There was violent shaking and a constant hissing and I remember my grandfather shouting "she's going to blow!" Of course this is what he said every time my grandmother used her pressure cooker. As a child I didn't know whether to believe him or not. The lid never did blow off the top but I was always very careful about being in the kitchen whilst the pressure cooker was on the stove.
About six months ago I purchased a pressure cooker from Costco. I had every intention of opening it right away and learning how to use it to make some delicious soups, stews, and corned beef, just like my grandmother did. Something always seemed to hold me back and the box was placed back in the cupboard.
Finally I took the plunge by taking a class taught by Alyssa Moreau called Cooking Under Pressure. This non-credit class took place at the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, located in the Kapiolani Community College. It was a hands-on class and we were encouraged to bring our own pressure cookers so that we could get to know them better. I was going on a date with my pressure cooker! The other great thing about the class was that we were going to make four dishes - Kabocha-Hominy Stew, Sweet Potato-Corn-Kale Soup, White Bean Stew with Salad Greens on Top, and a Double Mushroom-Barley Soup. After a brief demonstration of the dishes by Alyssa we were ready to go. We split into kitchens and worked in teams so that we could complete all of the dishes in four hours. All of the ingredients had been allotted to us but we were responsible for the peeling, chopping, and measuring them. It was a blast and we were able to bring home the dishes we cooked, as well as the left-over ingredients so that we could get some additional practice at home.
|Our instructor Alyssa Moreau.|
The recipe I am featuring in this post is the Kabocha-Hominy Stew. Since I had the additional ingredients from the class I decided it would make a great dinner, with a nice loaf of crusty bread on the side. The only changes I made were to some spinach at the end and, although the original recipe called for cayenne to be added at the end of the cooking time, I didn't want any additional heat so I left it out. I have never tried hominy before but I liked it in this stew. If you don't care for it feel free to substitute a can of corn in this recipe. This recipe was provided by the Alyssa and so I am not sure if it is one of her recipes, or if it came from a cookbook.
After taking the class I can honestly say that I am no longer afraid of my pressure cooker. Our instructor, Alyssa, also recommended the book Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass. I have requested it from the library so I can take a look before buying it. I also did a quick web search and found that Lorna Sass has her own blog called Pressure Cooking with Lorna Sass.
Kabocha-Hominy Stew(Printer Friendly Recipe)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups kabocha, chopped into 1 1/2 inch chunks
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 (15oz) can hominy, drained
- 2 tablespoons rice flour (or corn flour)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 4 cups of spinach
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- Mix flour and water together to make a slurry.
- Dry toast the cumin in a saucepan. Remove from pan.
- Heat oil in the same pan and add the cumin seeds, onion, and honey and saute until onion is lightly browned.
- Add chili powder and garlic to saucepan and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the onion mixture, kabocha, and hominy to the pressure cooker and cover with broth.
- Place lid on pressure cooker and bring up to pressure, then reduce heat to maintain pressure and cook for 5 minutes.
- Take off heat and release pressure.
- Uncover and add in the flour slurry and stir until the stew is thickened.
- Stir in the bell pepper, spinach, and cilantro and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Season with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about 4 servings.
Recipe courtesy of Alyssa Moreau - Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College.