Insta-Pot

Braised Lamb Shanks with Herbs, Insta-Pot Version

by Anne Maxfield on November 12, 2018

Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot Lamb Shank With HerbsThese lamb shanks have become my favorite way to do lamb shanks.

The original recipe from the NY Times Cooking feeds 6-8. I’ve adapted it to use my Insta-Pot and made it to serve 2-3.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cup chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens or arugula
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint or dill or a combination
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • About 1/2 cup chicken or lamb stock, or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed (optional)

In a large bowl (or Ziploc bag) large enough to hold the lamb, mix together salt, paprika and pepper. Add shanks and rub all over with spice mix. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.

Hear a splash of olive oil in the Insta-Pot set to “Sauté.” Sear the lamb, adding more oil as needed. Take your time with this, making sure to brown the lamb all over. Transfer browned lamb to a plate.

When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to Insta-Pot and cook it in the lamb drippings (adding a more oil if pan looks dry) until limp and lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander, cayenne and allspice and cook until the garlic is very fragrant and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pot. Let mixture simmer until thickened and reduced by about a third (about 5 minutes). Add lamb back to pan and coat with the mixture.

Accidental Locavore Herbs for Insta-Pot Lamb ShankIn a bowl, toss together scallions, spicy greens, and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving, add chicken stock. Cover Insta-Pot and turn to “Slow Cook” and cook until meat is falling off the bones, about 6 hours.  If the bottom of the pan starts to dry out before lamb is done, add a few tablespoons of the stock or water to moisten it.

When shanks are tender, transfer to a heated serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you like, at this point you can tear the meat off the bones, or serve the shanks bone-in.

Turn Insta-Pot to “Sauté.” If pan is dry, add remaining stock or water and bring to a simmer. (If drippings in pan seem very fatty, spoon off some of the fat.) Bring drippings to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.

Once the liquid is reduced to a thin glaze, add butter to pot along with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining herbs (save those for garnish). Whisk sauce until smooth, then taste and add lemon juice as needed. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shanks in Insta-PotMy verdict: As I said in the intro, this might be my new favorite way to do lamb shanks! The shanks were so tender and the combination of cooked down and fresh herbs was delicious.

Doing it in the Insta-Pot has its advantages: you can brown the shanks without covering your stove in grease, and there’s only one pot to deal with. I just let them cook away on the counter all afternoon and finished them off before we ate. If I was braver, using the pressure cooker setting would probably save hours of time, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

I served it over some sliced potatoes I tossed in olive oil, microwaved for 4 minutes and then tossed in with the lamb, but orzo, couscous, polenta or rice would work well.

 

 

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Insta-Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

by Anne Maxfield on October 22, 2018

Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot Short RibsShort ribs are a great winter food and I’ve worked and eaten my way through a lot of short rib recipes.

This one from Gordon Hammersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home has become my go-to recipe and I recently decided to use my Insta-Pot for it.

Use 1-2 short ribs per person depending on size. This is scaled down for 2 people.

Insta-Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

  • 2-4 beef short ribs (depending on size and appetite)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium sized red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds (cut across the onion to make rings)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (if you buy it in a tube it costs more, but you always have it for weird amounts like this)
  • 1 bottle Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Generously salt and pepper the short ribs.

Turn your Insta-Pot to “Sauté”. Add the oil and when it’s shimmering, sear the ribs until brown on all sides.

Remove the ribs from the pan, and pour off the excess oil, but don’t clean the Insta-Pot.

Add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.

Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes (don’t worry if the onions start to fall apart–they will).

Stir the tomato paste in and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Add the beer, vinegar, beef stock, and the ribs. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Cover the Insta-Pot and put it on “Slow Cook” for 6-8 hours until the short ribs are fork tender.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the ribs and onions from the pot and set aside.

Put the Insta-Pot back on “Sauté” and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until it’s reduced by at least a third (or as thick you want the sauce). Skim fat off.

Taste and check for seasoning. Add the ribs and onions back to the sauce, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Searing Short Ribs In Insta-Pot

My verdict: This has become our favorite short rib recipe. I serve them with mashed potatoes, usually with horseradish added. It really brings out the flavor and helps to cut some of the richness.

While this is equally as good made in the oven or in a slow cooker, the Insta-Pot advantage is that you can do it all in one pot and the high sides of the Insta-Pot keep the fat from spattering all over your stove when you sear the ribs.

Figure on 1-2 ribs per person, depending on the size (and whether you want leftovers).

Like most braised meats, these are even better the next day (and you can get a lot more of the fat off).

Click here for the original recipe.

 

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Food Trends 2017-How Did We Do?

by Anne Maxfield on January 1, 2018

Accidental Locavore Food TrendsHere’s my list of food trends from a year ago, let’s see how we ended up:

Food Trends to resolve to do:

  1. Use all food! Food waste is a huge issue and you’re going to hear a lot about it this year.
  2. Buy what you’re going to use. Use it.
  3. Shop your freezer, fridge, cupboards, pantry. You’ll be surprised how much you can make without ever leaving the house. I made 23 dinners with just the stuff in my freezer.

My verdict: Still an important and growing movement. Challenge yourself to see what you can use or repurpose (see #4 for some ideas and for my friend with leftover cheeses, mac & cheese is always a good way to use up those odds and ends).

Things trending that you might ACTUALLY make:Accidental Locavore Food Trends Poke

  1. Bowls-grain, rice, porridge, poke. Put a bunch of vegetables, a carb and a protein in a bowl and you’re trendy. Extra points for poké (pronounced po-kay). A good way to use up small bits of things in your fridge.
  2. Hey if you haven’t given up kale yet, you could be a newbie to cauliflower. Or if you really want to be cutting edge, skip down to jackfruit below.

My verdict: Bowls are a great way to use up leftovers, especially small bits. Some version of fried rice is often my lunch go-to. I think poké and porridge have had their day, or maybe in porridge’s case, just needs to be rebranded. Would the marketing genius who made kale happen, like to give it a try? And speaking of kale, let’s not.

Or cook with:Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot

  1. Sous-vide. I’ve had mine for a few years and love it. It’s the crockpot of the 21st
  2. Or maybe it’s the Instapot.

My verdict: Definitely the Instapot! And now there’s even one that has a sous-vide function. I still haven’t used mine as a pressure cooker, but it’s out almost weekly as a (terrific) yogurt maker and occasionally as my slow-cooker replacement.

Foods you might think about and eat but come on, you’re never actually going to DIY:

  1. Fermented foods (from any number of sources). Imagine if everyone in your building started fermenting stuff.
  2. Whey (to get this you have to make something else, like Greek yogurt) and then figure out what to do with it. I’ve marinated chicken in it—ho hum.
  3. Vegetable chips (your own, not out of a bag)
  4. Empanadas, dumplings etc. All good but labor intensive and someone in a restaurant near you does it better.

My verdict: Pretty much true. I’ve fermented more things successfully due to my discovery of Kraut Source. As for the whey, my dog is a big fan. Have not made a single vegetable chip (kale people are you listening?) or any form of dumpling all year.

Interesting, never-happening options:

  1. Octopus – got a rock to pound it on? Didn’t think so.
  2. Naan pizza. Why?
  3. Fry bread. Ditto. Have you ever actually eaten the stuff? Think flattened, fried zeppole and you’re pretty much there. Going to go out on a politically incorrect limb here, but the Native Americans have not given us much to work with food-wise. Indian Pudding and frybread are two prime examples.
  4. Jackfruit. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to show up at your local supermarket. And when it does…

My verdict: 100% correct. Never happened.

A couple of my predictions:

  1. Coffeecake – oh, excuse me, breakfast cake. I’ve had my friend Alan’s mother’s coffeecake recipe on my mind lately. Time for breakfast comfort food?
  2. The resurgence of junk food – look for the new White House Chef to be Colonel Saunders…

My verdict: Made the coffeecake and it was wonderful, but also a lot of trendy avocado toast thanks to an influx of great bread.

As for the junk food, the big eater of that is the same guy who gave you that great tax cut for Christmas.

What do you think? Where will 2018 take us?

 

 

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My Insta-Pot Experience

by Anne Maxfield on April 17, 2017

Accidental Locavore Insta-PotLike millions of Americans I bought an Insta-Pot.

My excuse?

It was half price on Amazon and my slow cooker had just sprung an irreparable leak.

Sayonara  crock-pot, hello Insta-Pot.

An Insta-Pot (if you haven’t heard of them) is reputed to be the replacement for most of the appliances you have and plenty that you probably don’t.

It’s a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, steamer and it sautés.

After an initial batch of basmati rice that was undercooked and stuck to the container, it was given a time-out for a couple of months.

But I wasn’t going to let an appliance get the best of me (especially since someone I know who is not a great/adventurous cook has been using it like crazy and getting great results).

So, I read the book.

It’s pretty basic, but since everyone online has been touting it, it’s easy to find answers there.

First up, some short ribs with Sean’s booYah! Bali Sweet Heat Glaze (I met Sean at the Restaurant Show and he gave me this to try).

I seared the ribs in the Insta-Pot and it did a great job! Nicely seared and as an added bonus, no fat spattered all over the stove.

Once seared, I added the booYah! sauce and about a cup of beef stock I had from another project that had some soy sauce in it.

Put the cover on and slow-cooked it for the afternoon. Came out great!

Next up, yogurt.

I’ve used the Insta-Pot twice now for yogurt and both times it’s come out perfectly. You just put the mixture in, hit the yogurt button and leave it. The big advantage for me, especially in the winter, is that my oven can be pretty cold, even with the light on so there can be some serious temperature fluctuations.

So far, perfect yogurt. Although it’s an expensive yogurt maker, I’d keep it around just for that!

Accidental Locavore Yogurt in Insta-PotI need to gather up my courage and give it a try with something it’s famous for—as a pressure cooker.

Supposedly the Insta-Pot makes amazing risotto (and could have done my short ribs in minutes rather than hours). So, maybe a risotto with some prosciutto, asparagus and peas (are you paying attention Janet?).

Do you have one? What’s your favorite thing to do with it?

 

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