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As summer winds down and I head to the back of my closet to pull out my sweaters and jeans. I also start yearning for comfort foods like stews and hearty soups. Over the weekend we head out to make the rounds at our favorite food marts. Just as we find short ribs for a delicious hearty Korean stew called Khal Bi Jim we spy right next to the short ribs…oxtails.
Are you thinking what? Oxtails? Are they really…swish, swish, yep, they are. Haven’t tried them? The meat is rich and flavorful. It has a bit more texture than short ribs and if you like chomping on bones, you’ll love oxtails. There is another reason to give this recipe a whirl….
INSTANT POT. I google oxtails, pressure cooker and the blog Korean Bapsang pops up with a recipe for Koriijim or braised oxtails. Bingo. Normally oxtails need quite a bit of time braising to get to the tender fall off the bone stage which is generally around 3 hours. This means starting pretty darn early in the day to have dinner on the table at a decent time. This time? I browned the oxtails, poured the marinade/sauce over the meat and topped it with carrots, potatoes and onions. I twisted the lid on and set the cook time to 45 MINUTES. Yep, not a typo-45 MINUTES. Whoa, less than half the time to cook this dish. WOOHOO. The recipe calls for onions, mushrooms and carrots. I like lots of vegetables so I added potatoes and extra carrots. I might even add squash or another root vegetable like parsnips next time. If you don’t have dried shiitakes you can use fresh mushrooms. The recipe calls for a Korean plum sauce, maesil cheong, a sweet-sour sauce often used as a sweetener. Not having any I decided to use Chinese plum sauce which may be totally off base but its what I have and it is sweet and a bit tart. You can skip it altogether and use sugar and honey, 1 tablespoon of each.
Classic Asian flavors-soy sauce, sesame, garlic, ginger and onions in a hearty, down-home stew. Delicious. As the weather starts to cool try this dish. If you are really not thrilled with oxtails try this with bone-in short ribs cut into 2-3 inch pieces (ask your butcher) just as tasty. I love autumn.
- 3 to 4 pounds oxtail
- 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
- 2-3 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 white potato cut into large chunks (Yukon Golds for a less starchy, russets for starchy)
- 3 to 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, briefly soaked and quartered (use fresh mushrooms if not available)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice wine (or mirin a sweet Japanese cooking wine)
- 1/2 medium Asian pear (or 1 bosc pear or apple), grated
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 inch ginger, grated (about 1 teaspoon)
- 3 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 3 tablespoons maesil cheong (or 1 more tablespoon honey or sugar)
- pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 scallions, roughly chopped (and some finely sliced for optional garnish)
- sesame seeds-toasted
- Trim off excess fat. Rinse the oxtail pieces and let them sit in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes to draw out excess blood. Drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Press the “Saute” button on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil. Sear the oxtail pieces in two batches, browning all sides. Or sear in separate pan and place in Instant Pot
- Combine ingredients for braising liquid and pour the braising liquid over oxtails. Add the vegetables.
- Close the lid tightly. Press the “Meat” function, and using the “+” button, increase the time to 45-48 minutes. 48 minutes for softer meat. When finished, the Instant Pot will automatically turn to the “Keep Warm” mode. Leave the pressure cooker alone for about 10 minutes before opening the lid.
- Stir in the scallion and the sesame oil. Remove the meat and vegetables from the pressure cooker. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl to skim off the fat. Pour sauce over the ribs.
- Garnish with the optional scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with hot rice.
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Friday night, its Cinco de Mayo! Time to make something yummy, kickback, relax and catch up on one of my favorite TV shows, Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. This episode features the Los Angeles Mexican community thus making my dinner choice easy, Chile Verde. I am stoked.
When I was a kid our Friday night ritual was Swanson’s TV dinners (turkey for me, meatloaf for my brother) in front of the tube. A multi-course meal contained in a cool space age aluminum tray with individual compartments for each course (so cool). Later Swanson’s added a little square squished between the veggies and potatoes like a tiny jewel box. It contained a perfect 2-bite apple cobbler or brownie. Since we ate Chinese food most of the time a meal of roast turkey or fried chicken was a special treat. To top it off we got to watch The Flintstones while we were eating and then Jiffy Pop to finish the evening (kids ask your parents about Jiffy Pop or watch Real Genius). The best, Friday nights were the bomb.
So there we were on Cinco de Mayo, sitting back on the couch with bowls of steaming hot Chile Verde and warm corn tortillas watching Bourdain gettin’ real with the homeboys in Eastside LA. Traditions should #persist don’t you think?
Still on my Instant Pot jag I searched for a recipe for a Chicken Chile Verde in a pressure cooker. I found a couple that sounded good so I decided to do a mash-up. I started with a recipe from Serious Eats by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. Really difficult (NOT)-chopped tomatillos, jalapeños, poblanos & Anaheim peppers, add chicken thighs and legs, toasted cumin seeds, salt, bunch of garlic, a white onion also chopped and throw it in your pressure cooker. Seal, set and dinner…It’s yours (Thank you, Stevie). Yep, thirty minutes later eating Chile Verde. Happy Cinco de Mayo.
Serious Eats adds a bit of Thai fish sauce at the end for that secret flavor bomb. Surprisingly it does round out the flavor. I like lots of veggies so I included potatoes and if my kids were home I would have added corn. I also added a pinch of oregano, fresh ground pepper and some smoked paprika. Delish.
You can substitute pork for the chicken for a classic Chile Verde. Use 3-3.5 pounds of Pork Shoulder (aka pork butt) cut into 2 inch pieces. Set Instant Pot for 30 minutes and use quick release. Also Delish.
The recipe makes a lot of sauce, so save the extra sauce to make some awesome enchiladas.
- 3 pounds skinless chicken thighs or legs
- ¾ pound tomatillos (3-4 large tomatillos), quartered, husks discarded
- ¾ pound poblano peppers, halved with seeds and stem removed
- ½ pound Anaheim peppers, halved with seeds and stem removed
- 2-3 jalapeño peppers, halved with stem removed (you can remove the seeds if you don’t want the heat – make sure you wear gloves or thoroughly wash your hands after cutting, trust me)
- 1 white or yellow onion, quartered
- 1 russet potato cut into good size chunks (6 pieces)
- 6 medium whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds toasted and ground
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- Sour cream
- avocado-sliced or cubed
- red cabbage-shredded
- Corn tortillas
- Place chicken, vegetables and seasonings except fish sauce in Instant Pot bowl.
- Cover and seal pot making sure vent knob is set on sealed
- Select poultry or manual cook mode
- Adjust cooking time to 30 minutes using the +/- timer
- When Instant Pot beeps the cooking cycle is complete. Carefully release pressure by moving top knob from sealing to venting.
- Once pressure is released, uncover.
- Remove chicken and potato chunks and reserve in bowl.
- Add fish sauce to pot. If you have an immersion blender, puree vegetables in Instant Pot to desired consistency or spoon vegetables and liquids into a blender to puree.
- Shred chicken
- Add potatoes and chicken to pureed sauce.
- Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas
- Garnish with cilantro, shredded cabbage, avocado