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Archive for June 10th, 2011

Brunswick Stew, The Finale

10 Jun

K: I’m going to use this third, and final, post on our adventures with Brunswick Stew to begin my efforts to convert each and every one of you into users of the workhorse of my kitchen, one that we could not live without. Sure, there will be a recipe, and the ingredients will be the same as before – that being the point and all – but instead of nine hours on the stove, or even 14 in the slow cooker, I did my version in under three. Not that three hours is FAST, mind you, but it’s better than nine or 14, and I was giddy to find that I got nearly the exact same texture, structure, and flavor as we did on the stove. That makes this stew far more likely to get regular rotation in my house.

What is this magical item? It’s a pressure cooker. Wait, don’t go yet. Yes, I know all the same horror stories you do about exploding pots, or those bobbing weight thingies blowing off and sending lava-hot tomato juice spewing into every corner of the kitchen, even potentially injuring someone, BUT today’s pressure cookers are completely different animals and incredibly safe. My PC gets constant use, and is second only to my 3rd generation cast iron frying pans in its usefulness in my kitchen. It is the one thing that makes it possible for me to home cook 90% of the food we eat, despite having a small child in a 2-working-parent family, both with demanding careers. Honestly, amazing beef stew in 20 minutes? Best chili you’ll ever make in less than 30 minutes? LIFE SAVER. I won’t spend a ton of time on this here, there’s a lot of information out there on this newer breed of pressure cookers. One good place to start (after you’re finished Googling) is at Lorna Sass’s blog. She has several exceedingly good books on the topic, bibles really, one of which, Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker, has seen more use than my Taste of Georgia cookbook, and people….that’s saying something. For anyone interested, this is my baby, and you will have to pry her from my cold, dead hands to take her from me. Trust me on this pressure cooker thing, you won’t be sorry.

This also wraps up the ‘more than you ever wanted to know about Brunswick Stew’ section of this blog. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for strawberry season.

Recipe: Brunswick Stew (Pressure Cooker)

Summary: Small batch, pressure cooker version of the original recipe to fit a 6-7 qt cooker. Sadly, no squirrel.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Chicken – just cut a fryer in half
  • 1 lb Pork – Butt or Shoulder
  • 1/2 lb Beef – I used basic stew meat
  • 1 Onion, large – peeled and chopped
  • 20 oz Butterbeans – fresh or frozen
  • 2 lb Potatoes – washed, peeled, and quartered
  • 2 qt Tomatoes – canned
  • 24 oz Corn kernels – fresh or frozen
  • 1 Tbs Salt, divided
  • 1 Tbs Pepper, divided
  • 2 oz Butter
  • 1 T Vinegar
  • 3 T Ketchup
  • 5 tsp Sugar

Instructions

  1. Place meats, onion, and 1 tsp each salt and pepper in PC and add 4 cups of water.
  2. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for your PC, close lid, bring to high pressure, and cook for 1 hour.
  3. Quick release pressure, stir well to facilitate fishing out any bones, then add butterbeans and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, return to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Quick release again, add potatoes and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, return to high pressure, cook for 40 minutes.
  5. Quick release, add tomatoes and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, return to high pressure, cook for 20 minutes. (At this point I was pushing the fill limits of my PC, so do watch for that if you have a smaller pot. If that’s an issue, at this point you can simply keep the lid unlocked and continue cooking as if this was a regular pot. It will take a little bit longer, but is better than a clogged steam vent on your PC.)
  6. Quick release one more time, add corn and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, return to high pressure, and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. One last quick release here, and then add the butter, vinegar, ketchup, and sugar. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 mins.
  8. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and serve.