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What a pot, what a pot, what a mighty good pot

Hopefully you’ve now got a good ol’ Salt N Pepa chorus bouncing unceasingly around your cerebral orb. I’m in love with a pressure cooker. I know I’m still in the honeymoon phase, but seriously: did you know you can cook beetroots — whole beetroots! — in like twenty minutes? That’s so fast. That’s…like, stupid fast. I’ve been eating beets all week.

The pressure cooker is going from win to win. It’s most astonishing glory is stock. I’m not much of a fan of most pre-made stocks. The liquid ones tend to lean heavily on soy sauce for flavour (especially the vegetarian ones), and the stock cubes lean too heavily on msg. They’re not terrible, but they’re not great either. And now I’m dodging nightshades, that’s a big consideration: a lot use potato starches and tomato juices. So normally I make stocks on the fly: herbs, spices, mustard, salt, a little wine. They’re not bad, but M’s stock blows them out of the water.

He began by sauteéing some onion, then deglazing with a little white wine, before adding chopped carrots (tops attached), some leftover black beans from the other day, some more onion, the big green ends off the shallots, some broccoli stalks, some green beans, a generous sprinkling of salt and some dried, crumbled nori flakes. A few cups of water and the lot was brought up to pressure and cooked for 30 minutes. Then M switched it off, reduced the pressure and tasted it.

It was kind of amazing. Maybe a few kinds of amazing. It tasted like a refined vegetable soup, robust yet well-balanced, and altogether delicious.

This week it was used to make (a) a mixed-bean mixed-spice sauce to go with rice (also pressure-cooked, PRESSURE COOKER I LOVE YOU SO MUCH) and (b) a delicious pumpkin and zucchini soup, with bocconcini bobbing about in it. Photos not taken, but this should give you the general idea:


I tip my bonnet to M: I’ve always loved the idea of keeping scraps and boiling them up into a stock periodically, but the idea of having a massive pot boiling away for several hours generally didn’t appeal to me. It took M’s brain to figure that the pressure cooker could turn this into an easy job, and so a new tradition is born. Now there’s a scrap-bag in the freezer, into which we tumble our many veggie scraps over the weeks, and when it’s full, it’s time for veggie stock. Nice one!

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