Posted by: lornasass | November 21, 2009


While developing the recipes for PRESSURE PERFECT, I experimented with a technique I came to call Triplex Cooking.  It’s a kind of layered cooking that enables you to make three different foods at once. Take, for example, the recipe for meatloaf with smashed potatoes and carrots below.

Meatloaf in a pressure cooker?  I was as surprised as you probably are, but it turns out to be a quick-and-easy success. “Amazing,” said the meatloaf maven who came to dinner. “It doesn’t look or taste steamed.”

But steamed it is, in the cooker’s vegetable basket–or use a bamboo or standard collapsible steaming basket instead.  Rather than setting the basket on a trivet, balance it on some chunked potatoes.  Then wrap carrots in an aluminum foil packet and set the packet on top of the meatloaf.  The foil packet retards the cooking, and the carrots steam in their own minimal moisture, ending up with intense flavor.

After cooking, remove the foil packet and slice the carrots. Lift out the meatloaf and then tip out some of the liquid and smash the potatoes with some cheese.  The whole meal made in one pot in ten minutes under pressure: It’s as simple as that.

So, maybe you can’t afford a triplex co-op or a three story house, but if you own a 6-quart or larger pressure cooker, what not try triplex cooking?

Meatloaf with Cheddar Smashed Potatoes

Serves 6

10 minutes high pressure

Cooking spray or oil for preparing steaming basket
2 large eggs
1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mixture or 8 ounces each ground beef, veal, and pork
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3/4 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup catsup or chili sauce plus 1 to 2 tablespoons additional to coat top of meatloaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish

5 large carrots, peeled or scrubbed, and trimmed

For the Cheddar-Smashed Potatoes
3 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed or peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups loosely packed (about 4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk, plus more to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Coat the bottom and sides of the steaming basket lightly with  cooking spray or oil.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Add the ground meat, onions, parsley, oats, catsup, salt, garlic, and pepper. Mix with your
hands until blended. (The mixture may be fairly moist.)

Transfer to the steaming basket and press into a disc of uniform thickness.  (If your steaming basket has a central lifting pole, either  remove it or shape the loaf around it.) Spread a very thin coating of catsup on top.

Pour 2 cups of water into a 6-quart or larger cooker.  Place the potatoes in the water. Set the steaming basket with the meatloaf on top of the potatoes.  Wrap the carrots tightly in foil and set them on top of the meatloaf.

Lock the lid in place.  Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Quick-release the pressure. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape.

Check the meatloaf for doneness: an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 155 degrees. If the meatloaf requires more cooking, nestle (but do not lock) the lid in place and steam over high heat
for another few minutes.

Use tongs to lift the foil-wrapped carrots.  Lift the meatloaf from the cooker, garnish with parsley, and let rest in the basket for at least 5 minutes before slicing.  Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes: Drain the potatoes and return them to the empty cooker.  Set over very low heat. Add the cheese and milk. Use a masher to coarsely smash the potatoes. For a moister mixture, stir in additional milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Unwrap and slice the carrots.

To serve, either unmold the meatloaf or slice it right in the basket. Serve the Cheddar-Smashed Potatoes and carrots alongside.


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