Monday, February 29, 2016

Pressure Cooker Sauerbraten

Protein! Carbs! Gravy! MAN FOOD! Plus: cookies. Everyone likes cookies.

A little before Christmas I bought myself a fancy dancy electric pressure cooker. It was one of those crazy deep sales they always have that time of year. I really didn't have a rhythm or reason to this. That said, it should not come as a surprise to say I like kitchen toys.

Meat is a good excuse though.

I made a recipe (lemon barbecued chicken) I have made a fair number of times and just seemed like a good match. Really it was fine. But it did not seem like I was getting anything out of the pressure cooker as the chicken was just about the same as when I make it in the oven. I guess it cooked a little faster, but not enough to justify a new toy.

So I bought Pressure Cookers For Dummies. I found a used copy for a couple of bucks shipped. It talks a little about pressure cookers in general, which is nice. It touted its sauerbraten as one of the most impressive things to make in a pressure cooker as it reduced time from one thousand eight hundred minutes to eighty (this is way more impressive in minutes). Well that sounded damn impressive and I just so happened to have a shoulder pot roast sitting in the freezer I had no plans for.

Included because I thought this picture was pretty. 


Wine. Wine is priority #1. Cookie crumbs are a close second.
1 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 dry red wine (I used a cabernet sauvignon that I had on hand)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
salt and pepper
4 lb beef roast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3/4 cups crushed gingersnaps
2 bay leaves
cornstarch (optional)
egg noodles (cooked at some point)

Combine the water, vinegar, wine, brown sugar, clovers, and 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

Generously salt and pepper the meat.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Brown the meat evenly on all sides.

Add the meat, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, crushed gingersnaps, and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Pour the mixture from step 1 over the meat. Stir to combine. Cover and bring to high pressure. Cook for 60 minutes.

Release the pressure, quick-release method (mind your fingers as to avoid scalding). Open and remove the cover.

Remove the meat to a serving platter and cover with foil. Discard the bay leaves.

Pour the cooking liquid into a food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste. Whisk in cornstarch and reduce to thicken as desired in a pan over medium-high heat.

Slice the meat thinly. Serve over the meat and gravy over egg noodles.

I halved the above recipe because my roast was closer to two pounds than four.

Baby food and croutons are optional.
As noted, I thickened the gravy by adding cornstarch and reducing it on the stove top just a little. This is a deviation from the original recipe. Honestly, one of the big take aways for me with the pressure cooker in general is thickening sauces. Since you need large amounts of liquid for the pressure cooker to work, the final results are, well, liquidy. I have added cornstarch and reduced almost every sauce that has come out the thing since. If you have a stove top one you can do that directly. I have the electric / stand alone kind, so I have to transfer the sauce to a pan and then reduce. Not a big deal... the wifey (who I am giving one more pot to wash) may disagree.

Aside: it is kind of neat to have a sauce where you have "liquefied" onions and carrots. Is it not?
Pro tip: crush way more cookies than you need. Then you can get the leftovers by the spoonful. Mmm cookie crumbs.

The grocer has roasts on sale pretty frequently (in fact I made one last night and I have one more in my freezer). This will undoubtedly be made again.

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