13 May 2014

Still Life With Pressure Cooker

My husband got me a pressure cooker for Mother's Day. It's a big fancy Cuisinart electric contraption, and it had apparently been in the back of his car for weeks, hidden under a pile of clothes, waiting for Sunday.

When Sunday rolled around, my son wrapped the pressure cooker in some Christmas wrapping paper he had found in the basement - red, with snowmen and a script "Let It Snow" legend - and they all presented it to me with their homemade cards and breakfast in bed on a tray.

I was thrilled. I had wanted a pressure cooker for a long time. I'd been enchanted by the stories of stews made in minutes, and I'd dreamed of pressure-canning tomatoes and other vegetables. To use the pressure cooker, you fill it with food, and then you lock the lid, and the machine heats up. Pressure builds along with the heat inside the pot, dramatically reducing the time needed to cook the food.

A pressure cooker is sort of the opposite of a slow-cooker. With the slow-cooker, you plan ahead, assemble the meal in the morning, and then go do something else all day. With the pressure cooker, you do something else all day, panic at the last minute, and then throw something together that cooks in nine minutes. You heard me. Nine.

For my first pressure-cooker meal, I made some pork chops, and I thought I'd share the recipe with you. My husband liked them so much that he thinks I should rename the blog "Still Life With Pressure Cooker." I'm thinking the blog will stay the same, but the cooking equipment will change according to my mood. What do you think? Are you a slow cooker or a pressure cooker?

Here's my pressure cooker. I've put a purchasing link on the sidebar in case you want to buy one.

Still Life Pork Chops in the Pressure Cooker (serves 4)

4 thick pork chops, bone in
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 large pears, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the pork chops and brown them, about three minutes per side, in the olive oil. Remove them to a platter. Without cleaning the pan, add the butter and heat it; sauté the onions, garlic, and thyme in the butter until the onions are transparent. Add the vinegar to the mix and simmer a few minutes, until the liquid is slightly reduced.

Put the onion mixture into the pressure cooker, and then add the wine and the broth. Add the pork chops on top of the onions. Layer the pears on top of the pork chops. Cook at high pressure (according to your manufacturer's directions) for about 9 minutes.

Serve with hot steamed rice and a salad.

1 comment:

Justine Levine said...

That sounds delicious! My husband is the pressure-cooker-user in our house, and I'm the slow-cooker user, which is ironic, because that's pretty much exactly opposite to our personalities. Happy Mothers' Day! Glad you're enjoying your new toy. ;)