Under Pressure

The secret weapon in my kitchen



Rohit Seth / shutterstock.com

Beef short ribs cook to perfection in less than an hour in a pressure cooker. This comeback appliance is a time-tested time-saver.

 

It’s 2017, and we are all busy. Whether it’s with our careers, families, dating, exercising or figuring out this thing called life, there are just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on our to-do lists. For some people, preparing a home-cooked meal after a long day at the office is the last thing they want to think about, especially when it’s just as easy to zip through the drive-thru at their favorite fast food joint. Heck, it’s even easier to belly-up to the bar at a favorite watering hole and grab a cold beer and a bite to eat.

If the thought of setting foot in the kitchen scares you — we’ve all seen an episode of “Worst Cooks in America” and know a few folks who could star on the show — the microwave or crockpot may be your go-to cooking technique. But did you know that you have another option?

Enter the friendly, yet somewhat intimidating, pressure cooker. Sure, it looks like a contraption that’s ready to rupture, especially if you remember versions from 20 years ago. It howls, whistles and makes sounds eerily similar to diving equipment or a boiler room. But don’t hesitate to try one out; today’s pressure cookers are completely safe and will transform the way you cook, not to mention save you time.

Dating back to the 1600s, pressure cookers have long been the perfect tool to tame the toughest cuts of meat or to reduce the overall cooking time of your favorite proteins, beans, etc. Dry beans, which are a staple in my wife’s diet, and beef ribs are two of my favorite foods for pressure cooking. And did you know you can also use a pressure cooker to can vegetables and all sorts of goodies?

The science behind the pressure cooker is pretty simple. Pressure is created inside the vessel by boiling liquid — typically broth, stock or water — with the lid on. As the cooker heats up, the trapped steam increases the internal pressure, which raises the temperature inside the pot and speeds up the cooking process. Large roasts, which tend to be tough and often need to cook for hours upon hours in a traditional oven, can be cooked in almost half the time in a pressure cooker. 

As a society constantly on the go, we can all appreciate a little extra time — which is why the pressure cooker is my secret-weapon tool. For less than $100, you can have a high quality pressure cooker delivered to your door. 

Just remind yourself, you’ve got this under control, even if you’re under pressure.


Here’s our recipe:

Ingredients

  • 8 beef short ribs (can substitute oxtail)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3–4 cups of beef stock 
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 1 tsp. Sazon seasoning
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt 
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup red wine (optional)

Season short ribs with Sazon seasoning and garlic salt. Heat pressure cooker to medium-high. Add vegetable oil to pressure cooker. Add seasoned short ribs to pressure cooker and sear on all sides (approximately 1 minute per side). Remove ribs from pressure cooker. Add diced onion and garlic to pressure cooker and sauté until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add red wine to onion mixture to deglaze pressure cooker; let sauce reduce to cook out alcohol. Add short ribs and beef stock to pressure cooker. Place lid on pot and lock in place. Turn heat up to high and allow pressure to rise.* When cooker is at pressure, reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for 45 minutes, then remove from heat. Do not attempt to remove lid until pressure has dropped. Serve short ribs with white or brown rice, or your favorite side dish. Garnish with cilantro. Makes 2 servings. 

* Note: Pressure cookers come in several varieties. Yours may have a steam spout in its lid, which you will need to cap with a petcock (a weighted gauge) when the cooker comes to pressure. Alternately, your pressure cooker may have a pressure dial on the lid or be entirely devoid of a pressure indicator. Just read your pressure cooker’s instruction manual so you can raise and lower pressure in your cooker safely.

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