GONE ARE THE DAYS OF THE SPITTING, HISSING POT.
I am just loving the newest addition to my kitchen repertoire … an electric pressure cooker! Ron Merlin of the blog The Merlin Menu inspired me to overcome my fears of this (I thought) “dangerous” cooking method. (Click over to his blog … he has a great giveaway! Entries open til April 25th.) Never in a million years would I have envisioned myself loving this style of cooking. Maybe it’s the “tramatic” childhood memories of my Mother using one and telling us we could not play in the kitchen or run or jump because we might disturb the little metal thingie bouncing on top of the pressure cooker and cause the house to blow up. Mom, if you’re reading this and shaking your head in disbelief at the story I am telling, just ask Denise (my sister), she remembers the same thing!
Pressure cookers have a brand new image and are sleek, modern and safe. Reading the directions before firing up this appliance, in my opinion, is critical to understanding how to properly and safely use your pressure cooker. You will have a better understanding of just how your cooker works, maximum limits for different foods and why it is crucial to have the right amount of liquid in the cooker at all times.
As Ron said … Today, we are tackling an American Sunday staple … the Pot Roast. Generally a cheaper cut of meat is used and it requires a long cooking time to break down and tenderize.
For my pressure cooker meal I used a 3 pound chuck roast. (3 pounds is the maximum recommended for my cooker – read the directions) I was able to sear the meat in the cooker, remove it and set to sauté for the onions. I’m all about less dishes to wash! In FORTY-FIVE minutes you will have a tender, juicy roast with perfectly cooked vegetables, not to mention some of the best gravy you’ve ever had.
Pressure Cooker Pot Roast
adapted from a recipe of Ron Merlin
The Merlin Menu
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 3 lb chuck roast
1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 package brown gravy mix
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 package Italian dressing mix
1 can beef broth
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 beef bouillon cube
salt and pepper to taste
12 small red potatoes, halved
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
Turn heat under Pressure Cooker to medium and add olive oil. Sprinkle roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Place into cooker and brown all over, about 5 minutes per side.
Add onion, gravy mix, ranch dressing mix and Italian mix , beef broth, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and beef bouillon cube all over the roast in the cooker. No need to stir, the pressure cooker will distribute everything just fine. Turn heat to high, let liquids come to a boil, and then seal the pressure cooker. Wait until a steady stream of steam is being emitted, and immediately turn to medium low, and begin timing 30 minutes from this point.
After 30 minutes of a steady stream of steam from the cooker, remove from heat and run cold water over the cooker until pressure recedes. Open cooker, and add bay leaves, carrots and potatoes to the liquid surrounding the roast.
Place cooker back on stove and bring to high heat and a boil. Seal cooker with cover, wait until it’s emitting a steady stream of steam, turn to medium low and time for 15 more minutes to continue cooking the roast and cooking the carrots and potatoes perfectly.
After 15 minutes, remove from heat, and let cool down naturally. Remove cover.
If the “gravy” is too thin, remove the roast and vegetables, and stir in 2 tablespoons corn starch dissolved in 4 tablespoons water, over medium heat until gravy thickens. Let roast rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes, and slice and serve with potatoes, carrots and gravy.
Note from Debbie: Ron cooks with a stove-top pressure cooker … mine is electric. Both types produce a wonderful end result. I love some of the special features on my electric pressure cooker: automatically starts the timing when the pressure is reached, can sear and sauté right in the unit and when the pre-set cook time is reached it automatically turns the unit to the warm holding temperature. I found it very easy to adapt the stove-top cooker directions to my electric one.