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Friday, December 18, 2015

An Instant Pot, Some Jackfruit and a Big Batch of Vegetarian Posole



Anyone who has read my blog, even casually, is probably aware that I have a couple of irrational fears when it comes to cooking and I am proud of the fact that I have worked to overcome these fears in the last few years, for the most part. It's not like I am deep frying every day now, but I do it when I have to and I not only can jam and stuff but I give the results to people I care about and nobody has died. Yet.



That leaves the final frontier - pressure cooking. Just like I did not grow up with a mom who canned, I also did not grow up around pressure cooking so it's always felt like living on the edge to me. I think pressure cooker and visions of this immediately come to mind:


Enter the magical electric pressure cooker:
My shiny, new Instant Pot

After following the reviews of the Instant Pot for more than a year, I finally decided that it was time to bite the bullet and get myself one of these bad boys This thing bills itself as a 7 in 1 machine that serves as a pressure cooker, a crock pot, a rice cooker and steamer that you can sauté in as well as having a warming function.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

That's what I thought, which is precisely why I waited to so long to try one. I have a tiny kitchen that is already overloaded with gear and the last thing I need is something that is going to take up a ton of valuable real estate but if this thing can replace my slow cooker ( I am not willing to give my Zojurishi rice cooker) and I can steam in it, it would be worth making room for it.

So, I contacted the fine folks at Instant Pot (the fact that it is a Canadian company is just gravy at this point) and they kindly offered to send me a Duo60 Instant Pot to try out and review if I liked it. So, with that said, I will be cooking with it and sharing my thoughts as well as some recipes along the way as long as I don't blow myself up in the process.

I have only had it for 24 hours and I have already made vegetable stock, a vegan pozole and resolutely non vegan pulled pork using it as a pressure cooker and I have to tell you

I AM SOLD!

A 4 lb picnic pork roast was falling apart after only 1.5 hours and the vegetable stock took all of 15 minutes. Because I had to make a vegetarian soup to sell at The Kingston Social for the weekend anyway,  I thought pozole would be the perfect recipe for a test drive. Usually, making dried hominy (hominy is made from whole corn kernels that have been soaked in a lye or lime solution to soften the tough outer hulls and then rinsed again)  is a soul sucking task so I generally reach for canned but what is the point of owning a pressure cooker if I am not going to use it to cook something like hominy,  ammiright?

HOMINY IN TEN MINUTES - IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Since I am still learning all about pressure cooking myself, I suggest that you do what I am doing - watch lots of youtube videos and read, read, read. My initial reaction was fear, due to what seems like a million buttons on the control panel but after a glass of wine and a zanax, I realized that this machine isn't nearly as complicated as I originally thought. In the coming days I will try out the slow cooker and rice cooker functions because those are the things that interest me the most but, for now, it's all about the pressure cookery.

To get started, go on over to the Instant Pot Website for information, links to videos and tutorials and recipes.

I was given this Instant Pot to use and review but, as always, my opinions are my own.

Jackfruit Pozole

 makes about 5 quarts

Jackfruit is the perfect substitution for any dish that calls for pulled pork (Jackfruit pulled pork recipe)  but make sure you get the young, green jackfruit in water or brine NOT THE SWEETENED STUFF. It can be found in most asian supermarkets


*approx 9 cups vegetable stock
2 cups dried yellow corn hominy
about 1 tbls grapeseed or other flavourless oil
2 580ml/280g cans of young green jackfruit
1 red onion
3-5 cloves garlic
1 15oz net/780g net can poblano chilis, drained, seeded
1 820 ml/29 fl oz can tomatillos, drained
1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
2 tbls mexican oregano
2 tbls cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
approx 3 waxy potatoes, cubed

hominy after a good 15 hour soak

cook hominy:
soak 2 cups dried yellow hominy in 4 cups of water for at least 12 hours (up to 24 hrs)
drain the hominy and add to the pressure cooker with 4 cups of vegetable stock. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.

Open the pressure cooker using the natural release (wait at least ten minutes - if the pressure gage isn't down completely, release the rest of the steam before opening)
You can cook the hominy a day or two ahead of time if you like and keep it in the fridge.

Remove the hominy from the cooker, turn it off, rinse and dry the pot and put it back in the machine. Hit the saute button and then the pot is hot, drizzle in some oil to coat the bottom thinly.

Strain the jackfruit and discard the liquid. It comes out of the can in triangle shaped wedges so you just want to half or cut into three spears, core and all.

Sauté the chopped onion for a few minutes before adding in the garlic. After another minute, throw in the jackfruit and cook for another few minutes, stirring often.

Meanwhile, puree the tomatillos, poblanos and cilantro in the blender.
Pour that puree into the pot along with the hominy, add the cumin and oregano and salt, taste and adjust if needed.

Hit the cancel button, replace and lock the lid, press the manual button and cook for 10 more minutes at high pressure. When the time is up , release the pressure manually using the valve.

Open the lid and using a potato masher, mash the pozole until the jackfruit is shredded and looks like pulled pork. Throw in the potatoes, replace the lid and cook for 5 minutes.
Use the natural release again before you open the lid (this will take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes)

Serve garnished with thinly sliced or julienned radish, some slices of avocado, a wedge of fresh lime and some fresh cilantro. It's also good with fresh hot chili pepper, salsa, some tortilla chips.

vegetable stock
fill the pressure cooker half way with veg scraps
fill to the 4 qt level with water
tsp salt
cook for 15 minutes on high
leave it natural release
strain and fridge for 3 days or so or freeze