I’m relatively new to the whole pressure cooking scene. We didn’t use them in the restaurants where I first learned to cook, and I’ve frankly been a little intimidated to try one out at home. When it comes down to it, I’ve always had issues with cooking food when I can’t see what’s going on inside – I like to be in direct control of my creations (this is also one of the reasons you don’t see baked goods on my site). Pressure cookers have always seemed like the epitome of this idea, since you basically seal it up and let some sort of magic wizardry happen within.
My perspective changed when I bought an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker last year. Something about it removes all of my previous inhibitions; I think it’s the idea that I can set it to a certain time or intensity, and have it turn off and depressurize automatically, all on my own terms. Regardless, I love the fact that I can use this same machine to make broth, yogurt, and rice, or to sear and slow cook without dirtying two dishes. And most importantly, it breaks down tough cuts of meat in a manner of minutes, like in today’s recipe. To showcase my new love for pressure cooking, I went with a simple short ribs recipe, flavored with a bit of brandy and maple syrup. If you don’t have any fancy gadgets, don’t worry: I provided instructions for electric pressure cookers, conventional pressure cookers, and stovetop pots.
Pressure cooking is not a new concept, it has been around in Europe since as far back as the 17th century. They weren’t modeled for home use until the 19th century, but pressure cookers have been integral in many restaurants and home kitchens ever since. They work by sealing in the steam from cooking, allowing you to cook foods at higher temperatures and with less energy since hardly any heat escapes during cooking. In fact, pressure cooking is the most energy efficient way of cooking out there. There are many out there who swear by conventional stove-top pressure cookers, and after my latest success with an electric pressure cooker, I’m starting to eye a few conventional models on Amazon.
Pressure Cooker Short Ribs
2 tbsp ghee
1-2 lbs short ribs, cut at the rib (I used 4 ribs)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp brandy (1/4 cup white wine okay)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups chicken broth
1. Heat the ghee in your pressure cooker over medium heat (or under the “Sauté” setting in an Instant Pot). Add the short ribs and brown, in batches if needed, about 3 minutes per side, then set aside. Add the chopped onion and carrot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, then add the thyme, salt, pepper, brandy, and maple syrup. Allow to sauté until the liquid mostly evaporates, about a minute, then add the chicken broth. Scrape up any browned bits with your spoon, then return the short ribs to the pot. You should have enough liquid to reach halfway up the ribs.
3. Secure the lid and bring to high pressure over med/high heat (or select the “Meat/Stew” option on your Instant Pot). Cook for 50 minutes. If you’re using a conventional pressure cooker, be sure to reduce heat and adjust as needed to maintain pressure. If you’re using a dutch oven, cover and simmer on low until tender, about 3 hours.
4. After depressurizing, remove the lid and carefully remove the short ribs (they’ll be falling off the bone) and place on a plate; loosely cover with tin foil. Pour the braising liquid into a blender and blend until smooth, then transfer back to the pressure cooker. Bring to a simmer over med/high heat and reduce by 1/4, about five minutes. Taste for salt and pepper, adding if needed.
5. Plate your dish by pouring the liquid into a shallow bowl and placing the ribs on top. Serve with rice, potatoes, or just about anything.
ribs before cutting (I used Tendergrass short ribs).