There are few things in the world as scrumptious as slow-cooked, pull-apart, fatty meats. Are they healthy? Hell no. Can they be substituted or replaced? Hell no. One of the worst things about this technologically advanced world we live in is the inverse proportionality between our advancement as a civilization and our available free time. Do you remember slow-cooking stuff? I mean REALLY slow cooking?
I can remember digging holes in the late evening out at my uncle’s ranch, when I was really young. He’d start a large mesquite fire in the pit and when it ashed over, he would place large rocks into the embers. He would wrap a cow or pig or goat head in wet burlap and deposit it into the pit, and we’d fill the hole back in with dirt. In the wee hours of the morning, he’d dig up the head and place it on some sort of platter on the dining table. There was always a stack of tortillas, salsa, and salt, and the picking would commence. Mmm…goat eyes!
My family is a very busy one and crock pots would seemingly be ideal: just throw in the chunk of protein and a few other ingredients, set it to “low”, and it’ll be ready for dinner. I can’t do it. I have a fear and aversion to leaving anything cooking while no one is home. I’ve done it occasionally, but not without anxiety plaguing me. Enter the pressure cooker.
My wife purchased one of those fancy multi-purpose numbers and I was immediately enamored with it. This is not an advertisement, so I won’t mention it’s name, but suffice it to say that I should have gotten one of these things a long time ago. With a pressure cooker, you can get all-day crock pot results in as little as an hour, depending on the meat chosen. I would like to share with you how I did a lamb leg, creatively.
The leg of lamb I get come boneless and wrapped neatly in netted string. I get rid of it. I like to open the leg completely when slow cooking. I keep the netting on when roasting or smoking them. It makes for great slicing.
1 lg white onion, lg diced
2 medium peppers (red, green, orange, whatever), lg diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup white wine
1 cup beef broth
1 cup tandoori paste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
The first step is to brown the meat. For the browning, I only rubbed the leg with salt and pepper. Had I rubbed the leg with the tandoori paste before browning, I would risk burning the rub. The paste colors beautifully by itself and gains no advantage from browning. To do the browning, I used a large pan on the stove. The multi-function pressure cooker does have a Saute option, but only one third of the surface area of a large pan and not nearly enough heat for a good, crispy sear. In fact, the only portion of this process that took place in the pressure cooker was the pressure cooking itself, along with a bit of sauce reduction.
After browning the leg, I rubbed all all over with the tandoori paste and set it aside as I sauteed the onions and peppers in all that brown goodness left from searing that we call fond. Once I was satisfied with the saute, I added the tomatoes and cooked them down a bit and then deglazed with the wine. I cooked the wine off, poured the beef broth in to the pressure cooker, as well as the lamb, and the contents of the saute.
I set the pressure cooker to High and one hour and forty-five minutes and tossed in another bit of salt and pepper for good measure.
That’s it. That is all. Finito. The simplicity of this recipe is only overshadowed by the ridiculous advantage provided by the pressure cooker. Bon apetit!