Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pressure cooker

Whilst reading the cookery column of Friday's newspaper the other day, I resolved to buy a pressure cooker. After a little research on the Internet, I went down to the local shopping mall and found myself a 9 litre cooker for 230 shekels (about $55). At first I thought there must be something wrong with the pot as the lid didn't seem to fit, but one of the sales staff showed me how to close the lid hermetically and thus keep all the steam inside.

I don't have a recipe book yet for this type of cooking, and I was warned not to try and experiment. I found a recipe for "Italian inspired chuck roast with herbed red wine gravy" which seemed like a good place to start. I marinaded overnight chunks of goulash beef in a mixture of olive oil, wine and vegetable soup, then drained and dried the chunks. In the pressure cooker I heated oil and then browned the meat; after removing it, I fried a chopped onion, then added two cups of water, the meat, and chopped sweet potato and pumpkin. I then closed the lid of the pressure cooker as instructed and waited for steam to emerge; when it did, I closed a valve on the cooker's lid, reduced the heat and waited 30 minutes. After that time, I removed the pot from the heat, waited about five minutes, then opened the valve, allowing all the steam to escape. When the cooker showed signs of returning to normal, I removed the lid and decanted the contents into a bowl.

Somehow the amount of liquid had doubled during cooking, leaving me with a large amount of broth. The meat was tender and good. My wife had been very doubtful about my purchasing the cooker, but when she tasted the meal - and heard that the cooking time was only 30 minutes - she strongly endorsed the purchase. She has made goulash with this meat before, and has normally boiled the meat for anywhere between two and four hours.

Guess what we're having for dinner on Friday night....

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