A Perfect Pantry

Pressure Cooker Lamb Tagine

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    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. 

    Serves 6

    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.

    b2ap3_thumbnail_image005.jpgRecipe 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.


    • Economies of Kale 12 May 2013

      I love my slow cooker for making curries and using cheap cuts of meat, but I'm not always organised enough to get a meal on in the morning. I would love to try out a pressure cooker to make delicious quick meals :)

    • Jackie 12 May 2013

      Perfect for quick curries and casseroles with cheaper cuts of meat for my hungry horde on those cold winter nights. I've always been to scared to use one because of disastrous memories from childhood when my mum used hers!

    • lina 13 May 2013

      Looks like the perfect addition to my stash of kitchen appliances - especially now that I don't have lots of time or money. Bring on the tasty lamb shanks!

    • Sarah C 13 May 2013

      We have three children, 5 yrs and under. With our youngest being 16m and weighing under 8 kilos, he is on a high calorie diet (dietitian recomm.) of hot chips, sugar etc. As a family we eat whole foods as much as possible. A pressure cooker will enable me to quickly prepare NUTRITIOUS food suitable for all five of us. 'Lamb shanks'... yummy

    • Bec 13 May 2013

      I have a child at school, one at kinder and a 10 month old. I am very busy. This cooker would help provide some lovely dinners for during the busy week. My taste buds are tingling thinking about it.

    • Connie Fatouros 13 May 2013

      I have always wanted one but just never got around to buying one. So this would be a good kick start to start using a slow cooker. Especially with 5 members in our family, working and after school activities, takes a toll on the chef (ME!). Thank you.

    • Antonia 13 May 2013

      A culinary gadget that might even tempt my teenage boys to have a go at feeding themselves (and the rest of us). Great invention! Nostalgia and food rolled into one, love it!

    • Michelle C 13 May 2013

      I'm from the rockin' Pressure Cooker regularly exploded generation. My first meal for my family of 6 would be my mums adhoc casserole that always taste like warm wintery nights at home but cooked in under 1hr.

    • Mum of Three Ravenous Boys 13 May 2013

      Many times I wish I'd put a Massaman Curry in my slow cooker and find I've run out of time to have it ready for tea, this pressure cooker would solve this problem beautifully and reduce the sauce as well. :D

    • butterfly 4 13 May 2013

      Looks like a luscious, lovely lamb recipe - can't wait to try it! It would be a huge help to have a pressure cooker. I've heard so much about them but don't have one. I would love to get a bit more experimental with one!:p

    • jane 13 May 2013

      i would love to win a pressure cooker.not only to save time but to keep my electric costs down.3hrs for lamb shanks in the oven v 20minutes in a pressure cooker.please help me to keep my electric bill down and serving healthy delicious meals for my family.

    • Shayne Larratt 13 May 2013

      On a cold afternoon Mum would throw a stew in the pressure cooker and in no time a healthy dinner was put on the table! I want to do that! ;)

    • Jennifer B. 13 May 2013

      In a country farmhouse where the wood stove's now dead,
      A Kambrook Pressure Cooker would quickly move mealtimes ahead.
      Minestrone for lunches, hearty beef stews for tea...
      Speedy, safe and nutritious! Kambrook's a winner with me!!!

    • Suzi 13 May 2013

      Love anything that means quick and easy but healthy and delicious tasting!...great for busy busy mums!

    • Jackie 13 May 2013

      Oh yum! Would never have thought to put figs in :-)

    • Jackie 13 May 2013

      Daddy didn't get the hint to buy mummy a pressure cooker for mother's day - just means he misses out on his fave stroganoff ;-) Would be great for when bub arrives in a few months

    • Linda J 13 May 2013

      I'd love a cooker because I need to get our healthy eating back on track. Sole parent-hood, exhaustion and general household choas means I've been reaching for convenience foods. Far. Too. Often. :(

    • Irene 13 May 2013

      A curry in a hurry, no fear of being messy
      Quick braise on a day when it is so rainy
      For a family going from football to gym, on skates
      Kambrook, our hero, gourmet meals on our plates

    • Suzan 13 May 2013

      I have never seen a pressure cooker explode but I remember the steaming dragon and how it terrified us at times during childhood.

      The recipe you have published sounds delicious and I will have to try a version of it. I care for my parents and this means my income is low and my time can be restricted beyond belief. Fortunately we all prefers stews and soups so our meat bill is low but the cooking time is slow. As you point out slow cookers are great but they do not produce those lovely sauces that come with other cooking methods.

      I am so pleased to see the reinvention of a terrific appliance. How I would love to try one.

    • SusieV 13 May 2013

      Being a 'mostly vegetarian' family we eat a LOT of beans... I would love a pressure cooker to prepare my dried beans, and then cook this great brown rice n beans recipe I've got! And risottos. And soups. And stocks.

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