Thursday, 9 September 2010
I love slow food. I love stews and casseroles and curries and all those wonderful dishes that take the (often cheaper) cuts of meat and cooks them long and slow until they are falling-apart tender and full of flavour. We have a slow cooker that we use quite often, but both D and I are a little apprehensive about the safety of leaving it on while we are out. This is despite multiple uses with no issues while we are home, but hey, we're all a bit irrational at times.
My mother knew about our slow cooker adventures and our related issues and kindly surprised us with a present: a new pressure cooker. This way we can get the same slow cooker flavour and texture without the time, so we could even indulge on weeknights. It is a fabulous present and I couldn't wait to get cooking, except I have an irrational pressure cooker fear.
I have never had a pressure cooker before and we didn't have one (that I know of) while I was growing up either. I've read stories about pressure cookers exploding and that was enough to make me quite apprehensive about our new kitchen toy. The instructions were a little too brief for my liking too. When you're a bit nervous, you like having a tome of warnings to go through. Well, I do anyway. I like to know my risks. The little booklet was quite light on the warnings. It did recommend starting out with a pot of water first, to practice getting the cooker up to pressure and then cooling it down again.
I did this three times. I like to be thorough. There are photos. No, you can't see them.
Once I worked out the sound I was listening for and what to look for to show it was pressurised or not, I started to feel a lot more comfortable about the whole thing. Then I needed to decide what to cook in it.
I was surprised at the lack of pressure cooker recipes around the place. I mean, there are still lots and lots of recipes out there, but they aren't nearly as common as recipes for the slow cooker. In the end I decided to try the sole pressure cooker recipe in my delicious bookmarks, a Pulled Pork Sandwich from Not Quite Nigella.
I love the idea of meaty saucy sandwiches and this was the epitome of recipes. The sauce was a flavour-packed combination of oniona, garlic, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar and seasonings. It smelled incredible. I love Worcestershire sauce. Any recipe containing Worcestershire is a win for me. I have not met one I didn't like.
I had some fun with the ketchup too. I did some research into the difference between what we call ketchup/tomato sauce and the American version. I am not a fan of tomato sauce generally, it's far too sweet for me. I discovered that the American version is less sweet and contains vinegar and a good substitute in Australia is Heinz Tomato Ketchup. We bought a bottle and I am definitely a ketchup convert. It's the way tomato sauce should taste!!
Our previous forays into the meaty sauce sandwich recipes have all been made with beef because D is not a pork fan. This was made during my Momofuku Cooking Weekend and the house was already full of pork so D kindly allowed me to try this recipe as written, using two pork tenderloins. I told him that if all goes well, the meat should be so saucy he won't be able to taste the fact the meat was pork.
NQN suggests cooking the pork for 55mins on setting 2. As I said before, my pressure cooker was a little light on the instructions, so I used my red valve. I understand that red means high. I think that this was a little bit long for the size of my tenderloins, the pork was a tiny bit overcooked. I'm much better at gauging the cooking time now and I would probably have stopped it at 45 minutes.
The pork was very easy to pull apart after cooking and I tossed the shredded pork in the pan drippings in lieu of BBQ sauce. It was very rich and delightfully saucy. It was even better on toast!
This recipe was a very successful debut for the pressure cooker. I've got lots of ideas for it now!
See this post on Not Quite Nigella for the recipe.