Southern Classics Under Pressure

When you think of “southern cooking,” what do you imagine? Fried chicken, sweet tea, hush puppies, biscuits ‘n gravy, and BBQ? If so, you would be correct. Southern cooking is all about big flavors and big portions. Since the South itself so big, there were a lot of cultures involved in its creation – French, Spanish, Irish, Caribbean, and African – which results is a delicious fusion of proteins, spices, veggies, and more.

 

I love using a pressure cooker to make Southern food. It’s a great way to make classic dishes healthier, because pressure cooking food means it retains more nutrients. What could be better than keeping those great flavors, but without losing valuable vitamins and minerals? I also love the pressure cooker because Southern food often takes a long time to cook. A pressure cooker speeds up the whole process. Here are three takes on Southern classics that everyone in your family will love!

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Half-and-Half Shredded Chicken

Serves: 6

Time: Up to 24 hours for marinating/15-20 minutes under pressure

 

In many places, it’s called an Arnold Palmer. In the South, it’s a half-and-half. What is it? It’s the most refreshing summer drink that consists of half lemonade and half iced tea. I love it because you can make it as sweet as you would like with sweetened iced tea, or you can use a stronger tea to cut through some of the sugary lemonade. This pressure cooker recipe uses half-and-half as a marinade for tender, tasty shredded chicken, which is perfect for sandwiches or on top of salads.

 

The night before you plan on making the chicken, make the marinade. Begin by boiling 3 cups of water and steeping 6 tea bags for 10 minutes. You want to remove the boiling water and tea bags from the burner right away, cover the pan, and wait for the steeping part. After 10 minutes, remove the tea bags and add in the lemonade concentrate, garlic, rosemary, onion, and ¼ cup of salt. When the ingredients have been stirred around for a bit and the flavors start to seep out, add the ice cubes. You want the marinade completely cool before you put in the chicken, so the meat doesn’t accidentally start to cook.

 

When the marinade is cool, pour into a large ziploc bag and add the chicken breasts. Marinate overnight and no longer than 24 hours. When you’re ready to make the meal, take out your pressure cooker and pour in ½ cup of chicken broth. Some pressure cookers have different minimum liquid requirements, so just be sure to read the specs for your cooker and add that amount. Lay the chicken breasts directly in the cooker. Depending on the size of the cooker, you may have to cook the chicken in two batches. Close and secure the pressure cooker lid.

 

For stovetop cookers:

 

            Turn the burner on and wait for the pressure to rise. When pressure is reached, reduce

heat and maintain high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick-release the pressure.

 

For electric cookers:

 

            Plug in the cooker and select the “poultry” setting or “high pressure.” Cook for 20

minutes before quick-releasing the pressure.

 

When the pressure is reduced all the way, open the cooker and carefully remove the chicken. If you’re making another batch, add another ½ cup of liquid and cook the rest of the breasts. For the cooked meat, set it on a cutting board and wait a few minutes for it to rest. Using two forks, shred the chicken. Serve on a whole-grain bun, over a green salad, or eat it however you would like! For leftovers, store in an airtight Tupperware in the fridge.

 

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 pounds)

6 black tea bags

3 cups water

3 minced garlic cloves

2 cups ice

1 cup thawed, frozen lemonade concentrate

1 thinly-sliced sweet onion

2 rosemary sprigs

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup kosher salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

 

Directions:

 

  1. Heat the 3 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add the tea bags.
  3. Take the saucepan off the hot burner and cover.
  4. Steep the tea for 10 minutes.
  5. Pick out the tea bags.
  6. Stir in the lemonade, onions, garlic, rosemary, pepper, and salt.
  7. Stir in the ice, so speed up the cooling process.
  8. When completely cool, pour the liquid into a plastic bag and add the chicken breasts.
  9. Marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  10. When ready to cook the chicken, pour ½ cup of chicken broth into your pressure cooker.
  11. Put the chicken right in the pressure cooker (no trivet or steamer basket necessary) and discard the marinade.
  12. If you’re using an electric cooker, select the “poultry” setting or cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. For stove top cookers, 15 minutes should be enough.
  13. Quick-release the pressure.
  14. Take out the chicken and rest for a few minutes
  15. Using two forks, shred up the chicken.
  16. Serve on salad, as a sandwich, over rice, or however you would like!

 

Nutritional Info (⅙ of shredded chicken):

 

Calories: 172

Carbs: 23

Protein: 16

Fat: 2
Fiber: 0

 

 

Shrimp Creole

Serves: 8-10

Time: 10-15 minutes

 

Shrimp creole is originally from Louisiana and is a hybrid between a gumbo and a jambalaya. Creoles almost always includes a meat, onion, green peppers, and celery, and some kind of hot spice. This pressure cooker version isn’t too spicy, but you can always add hot sauce or cayenne pepper if you like it hot.

 

Fresh shrimp is the best shrimp. Here’s how you peel and clean it up:

 

  • Pull off the legs and shell.
  • Pinch the tail and pull it off.
  • With a knife, cut through the back of shrimp and look for the vein.
  • When you find it, cut underneath it with your knife and pull it out, like a piece of elastic.

 

Don’t skip on the vein. That’s the shrimp’s digestive tract, and you don’t want to eat that. When your shrimp is all cleaned up, put it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Just stick that in the fridge for now. It cooks in the creole at the very end.

 

Get out your pressure cooker and pour in the peanut oil. You can also use veggie oil if that’s what you have. When it’s hot, sautè the celery, bell pepper, and onion for about 4 minutes, stirring the whole time. When the onion is translucent, add in the ground spices and stir for 30 seconds or so. Pour in the wine, broth, tomato paste, and Worcestershire. Stir until the paste has dissolved. Close the lid.

 

For stovetop cookers:

 

            Turn the burner up so the pressure rises. When it hits 15 PSI or the highest pressure

available, turn the burner down to maintain high pressure for 5 minutes. Quick-release

the pressure when time is up.

 

For electric cookers:

 

            Turn the pot to high pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Quick-release the pressure.

 

When the pressure is all gone, open the pot and stir in the shrimp, parsley, and scallions. Close the lid again, without locking it, and let the residual heat cook the shrimp. After 3 minutes, the shrimp should be firm and pink. Give the creole another good stir before serving over rice.

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp

6 thinly-sliced scallions

14-ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

2 medium-sized chopped celery stalks

1 big chopped yellow onion

1 medium-sized stemmed, cored, and chopped green bell pepper

½ cup dry white wine

¼ cup finely-chopped parsley

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

 

Directions:

 

  1. Pour the peanut oil in your pressure cooker and heat.
  2. When hot, cook the celery, onion, and bell pepper while stirring for about 4 minutes.
  3. Toss in the thyme, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika and cook until you can smell all the spices. It should take about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour in the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and wine.
  5. When the tomato paste has dissolved, close the lid.
  6. If you’re using a stovetop cooker, cook on 15 PSI for 5 minutes. For an electric cooker, cook for 8 minutes on the high pressure setting.
  7. Quick-release the pressure.
  8. Carefully open the pot and add in the parsley, scallions, and shrimp.
  9. Close the lid and let the leftover heat cook the shrimp for 3 minutes.
  10. The shrimp is done when it is pink and firm.
  11. Stir and serve over rice!

 

Nutritional Info (⅛ of shrimp creole without rice):

 

Calories: 142

Carbs: 7

Protein: 17

Fat: 5
Fiber: 0

 

Classic Chicken ‘n Dumplings

Serves: 8

Time: About 20 minutes

 

Chicken and dumplings has been around so long and there’s so many variations, it’s hard to say where it came from originally, though French Canada claims it. I love the tender shredded chicken and biscuits cooked by dropping them right in the broth; it couldn’t be easier.

 

To start, prep all your veggies. Peel and slice the carrots into bite-sized rounds, slice the celery, and dice the onion. When the veggies are ready, put them in your pressure cooker along with the chicken breasts, herbs, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. Lock the pressure cooker lid.

 

For stovetop cookers:

 

            Ideally, you should cook this soup at low pressure. If you can’t, turn the burner up till

high pressure is reached, and then reduce to maintain high pressure for 10 minutes.

Quick-release the pressure.

 

For electric cookers:

 

Turn the cooker to “high pressure” and cook for 15 minutes. Quick-release the

pressure.

 

When the pressure is all reduced, use a pair of tongs to take the chicken out. Wrap the meat tightly in foil and set aside for now.

 

To make the dumplings, get out a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, salt, milk, and baking powder until it bubbles. Whisk in 1 cup of flour until well-combined, and then add the rest of the flour and stir. Turn the pressure back on to low to get the broth boiling. When bubbling and hot, take a tablespoon and scoop up the dough. Drop into the broth. When you’ve used up all the dough, close the pressure cooker again and lock. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.

When time is up, quick-release the pressure again, but keep it on a low heat. With two forks, shred the chicken and stir into the broth. Serve hot!

 

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 peeled and diced carrots

3 sliced celery stalks

1 diced onion

2 eggs

2 cups flour

⅔ cups skim milk

¾ cup chicken stock

3 thyme sprigs

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon chives

1 teaspoon salt

+ 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the veggies, chicken, herbs, salt, and pepper in a pressure cooker with the chicken stock and close the lid.
  2. Cook on low pressure for 15 minutes in an electric cooker. If you’re using a stovetop cooker, cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  3. When time is up, quick-release the pressure.
  4. Carefully remove the chicken and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil.
  5. Time to make the dumplings! In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, salt, and baking powder.
  6. Whisk until bubbly.
  7. Pour in 1 cup of flour and whisk again until well-combined.
  8. Add the rest of the flour and stir together.
  9. Back at the pressure cooker, turn the heat on so the liquid starts to boil.
  10. As it’s boiling, drop in tablespoon-sized bits of dough into the broth.
  11. When all the biscuits are in, close the lid again and set to high pressure.
  12. Cook for 5 minutes.
  13. Quick-release the pressure and keep on a low heat.
  14. Shred the chicken with two forks and stir into the broth.
  15. Serve right away!

 

Nutritional Info:

 

Calories: 209

Carbs: 33

Protein: 13

Fat: 2
Fiber: 3

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You might have noticed that all these recipes serve at least 6 people. That’s because Southern cooking goes hand-in-hand with Southern hospitality. These are all great meals to serve groups of friends and family, so invite some people over! That’s what makes Southern food so special; the best kind is always cooked with love as an ingredient.

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