2-3 tbl olive oil (seperated)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Slow Carb Friendly lamb w/lentils and spinach....and reminding you again why you should pressure cook!
I'm lovin' my PC lately.....so many advantages of using one. Top 3 reasons why? Stock, dried beans, legumes and grains, & inexpensive cuts of meat that cook so tender that the meat falls off the bones.....and all in record time!
I haven't bought chicken stock, or any kind of stock, in forever. Not only have I not bought any, I get it for free, and it's more nutritious and taste better! The very first cooking lesson I took was about stocks and broths. I couldn't imagine why anyone would need stock, or how to use it. I probably never made a pot of soup either....and I was 32 years old! Little did I know how stocks can be the foundation of so many recipes. Now? Good Lord, I make all kinds of stocks from chicken to corn to mushroom to shrimp....etc. Using bones, veg parts, corn cobs, mushroom stems, shrimp shells....little goes to waste.
I save tons of money by using dried beans, legumes and grains....and I make them more nutritious by cooking most of them in....ta-da, my own stocks! Getting in the habit of soaking beans is easy and if all else fails a bag of beans cost $.99-$1.99 so throwing them away is not so painful. Usually I just put pre soaked beans in the fridge up 2-3 days until I can get to them. I can always cook them for another time, or make a bean spread.
My PC allows me to use inexpensive cuts of meat that ususally come "bone-in". I save money, I save time, and again, add nutrition and flavor. Shoulder/butt, rib, and shank cuts that would take up to 2 1/2 hours to braise in the oven, or on top of the stove, take 1/3 of the time, and come out "falling off the bone" tender. Who could ask for anything more?
The only thing you need to be aware of is that inexpensive cuts of meat for braising (now pressure cooking) tend to have alot of fat. Shoulder cuts, country style ribs and short ribs, etc. Once cooked and refrigerated it's easy to seperate the fat that solidifys and floats to the top. But if you are eating right away then just appreciate all of the greasy goodness and call it a day!
Lamb shoulder chops were the least expensive cut of lamb at Whole Foods the other day. $5.99 compared to $8.99 or $9.99 a lb....and they had a bone! Lucky for me I now how to cook them. Here is an Indian spiced dish that I made yesterday morning.
Lamb w/lentils and spinach
2-3 tbl olive oil (seperated)
2-3 lbs lamb shoulder chops (about 4 lg chops, bone-in)
2 onions diced
3 celery stalks diced
2-3 tbl garam masala (indian spice blend)
1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
8-12 c. water or stock (I used water because I had bones in my lamb)
2-3 cups lentils (I used 1 1/2 c. each of brown and green lentils)
1 6-8 oz bag of baby spinach, or one bunch of fresh spinach washed
S & P
Heat 1-2 tbl of oil in PC, brown lamb chops in two batches, set aside. Heat remaining olive oil and saute onion and celery until translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala over sauteed vegetables, stir and heat until fragrant (about 1-2 minutes), add tomato paste, stirring to mix with the rest until starting to dry a bit from the heat of the pot (about 1 min.).
Add about 1 c of water to scrap up the bits on the bottom of the pot (deglaze) and then add the reamining water or stock. Rinse lentils (optional) and add to the pot along with 1-2 tsp of salt. Put the browned shoulder chops back in, cover and lock lid in place.
Bring pressure to high, lower and cook for 25 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Open lid, take out the lamb chops. Stir in spinach handful by handful to wilt in the heat of the lentils.
You can serve the chops whole with the lentils and spinach, or you can shred the meat and add back into pot with the rest of the cooked ingredients.
This recipe makes about 3-4 qts of stew.