Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sundays with Sparky: Green Beans and New Potatoes

If you haven't yet discovered that I have a love affair with my pressure cooker, you will today.  You see, I often leave things until the last minute - which means the slow-cooked foods I loved felt out of reach until I was gifted with this wonderful appliance.  Modern pressure cookers are much less scary than the ones your grandmother might have used, and they cook tough meats to tenderness in almost less time than it can take to prep them.  (If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can do most of the same things in a slow cooker, but they'll take all day) My own pressure cooker does double-duty as a pressure canner - and when it met an untimely demise (it leapt - or was pushed - off the top of my refrigerator in the middle of the night,) I immediately went out and bought the exact same one.

Southern-style Green Beans with New Potatoes are a classic dish that the pressure cooker elevates to something really special - speedily!

001I like to make mine in a smoked-pork-neck stock, so I had Sparky and his buddy Dr. Lasergonopus help me cover pork necks in water, seal the lid of the pressure cooker, and bring it up to steam.  If you have a ham stock (or smoked chicken or turkey stock) already made, you can skip this step (and you are less than 10 minutes from your food being done!)

006After the indicator showed they were up to pressure, the pork necks cooked on low heat (even though this means they were held above the boiling point!) for 20 minutes, and then I turned the heat off and allowed them to cool while we prepped the potatoes and dug up my bag of frozen green beans.

The amounts in this recipe don't really matter - you need enough stock to cover whatever amount you're making of potatoes and green beans; just follow the directions on your cooker and don't overfill it. For six servings, we used a bag of tiny frozen green beans, about a pound of new red potatoes, well scrubbed, and I sliced one very small onion.

004Sparky and Dr. Lasergonopus cut the smallest potatoes in half, and the larger ones in quarters so it would all cook evenly.

010Once the pressure released, we opened the cooker and carefully added the potatoes, green beans and onion.  I then sealed the cooker and brought it up to temperature again, and then set a timer for 4 minutes.  You heard me - four.  That's all it takes.

I quick-cooled the pressure cooker by putting it in the sink and running cold water on it, and then we opened it up, fished out the neckbones with tongs and scraped off the meat with forks.  We then put the meat back in, tasted to see if we needed salt (it usually doesn't, but YMMV,) and served it up!  Delicious!

Green beans and potatoes cooked this way not only soak up the smoked pork and onion, but develop a velvety texture that is out of this world!



Anonymous said...

I dig it! Dinner tonight, TY!

Michele Hays said...

Good deal! Post back and tell us what you think!

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