Monday, September 17, 2012

Soup for the Soul

This past weekend, I decided it was high time to bust out my latest kitchen gadget: my pressure cooker. Granted, by latest, I mean that Justin bought it for my birthday back in July (sorry man, but the thing scared me a little)... Anyways, with it being September and the weather cooling off, it seemed appropriate to use the cooker to make some warming bone broth.

After doing my usual scouring of the vast web universe for the perfect recipe, I finally settled on one from Nom Nom Paleo (which is fast becoming one of my fave recipe sites. Come on now... She has 'NOM NOM' in the name... It has to be good!):

Quick Pressure Cooker Bone Broth

  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned and cut in half crosswise (I buy the pre-trimmed ones from Trader Joes’s)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into three pieces
  • 2.5 pounds of assorted bones (I use a mixture of chicken and pork bones from the freezer or cross shanks and oxtails)
  • 8 cups of water (enough to cover the bones but not more than 2/3rd the capacity of the pressure cooker)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Red Boat fish sauce

  • Dump the veggies in the pressure cooker (make sure it’s at least 6-quarts), toss in your bones (frozen is fine), cover with water (make sure you don’t fill more than 2/3rds capacity!), add the vinegar and fish sauce.
  • Lock on the lid and turn the dial to high pressure. Place the pot on a burner set on high heat. Once the indicator pops up showing that the contents of the pot have reached high pressure, immediately decrease the temperature to the lowest possible setting to maintain high pressure (low is normally adequate).
  • Set the timer for 30 minutes (I let it go for 50 minutes if I’m cooking meaty shanks or oxtails).
  • When the timer dings, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the heat. Let the pressure release naturally (10-15 minutes).
  • Remove the lid, skim of the scum (if you desire), and strain the broth.
  • I don’t parboil the bones to decrease the scum because I’m lazy. Plus, there really isn’t that much left after you strain it.
  • Faster and more flavorful than other methods. Really.
I didn't do much to alter the recipe. I didn't have any leeks or carrots (oops!), so I ended up using a rather large yellow onion and a few large cloves of garlic, smashed. I bought 2 lbs of grass fed beef shanks from the public market (Impressively, I actually had the forethought to place my meat order ahead of time, making the process soo much easier!)

After tossing everything in the pressure cooker, I realized that I had to use up all my nervous energy and proceeded to clean the entire downstairs of our place. The timer went off, I ran to the kitchen to take the pot off the heat and pretty much sat there, biting my nails while the steam released. I anxiously unlocked the lid and opened it up... The smell was AMAZING! 

I strained the broth and took the two large bones out and hungrily scooped out the best part of this whole process: the marrow! I LOVE THIS STUFF! It's fatty and rich! (I knew Justin was coming home momentarily, but he was not about to get these tasty morsels...) After my little marrow sidetrack, I tasted my broth: It's more rich and flavorful than any bouillon I had tasted before! This is going to become a staple in my kitchen from now on!

For those out there with a pressure cooker, this recipe is a MUST for the fall or whenever you need some lovin' for your bones! 

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