A Perfect Pantry
Pressure Cooker Lamb Tagine
I am old enough to recall Pressure Cookers in their first incarnation and can tell you with confidence they were once a frightening appliance to use, prone as they were to exploding under pressure because their contents were inadequately sealed. Of course, their real value, that of speedy meals for time-poor families, made way for microwaves and an entire generation of cooks forgot all about them.
Thank goodness they are fashionable appliances again.
First of all, all the safety issues of the past have been addressed with special locks and switch off functions that make exploding pressure cookers a dim memory. It’s simply impossible to open a lid that is still under pressure.
So with that concern addressed, let’s look at all the good things about pressure cookers. Not only does it cut your cooking time down to less than a third but the pressurised process seals in all the nutritional goodness of the food, unlike microwave ovens for example. And unlike slow cookers, pressure cookers really DO reduce and intensify the liquid in your meal giving it that richness and depth of flavour of oven-cooked casseroles without the lengthy time involved.
And the best reason of all: It cooks cheaper, tougher cuts of meat to melting, unctuous perfection in an obscenely quick time. THIS is the appliance with which to cook chuck steak, lamb shanks, goat curries, hogget and mutton, beef cheeks and spare ribs to incredible tenderness. In fact I would go so far as to advice you to only use secondary cuts of meat in this appliance and to seek out the cheapest cuts you can. It even cooks chickpeas to silky softness in the tagine recipe below, meaning you can add them to your favourite curries and vegetable stews and get great results.
When Kambrook gave me a Pressure Express pressure cooker to test-drive I was blown away by the incredible functionality. It does everything you need to create a great casserole or braise in one pot in less than an hour. It sautés, meaning you can do everything to get a rich caramelised flavour into your meal in the one pot - or dry fry your favourite curry spices – without transferring from one saucepan to another.
Lamb Tagine Recipe
This lamb tagine recipe easily fed six hungry people and makes an economical and mildly spiced mid-week meal your whole family will love.
Prep Time: Overnight or 8 hours marinating/soaking plus 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, including sauté function
- 1 cup dried chickpeas OR 2 x 400g tins chickpeas
- 2 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 tbsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1½ tbsp paprika
- 1½ tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 x shoulder of lamb, boned, trimmed and cut into 5cm/2in chunks (about 1.2 kg in total)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed
- 600ml bottle passata
- 8-10 dried apricots, cut in half
- 8 dried figs, sliced thinly
- 250 ml chicken stock or water
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped, to serve
- Pita or Lebanese bread, to serve
- Green salad to serve
Begin the night before OR early in the morning before you head to work: If using dried chickpeas, cover them with cold water and leave for 8 hours or overnight to expand.
Place the sea salt flakes, chilli flakes, pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon in a large non-reactive bowl and stir it well to combine. Add the trimmed lamb chunks and toss the meat to thoroughly coat it in the spices. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and leave for 8 hours or overnight in the fridge so the lamb develops a wonderful flavour.
Set the Kambrook Pressure Express™ to Sauté function and press Start. Add the oil and heat it up then add the onion and garlic. Sauté for five minutes until the onions are soft and starting to colour. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Add the marinated lamb and sauté, in two batches, for five to seven minutes until the meat starts to brown on all sides. Do not clean out the pot.
Set the Kambrook Pressure Express™ to Soups/Curries. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, browned lamb and onions, the passata, chopped apricots and figs, stock and honey to the pan and give it all a brief stir to combine.
Place the lid of the Pressure Express on and lock it into place, making sure the steam valve is locked in place and turned off. Press Start and allow the timer to count down to the end of the cooking period. The entire cycle should take approximately 40 minutes.
When the cooking cycle ends, the pressure express will ‘beep’. Using oven mitts to protect your hands, turn the steam valve on and allow the pressure to release over the next couple of minutes. DO NOT attempt to open the lid until the steam has completely stopped.
Once the pressure has released you will be able to unlock the lid. Serve the tagine on a large platter with some coriander leaves scattered over the top, with fresh pita or Lebanese bread and a lovely green salad on the side and let everyone help themselves.
Recipe created and shared by Sandra Reynolds
Sandra Reynolds has written over 1000 nutritious budget-friendly recipes for her blog The $120 Food Challenge, surviving unemployment payments and Aldi checkout lines along the way and turned personal adversity into a thriving blog.
Her first cookbook, The $120 Food Challenge is published by Penguin Viking and Sandra is now writing her second cookbook. She still shops at Aldi every week.