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Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes: Braised Pulled Pork BBQ & Creamy Corn Polenta

I grew up with a mom who was a fan of pressure cooking. This was back in Russia. No, I don't have any stories of explosions to report. For one reason or the other, however, I did not start using a pressure cooker until earlier this year. I just never thought to buy one. And then one showed up at my door.

So far I've used it to make beans, ribs, pulled pork and chicken tikka masala. This weekend I added two more recipes to my repertoire. Both of the recipes, Braised Pulled Pork BBQ and Creamy Corn Polenta, come from Bren Herrera's new cookbook Modern Pressure Cooking. I received a preview copy of the book for the blog. All opinions are my own as always. 

You could read the book and learn about pressure cooking, pick up tips and techniques, and plan an entire menu made in a pressure cooker, or you could page through and choose a few recipes and jump in. Guess which one I chose!? :)

It's funny that a Jewish girl chose to make a pork recipe. But then I've never kept kosher. I decided to make the Braised Pulled Pork BBQ and serve it with Creamy Corn Polenta. My original plan was to make both recipes in the same day, but it turned out a bit much. I ended up making the pork on Saturday (first night of Hanukkah...oy), and serving it over freshly made polenta on Sunday. 

Braised Pulled Pork BBQ
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups diced Spanish onion (large dice)
1 cup diced green bell pepper (large dice)
2 Roma tomatoes, cut into large dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 1/3 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano {I did not have it, so left it out}
1 cup chicken stock
3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, skin off, cut into 3" pieces

Place all of the ingredients except the pork in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a spoon or spatula. Using tongs, place the pork in the pressure cooker. Ladle all of the sauce over the pork. Do not stir. Close the lid.

For the electric pressure cooker: Use the meat/poultry setting, or set to high pressure (10-12 PSI) and 45 minutes.

When done, turn off the cooker and allow the pressure to release on its own, 10 to 12 minutes.

Here's what I did after opening the pressure cooker: take out pieces of pork and let them cool slightly. Then using two forks, pull the meat apart on a cutting board. Get rid of all the fat!!! This will take a while.

Pour the sauce with the vegetables into another bowl and let it cool. Remove as much fat as you can. Then put the pulled pork into the bowl. 

I found it best to make this recipe the day before serving it. The flavors mingle and intensify and you can remove even more fat once the entire dish has been in the refrigerator over night.

Creamy Corn Polenta
Serves 4 to 6

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup milk, plus 1/2 cup
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal (noninstant)
2 teaspoons sugar (I did not use it)
1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh
1/2 teaspoon achiote oil (optional: I used chili oil)
1 cup corn, canned (drained) or fresh
2 tablespoons salted cultured butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (I used quite a bit more)

Add all the liquid, except the 1/2 cup of milk, to the pressure cooker and stir. Bring to a very light boil using the saute setting, about 3 minutes. {I used meat setting on mine.}

For electric pressure cooker: Set to high pressure (10-12 PSI) and 8 minutes total. I could not figure out how to do this on my model, and used rice setting instead.

Once all the pressure is out, open the cooker. Gently stir in the corn, remaining 1/2 milk and butter. Season with salt. Serve immediately.

Both the recipes were straight forward. Bren provided directions for both the electric and the stove-top pressure cookers. My condo smelled incredible! I served the pork directly over the polenta topped with corn kernels, red onion and cilantro. It was such a comfort meal, and I'm having leftovers for lunch today.

Don't be scared of pressure cooking. Use this book as a guide to make everything from beans to tongue (!!!!) to flan!