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Pressure Cooker Moroccan Chickpea Soup



It’s officially soup season and soup is where your electric pressure cooker becomes indispensable, especially with soups that contain dried beans, like this one. To make this on the stove would take twice as long with dried chickpeas and ain’t nobody got time for that. I know I am the Instant Pot lady but lately, I have using my Breville Fast Slow Pro in the kitchen and I am loving it again. The brand of electric pressure cooker you have in your kitchen is the best kind of pressure cooker - they all cook the same, timing doesn't change although sometime the functions have different names - your saute feature might not be called saute, older Instant Pots have a manual button and the newer ones have a pressure cook button in it's place but it's the same thing.





This is a really lovely flavour with the warmth of the cinnamon and the heat of the harissa finished off with the brightness of the fresh herbs and lemon juice. North American cuisine rarely uses spices like cinnamon in savoury dishes but it’s quite common in Moroccan food but trust me, it’s a delight. Besides the fact that it's delicious, it's soooo easy. You just prep your ingredients, throw them all in the pressure cooker and cook it. That's it.

It’s up to you how much harissa, a fiery North African pepper paste, that you add to the soup. If you have eaters who are a bit wimpy when it comes to heat, just use a tsp in the soup and offer extra to everyone when you serve it. I am also adding an option to add some red lentils which doesn't really affect the flavour but it thickens it up a bit to make it even heartier.

Pressure Cooker Moroccan Chickpea Soup


serves 8-10

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 cup *dried chickpeas, pre-soaked or 1 can chickpeas
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 or 3 ribs of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp harissa paste or to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 80g of parsley (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
About 80g cilantro (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
6 cups of broth - chicken or vegetable
1 796 ml or 28g can of plum tomatoes, crushed with your fingers
**optional - 1/2 cup of red lentils - add if you want your soup to be a thicker and heartier

2 lemons
4-6 cubes of frozen spinach or a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
Another handful of both parsley and cilantro for serving
Extra harissa for serving

*to do a quick pre-soak dried chickpeas, cover 1 cup chickpeas with 4 cups water and 1 tsp kosher salt in your pressure cooker. Bring to a boil using the sauté feature, close the lid and cook for 2 minutes at high pressure. Do a careful release of pressure by testing it to make sure you don’t get foam spewing out and when you are sure that you are good to go, release the pressure.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and dump the water. Set them aside.
OR pre-soak overnight in water, old school.
OR use canned, drained chickpeas (19oz or 540ml)

Throw the everything up to the lemons and spinach in the pot of your electric pressure cooker. Program your pressure cooker for 20 minutes at high pressure. If you use canned chickpeas, program your soup for about 12 minutes.

When the time is up, give it about 5 minutes NPR before releasing the rest of the pressure. Open the lid, squeeze in the juice from the two lemons and throw in the frozen or fresh spinach and put the lid back on and keep warm for about ten minutes to let the spinach defrost and heat up OR the fresh spinach to wilt into the soup.

Serve with extra chopped parsley and cilantro and offer everyone more harissa if they want it spicier



Shepherd’s Patty Pie - Comfort Food The Whole Family Can Love




It’s winter, it’s dreary and it’s cold and we all want some comfort food, right? My problem is that my idea of comfort food and my guy's idea of comfort food are not the same thing. This week he asked for Shepherd’s Pie. I have made turkey shepherd’s pie that tastes like Thanksgiving dinner that I liked but other than that, it’s really not my favourite dish. He doesn’t like lamb so that’s out and I just find the basic ground beef filling to be boring. Don't send me hate mail because I think Shepherd's Pie is boring, okay? I want to make something that will make everyone happy so I had to put my thinking cap on.

my controversial beef patty pops
Why not make a filling that I really like and top it with some mashed something or other and just call it a day? What I really wanted was something that was a bit spicy, like a Jamaican beef patty and I thought sweet potato would give a nice balance to the heat from the scotch bonnets. Patty filling is the right consistency, it's spicy and he likes them as much as I do.

And that is how Shepherd’s Patty Pie was born. I took my usual beef patty filling and topped with it with mashed sweet potatoes and everyone got what they wanted.

Funny fun fact about my beef patties - A few years ago, Buzzfeed featured them in a list of Jamaican foods to try and my recipe went viral. I got hate mail and tons of terrible, horrible, no good messages because I used puff pastry, even though I clearly stated that I was aware that the using puff pastry was absolutely not authentic but I like it and it's easier than making patty pastry. GO ME LOL










Shepherd’s Patty Pie

Serves 6 to 8


Filling:
1/4 cup butter
500 grams ground beef
275 grams button mushrooms, chopped in the food processor
2 small onions, chopped
6 green onions, chopped, greens included
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and chopped or to taste
3 tsp curry powder
1 tsp Jamaican allspice
1 tbls fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds black pepper
1/4 cup panko
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Mashed Sweet Potato:
Approx 900 g or 2 lbs sweet potato, peeled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cream or light cream
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
1 egg yolk

Directions for filling:
Throw the mushrooms in the food processor and grind to resemble coarse crumbs and set aside.
Now put the onions, green onion, garlic and scotch bonnet peppers in the same food processor and pulse until minced.

Melt the butter over med heat in a frying pan and sauté the scallion mixture for about five minutes until soft but not browned. Use a spatula to scrap the mixture into a bowl and then add the ground mushrooms and ground beef to the pan and cook it, smashing it all together with a spatula as you stir to mix them together.
When the meat is almost cooked, add the scallion mixture back into the pan and contentious to cook until there is no trace of pink left to the meat.
Throw in the curry, allspice, salt and pepper, panko, thyme and chicken stock and simmer over med low heat for about 5 minutes. If it gets too dry add a bit more broth or water. You don’t want it soupy but you want it to be moist.


Directions for mashed sweet potato:
Peel the potatoes and cut into a 1” dice. Place in a pot and cover with cold water, add a generous pinch of kosher salt and bring to a boil over med high heat and cook until tender.
Drain the potatoes and either mash with a masher or run through a food mill. Add the butter and mash well and then add the cream and salt and pepper and turmeric and mix well. Finally, stir in the egg yolk and set aside

Preheat the oven to 400F

Assemble and cook:
Add the meat mixture to a casserole dish, a deep pie plate or to individual ramekins and then top with the mashed sweet potato and spread the potato over the filling evenly.

Bake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the filling is bubbling up through the potato. If you want it browned, turned on the broiler and let it brown but the sweet potato doesn’t brown as much as mashed potato.




Instant Pot Korean Beef Dips BECAUSE WE CAN


It's the holiday season and I have decided to take off the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas so that I can get back in my own kitchen and just cook for my family after a busy year of cooking for other people. My family, understandably, is thrilled. The cobbler's family has no shoes syndrome is real.

One of the first things I tried last week was the Instant Pot Beef Dip from Amy and Jacky at pressure cook recipes . Their methods are so well tested and always work like a charm, and this one was fabulous, as expected.

Looking for something with a bit more kick, I used their recipe as a jumping off point to make this Korean Beef Dip. I often make really sloppy, delicious grilled cheese sandwiches out of my Korean Meatloaf and immediately thought that I would LOVE to make a Korean Beef Dip - all the same flavours in the meatloaf grilled cheese with with a spicy jus to dip the sandwich in?
YES PLEASE

This sandwich is perfect - sharp cheddar and kimchi/gochujang are meant to be together although, I also ate some of the beef and sauce over rice, with scallions and sesame seeds and that was delicious too.

Two things to mention:

Number one - I will say, upfront, this is not one of the simplest Instant Pot recipes but, doing this in the oven would take twice as long and although I am not always a fan of searing meat when pressure cooking, if you have the time, sear the meat. At the very least, it adds all that delicious fond on the bottom of the pot and that is a flavour bomb.

*Regarding searing meat:
the super high heat involved in pressure cooking means that the maillard reaction (the chemical reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids that gives browned foods it's distinctive flavour) occurs without browning so you get the depth of flavour without the "look" of seared meat. This means that almost across the board, searing meat doesn't add all that much to a pressure cooked dish.

Number two - I realize that this recipe requires a bunch of Korean ingredients that can't really be substituted but they are great ingredients to add to your food and if you like spicy food, you will have fun experimenting with them.

I add gochujang to all sorts of soups and stews, sauces etc to add some funky, sweet heat and the bean paste works much like miso paste and adds umami, salt and a deeper depth of flavour to foods. The ssamjang is great on any sandwich, is great in grilled cheese, on a burger - you name it. Think of it as spicy, funky ketchup. There are quite a few recipes on my site that use these ingredients too, like

 Spicy Korean Baked Chicken


Instant Pot Spicy Korean Chicken Stew



Instant Pot Korean Pulled Pork



Bi Bim Bap Sopes



Korean Beef Dip

makes 6 sandwiches



Beef and au jus:


3 lbs or about 1400g pot roast, cross rib roast or blade roast
kosher salt and pepper
3 tbls oil - canola, grapeseed or other flavourless oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2" piece of ginger, peeled and rasped
3 onions, sliced
1 cup of mushroom or chicken broth (I use Campbell's mushroom broth)
1/3 cup of dried mushrooms or 5 or 6 Chinese dried mushroom caps 
1 asian pear, peeled and shredded or finely chopped
2 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls fish sauce
1 tbls sesame oil
1 tbls mirin
2 tbls Korean bean paste (Doenjang)
2 tbls Korean fermented hot pepper paste (Gochujang)
1 to 2 tbls of Korean Chili Powder (Gochugaru)

Sprinkle generous amount of kosher salt and grind black pepper on all sides of the beef.
Heat the mushroom broth or chicken broth and throw in the dried mushrooms and set aside
Heat up the Instant Pot on saute until the machine says "hot"
Add in 2 tbls oil and then sear the beef for 10 minutes per side
Remove the beef and set aside
Add in another tbls of oil and saute the onions for about 5 minutes, add in the garlic and ginger and saute another minute.
Pour in the broth and the dried mushrooms and deglaze the pot, making sure you scrape up all the good bits that are stuck on the bottom of the pot.
Add the asian pear,  soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, mirin, doenjan, gochujang and gochugaru and stir well before adding the beef back in and pushing down, submerging the meat as much as possible.

Hit cancel and then program to cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally.

Open the lid and remove the meat to a bowl. Hit cancel and then hit saute again and bring the jus to a boil while you shred the beef with two forks or your fingers. After the mixture has reduced a bit - let it boil for three or four minutes- pour the juice through a strainer and add all of the solids in with the shredded meat and mix it in with the beef.

Set the meat and jus aside.



Sandwiches:
shredded beef
au jus

two french sticks or six crusty buns
ssamjang (korean dipping sauce/paste)
approx 3 cups shredded shard cheddar (you can use more or less, to your taste)
3\4 cup kimchi, chopped if needed
2 scallions, sliced thinly
6 tbls sesame seeds
Kewpie or other brand mayonnaise
handful of fresh cilantro, leaves picked off


Preheat the broiler

Cut each french stick into three sections and then cut in half lengthwise. If using buns, cut in half. Spread the bottom with ssamjang and pile 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cheese on each bottom. Put the bottoms under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt and remove from the oven.

Pile each sandwich with a generous amount of the shredded beef/onion, add about 2 tbls of kimchi on top of the beef. Now scatter 1/6th of the scallion, 1 tbls sesame seeds and either squirt some Kewpie mayo on top, or spread some mayo on the top of the bun. Add a few leaves of cilantro and cap it with the top of the bun/bread.


Serve each sandwich with a small bowl of the au jus for dipping.









Instant Pot Spicy Korean Chicken Stew




I really wanted Korean food the other day but I didn't feel like leaving the house, which happens. It was overcast, cold and dreary, I didn't have the car so that would also entail cramming my body onto the subway to go downtown...not today, Satan, not today.


Temperance and Temptation in The Headwaters



Always on the lookout for for great things to do in and around Toronto, I was happy to attend a media preview of Temperance and Temptation, the newest joint venture between York/Durham/Headwaters, Central Counties Tourism and ShortTrips.ca this past September.


Instant Pot Butter Chicken Meatballs




I make my Instant Pot Butter Chicken fairly often but I don't always plan well enough to marinate the meat overnight and I do believe that an overnight marinade is essential to achieve a rich depth of flavour in the final dish and avoid it tasting like bland chicken plunked into delicious sauce. My theory was that if I added the chicken marinade ingredients INTO the meatballs, it wouldn't have to sit for so long before I can cook the finished dish.

If You Only Do One Thing In Lisbon, Make It A Market Tour and Cooking Class at Mesa Luisa




Meet Luisa.

Luisa grew up in Portugal, went to school in Belgium, lived in Spain and France and spent a large chunk of her life travelling the world while she worked in advertising before she quit to become a dressmaker, working out of her stunning former ship part warehouse space directly facing the Tagus River in Lisbon. Then, this past February, Luisa decided to change course yet again, built a beautiful kitchen in her warehouse and launched her newest venture, Mesa Luisa. Offering her version of the more typical market shop followed by a cooking class and lunch, upcoming workshops and private evening dinners by appointment , Luisa has reinvented herself as a chef, hostess, guide and story teller in her hometown of Lisbon.

Lisbon and Porto in Photos

Sunset over the River Tagus

I just got back from a ten day trip to Portugal - okay, it was actually eight days in Portugal and 2 days in Paris. I did things a little differently this time as I was taking my big sister with me to experience Europe for the first time and didn't want to be a slave to my notes. I was there in 2014 so I wanted to let her kind of set the tone and let's be honest, I will be back another time. Or two. Or three.

Feed Your Freezer With A Big Batch of Meatballs



More Meatballs!
My last recipe was for these crazy delicious Korean Meatballs and this time, I am showing you how to whip up a big batch of tender meatballs that you can bake off and then freeze because, I know you don't want to hear it, but SUMMER IS ALMOST OVER. Time to stock the freezer for September when life goes back to the daily grind and nobody has time to come home from work or school and make these puppies.

Why Spicy Koreanish Meatballs Should Be One of the Seven Deadly Sins



Oh my, what a spring/summer I have had. For the last year I have been working as a hired gun, cooking for a local caterer, teaching classes as well as hosting pop ups and private dinners around Toronto.


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