Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pressure Cooker- Risotto with Mushrooms and Bacon

For Christmas Santa brought me a nifty new kitchen toy: an electric pressure cooker. I have to admit I was rather surprised. A pressure cooker? Aren't those just for canning meat and low acid-type foods? Didn't Julia Child hate the things? Don't they blow up if you do something wrong?

With memories of Grandma shooing me out of kitchen whenever I got near her pressure pot lest I blow the place sky-high I let the beast sit on the counter while I decided what to do with it.

After kicking around several ideas I settled on risotto. I've had great success with Julia Child's French-style risotto recipe and it looked easy to adapt to the pressure cooker. Now, before you call the Paleo Police I do eat rice on occasion, along with full-fat dairy such as hard cheeses and heavy cream. I've found that these items don't bother me and, with nursing an infant, I need the extra carbs. There are only so many yams I can get down before I need something new.

While a tablespoon of butter melted in a fry pan I diced an onion. (Ghee would work instead of butter, or coconut oil.) Once the butter started to foam I added the onions and lowered the heat to medium-low.

I gently cooked the onions, occasionally stirring, until they were translucent and starting to caramelize. I added another couple tablespoons of butter, waited till it was melted, then mixed in the rice.

I slowly sauteed the rice to cook off any rice flour, this keeps the rice from being sticky. The rice is done when it turns a milky color-you can see on the spoon a raw grain (translucent) and a cooked grain (solid white). Once the majority of the rice was milky I dumped it all into the pressure cooker pot, added chicken broth and an herb bouquet, shut the machine up and hit the Rice/Risotto Button.

So easy I felt like I was cheating.

While the pressure cooker made weird hissing noises I wiped out the pan, diced the bacon, and started it frying on medium heat. I added a splash of water to the pan to help render as much of the bacon-y goodness out. When the bacon was near done I added the sliced mushrooms and stirred till everything was coated with bacon grease.

Remember not to crowd the mushrooms!

When the mushrooms had released their juices and were a beautiful brown I set the pan aside to wait on the rice. Soon the machine was beeping-that was fast!

After the pressure was released I removed the pot and stirred in the bacon and mushrooms and adjusted the seasonings with a few grinds of pepper and sea salt.

Verdict? Pretty tasty!

You can find the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. I or here (though Julia adds much more detail). Instead of putting the mixture in the oven put it in your pressure cooker and bring to the pressure up to High or 15 psi.

Once pressure is reached lower the heat to the lowest possible temp that will maintain the high pressure (this is where having the automatic Rice/Risotto feature is nice.) Allow to cook for 6 minutes, then use the Quick Release Method to release the pressure. All the broth should be absorbed, if some remains that's ok.

Fold in your extras (you can use anything-leftover veggies, meats, whatever you want!), replace the lid, and set aside for a few minutes. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid for a few minutes. Enjoy!

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