The University of Oregon Ducks were ranked 2nd in the nation at the end of the regular season and earned a birth in the Rose Bowl on New Years day. I cooked some red beans and rice and had a few friends over at the last minute. You can read here about the good time we had and the startling coincidence of discovering two of our friends are semi-related.By virtue of beating the Florida State Seminoles they played for the national championship on January 12. So we invited the same set of friends plus a couple to watch the championship game.
It was also a chance for me to try out my new 6 quart electric pressure cooker; an Instant Pot IP Duo-60. Mike Vrobel of DadCooksDinner recently reviewed a number of PCs and this one was the winner. stove top PC but the ease of “set it and forget it” of an electric cooker got me interested. I make a lot of chicken broth in my Fissler 8-quart stove top pressure cooker. It’s dirt simple but I do have to monitor the pressure for about an hour. Really that means, lowering the temperature to a low simmer once it reaches pressure and reading a book or something for 45 minutes. I have never had to adjust the temp but I do have to hang around. The electric cooker holds the promise of true 1 touch (well up to 3 touches) cooking.
If you’ve held off on buying a pressure cooker because it might be dangerous, don’t wait. This cooker has about 10 safety features. The biggest safety draw for me is the fact that you don’t have to wait around to turn off the heat; it will do it automatically. This unit also triples as a rice cooker, slow cooker, and more (you can even make yogurt).
You can find Mike Vrobel’s recipe for Senate Bean Soup here; or my very slightly customized version here. The ingredient list is very simple. I made this dish last April after Easter when I had a ham bone to use. I didn’t have a ham bone this time so I dropped by Honey Baked Ham and asked if they had them for sale. Sure enough, at only $5.79/lb you get a nice end of a ham with plenty of meat on it. I got a chunk of ham that weighed in at 1 lb 12 oz. I couldn’t help but sample some when I was prepping
Once the ingredients were prepped, the pressure cooker is set to sauté and we brown the onions, carrots, and garlic in the butter. Then the ham bone, beans, chicken stock, salt, pepper and some water are added and the cooker is set to pressure cook for 12 minutes.
The stainless steel button to the right of the valve has risen and shows the cooker is up to full pressure. In a stovetop cooker we would have cooked the soup for 10 minutes, but the electric model cooks at a slightly lower pressure so we cook for 12 minutes. It also takes a bit longer to get to pressure and to release pressure naturally. Once the cooker gets up to pressure it displays a count down.
As the soup was cooking people began to arrive. Kara brought a fabulous triple chocolate cake. It was perfect. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to get her picture with the cake I would have let her take her work badge off.
John and Karen came with a seven layer dip. John fashioned the cheese and green onions to form a big “O” for Oregon.
We enjoyed the various treats people brought. Herb made some delicious meatballs; Mary Ann made guacamole; Elaine brought some fantastic artichoky, cheesy goodness.
Oregon scored the first touchdown of the game early in the first quarter and we were looking for them to roll like they did against Florida State. Alas, it didn’t end up our way. Ohio State dominated the front line and their star running back led the Buckeyes to victory. At half time we chatted a bit to take our minds off the game.
I’m not real comfortable taking pictures of people so I didn’t get serviceable shots of everyone.
When the cooker pressure released I took out the ham bone, shredded the meat from it and added it back in ready to be served for the second half.
There was a lot of fat on that ham bone. I skimmed some off the top; but probably not enough. Nevertheless it was a tasty dish.
There was a lot of good food and a good time. You can see we really dug into the treats.
Even though Kara couldn’t bring herself to watch the replays of Ohio State’s good plays, I think everyone had a good time.
The electric pressure cooker is slower than a stove top model but it earned its keep. I’ll be using it to make some simple chicken stock in a few weeks and post my results.