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Cult of the Instant Pot

Instant Pot is a cult! NEXIVM, Heaven’s Gate, heck, even the Branch Davidians had nothing compared to this updated take on a very old (chances are your grandparents and great grandparents swore by them) piece of cooking tech- the pressure cooker. However, this hype is warranted! Unlike the pressure cookers of yore, the Instant Pot has a few other really useful features built in, such as a sauté setting, timed and automated cooking features, and the ability to hold food to serve just to name a few. Since most of us work for a living, having a device that cooks food from scratch in a fraction of the normal time is really appealing, but what that doesn’t tell you is how beautifully the pot cooks things. Waaay better than a crock pot at cooking meat to fork-tender. Waaay better than a rice cooker at cooking toothsome, perfectly defined grains. Waaaay better at giving you collard greens that are soft and full of flavor, but not decimated.  Pressure cooking really drives the flavor into your food (with pressure!) and may even make you prefer its outcome over that of, say, a slowly braised roast in the oven. To wit, here are some recipes that you could make with Northern Waters Smokehaus products in your own Instant Pot.


New England Boiled Dinner

Ingredients

-Half of a Northern Waters Smokehaus smoked Berkshire ham (3-4 lbs) or Corned Bison (3-4 lbs)

-2 T butter or oil 

-1 large rutabaga

-3 large turnips (save the greens if they have them)

-5 medium sized parsnips

-4 mediums sized red potatoes

-4 large carrots

-Half of a large head of green cabbage (or a small one)

-5 cloves of garlic, peeled

-1 small white onion, sliced

Preperation

1. Peel all the root vegetables except the potatoes. Cut the rutabaga into larger chunks (about two inches). Leave carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips whole. Slice cabbage up into 2 inch wedges (length does not matter). Be sure to save any turnip greens if attached to throw in with the cabbage at the end.

2. Crank up your Instant Pot’s sauté setting to high. Once preheated, add 2 Tablespoons of butter or oil and sear off the meat on all sides. 

3. Once the meat is seared, add the sliced onion, garlic, and about a cup of liquid to the pot (water, wine or beer are nice), close the lid and commence to pressure cooking on the high setting. You will want to adjust your cook time to meet the texture that you prefer: 20-30 minutes for a yielding-but-still-has-bite-to-it meat, 30-45 minutes for falling apart tenderness.  The cooking times are somewhat vague by design, as the musculature of the meat and a few other factors will contribute to how long it takes. The nice thing is that if you err on the side of less time, it is very easy to throw it back in for a little longer if It’s not soft enough.

4.  Once you have the meat cooked to your liking, remove it from the pot and into a roasting pan in the oven at 170 degrees. Add all the vegetables to the pot except for the cabbage and potatoes. You may want to add a little more (up to a cup) of liquid to the pot if it seems scant. Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and potatoes and pressure cook for 5 more minutes.

5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables from the pot and nest around the meat in your roasting pan in the oven. Remove meat from roasting pan to a cutting board for slicing. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust for salt.  

Serving

To serve family style: On a large platter (or even in your roasting pan) place vegetables in a ring around the outside, place sliced meat in the middle, and douse with several ladles of the cooking liquid.

To plate individually: Same thing, but smaller.

Serve with horseradish sauce and stone ground mustard. Don’t forget to make hash with the leftovers!


Greens

Ingredients

-3 bundles (about 3lbs) of collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale or any combination of these and sturdy leafy greens

-2 tablespoons red miso

-2 teaspoons soy sauce

-2 Tablespoons butter 

-1 packet Goya Sazon Cilantro and Achiote  seasoning

-1 Cup warm water

-1 ham bone or small chunk of ham (optional)

-Salt to taste

Preparation

1. Pick the greens- Before you start this step, set your Instant Pot to the high sauté setting. Remove the stems from the greens. You can do so by flipping the green over to its underside, folding the sides of the leaf to the center and pulling up on the thick part of the stem. Another method which is way slicker but harder to master is to make a small ‘o’ with your thumb and forefinger (think the OK signal) and pull the entire leaf through your ‘o-finger’ stem side first, thus ‘stripping’ the leaf from the stem. 

2. Combine miso, soy sauce and warm water

3. Add butter to the pot. Once melted and getting bubbly, add greens and sauté until they are all coated and wilting down. 

4. Throw it in the pot- Combine all the ingredients in your instant pot and set it to pressure cook on high for 30-40 minutes, depending on how well cooked you would like them. 30 minutes should yield a tender green, 40 minutes a very soft and falling apart green.

3. Season- This is the part of cooking greens that people often screw up. You absolutely should never salt your greens before they are done cooking. Once they are cooked to your liking, add salt until tasty.

Notes

It should be noted that this recipe has an easy vegan workaround- just sub oil for butter and omit the ham-bone. It’s also OK to experiment with some of the variables in this recipe- instead of water use wine or beer, use any kind of meat that you want instead of ham (bacon or chorizo spring to mind), and if you don’t have the Cilantro and Achiote seasoning or the miso or the soy sauce, just omit them and add more salt at the end. Greens taste good!

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