Braised red cabbage in a pressure cooker

Christmas dinner preparations continue full tilt. Two capons are already deboned, stuffed and sown up for this killer once-a-year triumph of a recipe. Jars and jars of onions and cabbage and apple sauce and chestnuts glisten on the countertop. A huge tray of pommes dauphinois promises to send everyone into a creamy stupor. Tomorrow we roast the birds and we´re all set.

Here´s the recipe for the red cabbage. It´s a very easy braise, and looks beautiful, and in a pressure cooker takes just a few minutes.

Shred a head of red cabbage, and throw it into the pressure cooker. Add a couple of handfuls of raisins, two big apples (we use reinetas because that´s the universal cooking apple in Spain, but any will do, really), a chopped onion, two spoonfuls of Sherry vinegar and salt and pepper. Now do a leap of faith and close the lid of the pressure cooker. The cabbage will provide all the liquid needed, trust me.

Once the pressure´s up, count 6 minutes and voilá you´re done.

I make this all winter and fall long, to go with sausages or baked potatoes. If you´re feeling very Nordic and have access to them, a few caraway seeds will not go amiss.


Sweet Pearl Onions

We´re 22 for Christmas this year, so it´s best to organize and make as much as possible ahead. First on the list, the red cabbage with apples and the sweet onions. We make them and seal them into jars, so they can be kept in a cupboard and not take up room in our bulging freezer.
The sweet onions are great any time of the year, of course, and they go well with everything, so it´s a recipe worth keeping in mind.

You´ll need 600 gr. of frozen pearl onions (or normal sliced onions, or small onions or shallots that you peel yourself).
Melt 70 gr. butter and 30 gr. oil in the Thermomix for a couple of minutes in Varoma, then add the frozen onions and program 30 minutes more, in Varoma. Once they´re done, add a stock cube and 70 gr. caramel, and leave them for 10 minutes at 100ºC. Check for salt, add pepper and there you have it, an elegant little side dish.

If you make them in a normal pot, just sautee the onions until soft in butter and oil, add caramel and the stock cube, etc. It´s pretty straightforward, but you´ll have to use your judgement because the size of the pan changes everything.

And if you want to keep them around for a bit, just put them in a jar, cover it well and leave it in a bain marie for half an hour or so, until there´s no air inside and the lid doesn´t yield.



Risotto, originally uploaded by Lobstersquad.

I've discovered that the best proportiion for making risotto in a pressure cooker is one-two. Double the liquid to rice is perfect, and easy to remember. Five minutes is all it needs under pressure. I make two cups of rive for three, and it's just enough. Leftovers are always well received by two-year-old Pía.



Fairy, originally uploaded by Lobstersquad.

It's not just cooking that has to be done...