Just to think– at any one time you’re just a couple hours away from this.
There’s one caveat, though.
You need one of these.
I was initially reticent to get on the pressure cooker train. I already had a slow-cooker, and heaven only knows I have enough gadgets, pots, and small housewares.
Further, I remember hearing horror stories of incidents involving pressure cookers in the past; a friend had one tuna incident go terribly wrong (the stink of exploding fish never did leave her cabinetry) and I’m not sure I wanted to go that route.
But the stories of successes with this seemingly-foolproof new kind of cooker started trickling in — from friends, readers who’ve written me, and, well, everywhere.
So I got my Instant Pot and I started to see how using it is great for making beans and legumes, and allows me to effortlessly end up with dishes like this on a relative whim.
It wasn’t until my cookbook club adopted Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant
and we all got together to eat recipes from it that I started to look at the Instant Pot as something capable of handling more than just grains and legumes.
We all showed up at Orly’s with dishes to share and even though this time there were just four of us, there was a terrific looking spread.
(I think the nicest thing about being part of a cookbook club is that it allows you to deep dive into a certain book– with minimal individual effort. And such great conversations about food!)
We enjoyed Rebecca’s rendition of Garlicky Cuban Pork, Orly made the Moroccan Chickpeas and Kale
and Kirsten made the Saffron Risotto.
I was intrigued by this recipe
so that’s what I made.
But here’s the deal with Instant Pot — it seems like there is a fair amount of trial and error. And sometimes it’s more complicated than other cooking methods.
For example, I followed that carrot recipe to a T not once but twice (the second time I scaled back the time) and both times I ended up with too-soft carrots. And it seemed like a lot of side hustle (you also saute as well as pressure cook).
The third time I eschewed the Instant Pot entirely and simply roasted these gorgeous rainbow carrots until just tender.
I kept the flavors the same and just swapped out the ricotta for some Israeli feta on the side, and topped with the Ancient Seed Blend from TJ’s and chopped pistachios.
I loved this dish — but would not attempt such a quick cooking vegetable again in this cooker when roasting was that much simpler and yielded better, more consistent results.
I loved the Garlicky Cuban Pork we had so much that night I made it myself a few days later for my family.
You start by browning the meat first — and you want to get a really golden, crispy crust on that meat.
Then into the pot it went and roughly 80 minutes later I had this sumptuous, fork-tender, and oh-so flavorful meat.
I shredded it, discarding any visible fat and then spread it out on a cookie sheet and put it all under the broiler for 10 minutes to crisp up the edges and it was fabulous.
While the meat had been cooking away I’d whipped up a couple different side dishes to go with it: a pineapple-mango salsa and a limey corn, avocado and pistachio salad.
So even though it didn’t even dawn on me to think about dinner until mid-afternoon,we were able to enjoy this kind of feast not that much later.
I bought some tiny street-taco-sized tortillas at the market, enabling us to wrap up all this goodness in three-bite portions.
I’m going to fiddle around some more with this pot in the weeks to come, but I think the machine is worth it for this kind of near-miraculous-quick-succulence alone.
Do you have a multicooker or Instant Pot? If so, what dishes do you like to make most with it?
In the meantime, wonder why he’s smiling?
It’s because he too gave that pork a try, enjoying a few bites in the garden — and his tail didn’t stop wagging for a solid minute.
Give this recipe a go– and just try to tell me it’s not some of the tastiest pork in all the land.
Happy Memorial Weekend, all!
- 8 garlic cloves
- Juice of 1 grapefruit (about ⅔ C.)
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
- 1 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1½ Tbs. kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 4 - 5 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
- hot sauce, for serving
- tortillas, for serving (optional)
- fresh tomato salsa, for serving (optional)
- In a blender or mini food processor, combine the garlic, grapefruit juice, lime zest and juice, 2 Tbs. of the oil, brown sugar, oregano, cumin and salt; process until blended. Transfer to a large bowl and add the pork and they bay leaf; toss to combine. Marinate, covered, at room temperature for an hour (or refrigerate for up to 6 hours).
- Using the saute function set on high if available, heat the remaining oil in the pressure cooker (or use a large skillet). Remove the pork from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and shake the meat to remove excess liquid. Cook until it is browned on all sides, about 12 minutes (you will need to do this in batches, transferring the browned pork pieces to a plate as you go).
- When all the pork is browned, return the pieces to the pot along with any juices from the plate. (If you used a skillet, add 1 Tbs. water and use a wooden spoon to scrape the skillet well to include all the browned bits stuck to the bottom.) Add the reserved marinated to the pot. Cover and cook on high pressure for 80 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
- Remove the pork from the cooking liquid (jus). Taste the jus, and if it seems too bland or too thin, boil it down either in the pressure cooker on the saute setting or in a separate pot on the stove until it thickens slightly and intensifies in flavor, 7 to 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and add a bit of salt if necessary. If you'd like ot degrease the jus, use a fat separator to do so, or just let the just settle and spoon the fat off the top.
- Shred the meat, using your hands or two forks. Toss the meat with the jus to taste (be generous-- 1½ to 2 C. should do it).
- Here's where I deviated from the recipe. At this point, I used only about a ½ C. of the jus on the meat and then spread the all the meat on a cookie sheet. I put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes until a good portion of the meat crisped up, giving you the benefits of both tender and a little crunchy with your pork. Up to you.
- Serve the meat atop rice or warm tortillas and don't be stingy with the cilantro, lime wedges and hot sauce.