Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pressure-Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo: Recipe

This is a recipe for gumbo that uses a pressure cooker. I've adapted it from "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna J. Sass, which--along with a pressure cooker--I would call absolutely essential in every vegetarian kitchen. The beans require no soaking, and you can make this whole recipe from start to finish in about 30 minutes.

Feel free to experiment with the combination and amount of dried herbs listed here. This recipe is great over rice, and it achieves unmitigated glory with generous splashes of Trappey's Bull Hot Sauce.

Pressure-Cooker Vegetarian Gumbo
1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large red, yellow or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, minced (or generous pinches of dried crushed red pepper)
2 cups of dried black-eyed peas, picked over and rinsed.
3 cups water
1 bay leaf

1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Generous pinch of sage

1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 package (about 10-16 oz) frozen okra
1 package (about 10-16 oz) frozen corn
Pepper and salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add the garlic, onions, celery, bell pepper and jalapeno and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.

2. Add the black-eyed peas, water and oregano, thyme and sage.

3. Lock the lid in place over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat if you have a gas range (or if you have an electric range, move the pot to a different heating element, one that's on low, so that you can maintain the pressure without building it too high). You want to apply just enough heat to maintain the pressure for 25 minutes.

4. At the end of 25 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and allow the pressure to come down. (This should take about five minutes).

5. When the contents are no longer under pressure, lift the lid and test the beans. If they still need more time, put them back on the stove at a simmer without the lid and cook them until they're done.

6. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the tomatoes, okra, corn and salt and pepper. The frozen vegetables should dethaw almost instantly, if you haven't dethawed them already. Stir and then taste for flavoring.

7. Serve in bowls over rice with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and plenty of Trappey's. (And, no, Trappey's isn't paying me for the endorsement. But they should.)

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