Monday, February 8, 2010

The Pressure is On...

This dinner that I am going to tell you about actually happened last week, but with busy events and so on it has not posted itself and therefore I must do it.  So as the story goes; I have a shiny (very shiny) new pressure cooker never been used and I have been feeling the pressure to make a mighty fine dinner in this shiny new pot.  It was just begging for its debut on my stovetop stage.  And let me tell you... its debut was delightful, delicious and wonderfully tender. If you are hesitant at trying out a pressure cooker, do worry about a thing.  It was super easy and you will be pleasantly surprised.

One little side note: You will soon learn that in my kitchen we eat many different kinds of meat; there is venison (deer, moose, elk), beef, lamb, pork, poultry and hopefully some duck and goose soon as well.  I love to try different meats, they all give such unique flavours.  I believe that everyone should try all different meats before they create an opinion of them, especially venison.

In my shiny new pressure cooker I made Moose Mushroom Stew and here is what I did.
For the mushroom part of this recipe I wanted to use cream of mushroom soup, but I did not have the canned variety so easiest solution was to make my own mushroom soup!

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large deep frying pan or medium sauce pan, fry 1 large onion (thinly sliced) until golden.  Add 250 g of sliced mushrooms and saute for another 5-6 minutes.  (Try not to over crowd the mushrooms, they will turn nice and golden if they are not too crowded.) Add in 1/4 cup all purpose flour and stir.  Pour in 2 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (I used mushroom stock but any kind of soup stock will work).  At this point you could add on a little bit of dried herbs sage, oregano and thyme would be nice additions. Simmer this until the soup has thickened.
While the soup is simmering, make a dry mixture of 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder, salt & pepper.  Put all of this in a shallow plate and dredge your stew meat and pan fry until there is a nice golden crust around each stew piece.  Once the stew pieces are all golden add them to the pressure cooker pour in the soup and add in a few handfuls for chopped carrots.  Make sure that you have enough liquid in the cooker and tighten the lid on.  Each pressure cooker maybe a little different so double check the instructions for how often the pressure regulator should rock.  Be aware that your stew will cook very fast, I had to call the cooking 101 hotline (Mom) to find out just how quickly this actually does cook.  It was about 25-30 minutes and I had a perfect melt in your mouth stew.  It was like I had slaved over a hot stove all day, but in reality... no where near that amount of time or effort.  I did however find out that I could have taken my stew off the burner in as little time as 20 minutes.  Something to remember next time.  One thing that I found out that was very interesting was in order to lower the pressure quickly and safely you can run cool water over the lid and the pressure regulator will stopped rocking very quickly.  Cooking 101 hotline told me that it is very important to NOT take off the pressure regulator too early, this could cause a catastrophic explosion in the kitchen and therefore no dinner for you.

The pressure cooker is a weird kitchen gadget and not every kitchen is equipped with one.  But now I am a firm believer that once you have tried it you too will find a spot in your kitchen for this weird and yet amazing gadget.  

That is all for now, I am off to dream about my Valentine Cookies.  I am beginning to think of a new cookie recipe so stay tuned for that!


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