Sunday, February 26, 2017

Breakfast Casserole: An Instant Pot Story

If you happened to give the Shrimp Boil a try and had a few tasty sea bugs left over, here's something fun you can do with them. I originally found a recipe for oeufs an cocotte, which I tried but found a bit bland. Starting from there, though, we gave it the ol' Barr-Gagne "what if we" treatment and arrived here.

Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 teaspoon grease (bacon, butter, lard, etc.)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup diced cooked shrimp
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • Old Bay seasoning to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup water
Grease two ramekins that will fit inside your Instant Pot. We have the smallest model, so we only have room for two which suits us fine. If you're cooking for a family, you could use one or two larger ones in a larger Instant Pot and serve them family style.

Put a layer of spinach leaves down. They will be compressed by the layers on top of them and cook down, so don't worry if it looks like you're out of space with the first ingredient.

Next, add the diced shrimp, bacon, and garlic. This is the layer where improvisation is most workable. The classic recipe calls for diced ham, which I don't like.

Then a layer of shredded cheese. Probably best to do a little manual compression at this point to be sure that there are room for your eggs.

Crack your eggs, three at a time, into bowls to make sure there are no shell pieces, then pour over the cheese. Smoosh around to ensure good coverage. Sprinkle with Old Bay and pepper and they're ready to go in the Instant Pot.

Place your steamer rack and about a cup of water in the pot. Place the first ramekin in, then using four bamboo skewers cut to appropriate lengths, MacGyver up a scaffold (see photo) and place the second ramekin on top.

Close and seal the lid and set your Instant Pot for eight minutes on low pressure. Do a quick release at the end, et voilĂ !
1. Grease ramekins

2. Add spinach

3. Add shrimp, bacon, and garlic

4. Add cheese

5. Add eggs

6. Sprinkle seasonings

7. Build scaffold

8. Feel proud of scaffold

9. Program Instant Pot

10. The scaffold worked!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Shrimp Boil: An Instant Pot Story

Prepared ingredients for the recipe on a cutting board

Completed dish in the pressure cooker.
That was easy
I have no earthly idea why I have reached fifty years of age having never heard of a shrimp boil, but it happened. Let me save you the embarrassment in case you're in the same boat I was last week.

The shrimp boil is a staple of social life in the South, particularly on the Gulf coast. The term really refers to the activity rather than a particular set of ingredients or cooking techniques. Descriptions in various places make it sound like the social equivalent of the church spaghetti dinner; an easy way to make massive quantities of food so large groups can eat together and usually raise money.

I've never been a good enough cook to attempt much seafood since it requires such careful attention during the cooking process. Instant Pot to the rescue! I've made this dish four or five times now and the shrimp have come out perfectly every time.

Shrimp Boil Sheumais

Ingredients are listed in quantities per person for a generously fed full-sized gay

1/2 lb raw shrimp in shell, de-veined
1/2 large smoked sausage
1/2 onion roughly cut
1 ear of corn cut in thirds
4 baby potatoes
2 mushrooms
1 12 ounce can of beer
1/2 tablespoon Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic
Red chili flakes to taste

Ready for these complicated instructions? Put everything into the Instant Pot and set it to cook on high pressure for four minutes. When done, release the pressure. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving dish or plates. Put an empty bowl nearby for the shrimp shells.