It’s no secret I wrote a book on pressure cooking this year. It’s done. It’s finally done! Yes, all 105 recipes, all 55 pictures (of the recipes alone), all anecdotes, all cultural references. All done. I spent the better half of last year and most of this year producing what I hope and pray is a book you will love and cherish and also eager to share with your friends and family. ‘Modern Pressure Cooking’ is my life’s work; at least the last two decades. I’ll get into the specifics of the book in a series of posts I’m working on and will soon share here on House of Bren. In the meantime, and because it’s Thanksgiving week, there was no better time to reveal some of the dishes I’ve carefully developed in the pressure cooker with the purpose of saving you copious amounts of time. I’m talking about the kind of time a new mother dream of having. After all, that’s the single most important selling point for owning and using one of those magical pots — to save time. We all need it a good deposit of minutes from where were can withdrawal a few here and there. The holidays are the time of year when life is just wonderfully hectic. Family’s is town. Kids are off. Friends drop on by; sometimes unannounced. Coworkers are plotting a potluck at work because they really want to taste some of your famous pecan pie. Your neighbor knocks on the door to compliment the whiff that’s permeating their front door but really it’s their way of inviting themselves to some… or even an kind manipulation into you making them one. Cuz you know…they just don’t sear round roast as well as you do.
So with all of the hurried anxiety of making dinner for more people than you normally handle, keeping it simple but delicious is the key to keeping sane. If you insist on dishes that are bit more cumbersome and time-consumeing, then for sure, having a pressure cooker or two or three is no-doubt the way you need to navigate your life for the next few weeks.
In my previous post, I shared a full menu you can enjoy making for your Thanksgiving and holiday shindigs. It’s fully rounded with main dishes, sides, deserted and cocktails. But they take time. A good amount of time. Here’s where I save your day! These dishes are some I know for sure are great for Thanksgiving and the holidays in general; and recipes you can make both conventionally and in the pressure cooker. Since I’m here as your bona fide pressure cooking evangelina, I have an obligation to offer you a high-quality, normally time-consuming, and very high in flavor menu you can make in about three hours. Even if you only have 1 pressure cooker. Each of one of these dishes are doable in no more than 30 minutes. Seriously.
If I was hosting dinner ate my place, this is what I’d make… all of it.
THANKSGIVING DINNER AT HOUSE OF BREN
Fig and Syrah Lamb Shanks
These sexy things hare are one of my fave dishes in the cookbook. They’re really aromatic, lean on fat, tender and juicy. Big on flavor. Simply gorgeous. Tho fig season is over, you can still enjoy dried mission figs the same. The fun challenge I extend is plating it in a rustic but elegant way.
Time: 40 minutes total
4-Cheese Truffle Mac & Cheese
This.right.here. is the baseline for all goodness in the way of pasta and cheese. It’s simply the most decadent thing in the savory realm I think I’m come up with in a long time. This cast iron vessel holds a combo of smoked gouda, havarti and two other lovely cheesed that marry well with the fresh thyme and sikly truffle oil. It’s heavenly, my friends. Super luscious. Super creamy. Super sexy. Think about it.
Time: 20 minutes total
Bacon Buttered Green Beans
I’ve been commissioned to make this healthy side dish for our family dinner. Nothing like taking two pounds of fresh string beans, trimming them and having them cook in just 8 minutes. While they’re cooking, hook up the super garlicky butter sauce that you’ll saturate the beans with. Let the bacon fat do its thing. Ultimately, you will sing praises to healthy vegetables.
Time: 8 minutes total
Bacon Lovers’ Brussels Sprouts
I don’t eat bacon but I had so much fun developing recipes with bacon, bacon fat, bacon-everything… truthfully, I had a great group of recipe testers that did the nibbling for me to ensure accuracy and total deliciousness. I may or may not have snuck in a few bites here and there. I mean, how could I not.
Of all the trendy vegetables making their cyber and magazine rounds, Brussel sprouts still hold good game. They just don’t need to go away. Ever. They’re not only cute, but have a considerable amount of nutrition and potential to be overwhelmingly delicious. As in this case. This super easy side dish is the perfect way to hook up the bite size cabbages. Add some black forrest bacon, red onion, special seasoning and in little time, you have a big bowl of pretty foods.
I share these dishes with you to inspire you create newness in your home with foods you may not have thought to prepare for the holidays but also to invite you to pre-order “Modern Pressure Cooking“! It’ll be on bookshelves on Dec. 13th, just in time for gifting, and available now on pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers. Time. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
From my very warm kitchen to yours, I wish you a lovely and peaceful Thanksgiving, filled with love, joy, great food and happy harmony.
Have questions about pressure cooking? Email me and I’ll be thrilled to get you started. For now, read these articles on the art of pressure cooking and how incredible it is.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.
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Bacon Lovers’ Brussel Sprouts
- ½ lb (225 g) sliced bacon, cut into ½ ” (1.3-cm) cubes
- 1–1 ½ tbsp (15–22 ml) olive oil
- 1 ½ lb (680 g) medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
- 5 cups (550 g) evenly sized mixed baby potatoes medley, sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 medium red onion, cut into ½ ” (1.3-cm) julienne
- 1 tbsp (14 g) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Herbed Chicken Stock (page 166), or store-bought
- 1 tsp (6 g) kosher salt or to taste
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat the stovetop pressure cooker over high or use the browning setting for the electric pressure cooker, and add the bacon. Cook for about 5 minutes, enough to render some fat. Lower the heat on the stovetop pressure cooker or cancel the browning setting for the electric pressure cooker and drain the bacon, transferring to a bowl and leaving the rendered bacon oil in the cooker. Add the olive oil and deglaze, scraping up any browned bacon bits. Add the Brussels sprouts. Cook over high heat in the stovetop pressure cooker or use the browning setting again for the electric pressure cooker, stirring occasionally, until most of the sprouts are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Return the bacon to the pressure cooker and stir. Lower the heat to medium for the stovetop cooker, or cancel cooking for the electric cooker. Add the potatoes, onion and butter and stir. Pour in the chicken stock and season with the salt and pepper. Close the lid.
Stovetop: Set to high pressure (15 PSI) and cook over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes total.
Electric: Set to high pressure (10–12 PSI) and 3 minutes.
When done, remove the stovetop cooker from the heat and transfer to the sink to release the pressure with a quick-release, or turn off the electric cooker and apply auto-release. When all of the pressure is out, adjust for salt and transfer to your serving dish.
B’S COOKING TIP: Make sure your sprouts and potatoes are roughly the same size. And, depending on both their sizes, you may wish to leave smaller ones whole and cook a little longer, up to 2 minutes, with the pressure cooker covered but without pressure.