Monday, March 14, 2016

Non-Beef and Barley Stew in the Instant Pot

This was a riff on a recipe from Straight Up Food that I saw on Facebook.  It depended heavily on lots and lots of mushrooms for it's meatiness, which I did not have, so I did what I always do - wing it.  I seldom have a disaster when I wing it, and sometimes, I get serendipity.  Today was serendipity, for sure - it was absolutely fantastic, and tasted curiously meaty,

I had about a half cup of barley that I had been meaning to put into soup, so today was the day.  I already knew that I was going to make the soup in the instant pot, and since the pot really intensifies flavors, I didn't bother sauteing the onions and garlic - I just dumped all the ingredients in the pot, poured the liquids over and put the lid on. I didn't even stir it, but it came out perfectly.

I needed to use up my potatoes, some old carrots and slightly limp celery. Never let it be said that Josie Cieri's granddaughter threw food away if she could help it!  Here is the recipe:

Non-Beef and Barley Stew in the Instant Pot

7 or 8 smallish potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch dice
1 small head celery
4 large carrots, chunked
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 C tomato paste
1/4 C Better Than Bouillion Mushroom Base (or veggie broth of your choosing)
1/2 C pearled barley
1 1/2 heaping Tbs minced garlic
1 Tbs dried Italian herbs (yes, I do have a small supply - I just never use them for Italian food, mostly because I am Italian - but Herbes de Provence would be yummy, too)
1 heaping Tbs paprika (next time, perhaps the smoked paprika?)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
5 C water
1 C wine (yes, I finished the bottle - it was a pinot noir)
frozen peas
no salt and no pepper

Threw everything into the IP, locked the lid in place, and pressed the soup button. 30 minutes later, it was done to perfection.  I stirred a half pound of frozen peas into it, and called it done.

This was very substantial and thick, and quite filling. I think it could be flavored any number of ways, and when I'm eating meat again, I'm going to cube some beef stew meat, add some pickles and pickle juice and dill and call it Rassolnik (Russian Pickle Soup) which sounds weird but is truly yummy.

Next week, I'm going to replace the Italian herbs with dill, use any old veggie broth, keep the paprika and rosemary, add a little beer maybe, some cabbage, and use up two cans of diced beets that I have. A splash of vinegar or lemon juice in the bowl, and I'll have something quite borscht like.

If you don't have an instant pot, check it out. I've had a lot of appliances: I've used four different stove top pressure cookers, numerous rice cookers, steamers and crock pots, and quite honestly, absolutely nothing can compare with the instant pot.  It is absolutely, hands down, my favorite appliance.  I don't get paid to sing the praises of the Instant pot - I'm just a really, really satisfied customer.

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