Kitchen Swag: The Pressure’s On

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In the mid-20th century, pressure cookers were used for everything from main dishes and veggies to desserts. Now, more than half a century later, the contraptions are back in style.

Chef Jason Kendrick Vaughan, known as Chef JV, is a private chef in Tulsa that uses a pressure cooker on a regular basis and shares his thoughts on why this nostalgic appliance is making a reappearance in kitchens across the country.

“There are a few reasons for this,” he begins. “Our moms and grandmas could start with a tougher, less expensive piece of meat and end up with something that is fall-apart tender.”

Time is another factor. A piece of meat that might typically take six hours to cook can be done in a third of the time with a pressure cooker, therefore using less energy.

Chef JV goes on to explain that pressure cookers also help retain nutrients that are sometimes lost in other cooking methods.

When buying a pressure cooker, look for one that has a good consumer rating and is moderately priced.

Pressure Cooked Lamb

Makes 4 servings
3 lbs. lamb shoulder, cut into medium cubes
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 medium onions, large diced
1 tbsp. fresh basil chiffonade
2 c. vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. pepper
Salt and olive oil
Toasted pine nuts for garnish
1 tbsp. agave syrup 

Mix garlic, turmeric, cumin and oregano with three tablespoons olive oil to make a paste. Smear over lamb and chill for an hour.

With the lid off a preheated pressure cooker, add two tablespoons olive oil and sweat onions. Remove and set aside. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Add stock to deglaze with bay leaf and onion. Lock the top and pressure-cook for 35 minutes on high. Follow manufacturer’s directions on lid lock and release. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste and agave syrup. Remove bay leaf and serve.

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