As winter lags on in its traditional fashion, and my goal for February is to eat at home more often, JL Fields‘ new book – Vegan Pressure Cooking, couldn’t have arrived at a better time. It is a cookbook filled with straightforward recipes for hearty meals that are finished in an hour or less (including prep and cooking) and helpful advice on the hows and whys of pressure cooking.
First of all, a pressure cooker is a vegan’s best friend. I wish I had one of these in university, and I just wish I could hand them out to everyone looking to cook plant-based for less. With the initial investment of a pressure cooker pot (be it electric or stovetop), it pays for itself in time and the ability to cook dry beans quickly and easily (especially for people like me who
nearly never soak their dry beans or legumes.) But luckily for us, we didn’t even have to buy one ourselves – JC’s mom got us a shiny new InstantPot (an electric pressure cooker) for our Non-Denominational Family Gift Exchange last month, and ever since I’ve been using the heck out of it.
The nice thing about JL’s book is that it starts with a Pressure Cooker 101 – everything you might want to know about pressure cooking, but didn’t know to ask. With answers to questions like What kind of pressure cooker should I buy? and Will elevation affect cooking times?, and more. JL ends the introductory chapter off with incredibly helpful pressure cooking time charts which continue to be a great reference now that I feel more comfortable going rogue with my pressure cooking experiments.
The book is split up into useful functional chapters:
- Beans and grains
- Soups and stews
- One-Pot Meals
- Meal Helpers and Veggie sides
- Sauces and Dips
- Sweet treats
Each of these are broken down a bit further, but I found myself gravitating towards the One-Pot Meals and Beans and Grains (thanks to a fantastic subsection on hot breakfasts – & I don’t even normally like breakfast.) The lovely Apple Pie Steel-Cut Oats (page 48) was great at anytime of the day – I’ve had it breakfast and for a mid-afternoon snack. Plus JC liked it enough to make it again himself one morning.
I also saw “lazy” and “tofu scramble” and knew it was relevant to my interests. (Tofu Scramble, page 110)
I’m still likely to make tofu scramble in the traditional frying pan fashion, but this was a nice throw-everything-in-a-pot-and-eat-it kind of dish that I could see taking advantage of during one of those tofu-craving moments.
I also made the Basic Seitan on page 146, but didn’t dig the texture as much as I hoped I would (needed more gluten), but I breaded and fried it in the oven with positive results.
One of my favourite recipes was the New World Székely Goulash which I wanted to share with you – with the permission of the publisher. But then I realized it was already on the publisher’s page, so I’ve just posted the ingredients, along with a few notes, and my shiny mise en place/board of organization – which I’ve realized is the only way I’ll ever properly follow a recipe without making stuff up as I go along.
Then, through the magic of the internet and the pressure cooker, you can end up with a bowl of this tasty tasty goulash in a traditional(ish) Hungarian style in no time at all.
Where the usual meat in goulash is replaced with hearty chickpeas and calls to my Eastern-European roots with delicious sauerkraut and hefty spoonfuls of paprika. Worth noting however that in my experience dishes with sauerkraut can be a bit too much for (some) people – you might want to try this recipe after rinsing & draining the ‘kraut. As for me – bring it on. (I also added more paprika.)
1 cup (200 g) dried chickpeas, soaked for 12 hours or overnight (p.s. remember when I said I don’t soak dry beans? This recipe was no exception. I didn’t soak the beans. p.p.s this was not a good idea, and increased my cooking time by about double. Soak your damn beans people – don’t be a MeShell style pressure cooker.)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 cup (80 g) half-moon slices yellow onion (I used one chopped yellow onion)
1 1⁄2 cups (195 g) chopped carrots (this ended up being approximately 3 carrots)
2 tablespoons (14 g) paprika, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
2 cups (470 ml) vegetable broth
1 cup (245 g) tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
1 to 1 1⁄2 cups (235 to 355 ml) water, or as needed
1 teaspoon sea salt
32 ounces (896 g) sauerkraut, drained (for reference – I found that a 750ml jar of sauerkraut weighed approximately 825g)
1⁄2 cup (120 g) vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
NOW. It’s time for a Canada-Only giveaway.
To Enter: In the comments tell me about your experience with pressure cookers – good or bad, OR tell me which Vegan Pressure Cooking section your most keen on exploring. You can also enter a variety of ways on the Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post. Follow your heart. You can enter until Monday February 16th, 2015 – 12:00am EST. Winner will be announced and contacted by Monday February 16th, 2015 by 5:00pm EST. Please use a valid email address.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free review copy
Don’t Fear the Pressure Cooker.