the onion, ginger, garlic and spices and cook until the onions have softened (2-3 minutes)
- Set the pressure cooker to ‘Brown’, add the diced meat and cook until all the meat has browned (you want to have some black gnarly looking bits, it’s all flavour!).
- Add the dried chillies, tomatoes, water and tandoori colouring. Set the pressure cooker to ‘High Pressure’ and set the timer for 22 minutes (now go make yourself a cuppa, sit back and relax… or start on that bottle of red!).
- After the 22 minutes, or whenever you are ready, remove the lid and set the pressure cooker back to ‘Brown’. Add the yoghurt, honey and cook for 5-8 minutes until the liquid has thickened to your liking.
- Add a handful of roughly chopped coriander leaves and serve that bad boy with some rice/naan bread or just eat it on its own (you can cook rice in just 10 minutes in the presure cooker!).