The coolest thing in Modernist Cuisine at Home? Cooking in canning jars in the pressure cooker. They use the technique where the food would have to be stirred if it was in contact with the bottom of the pot - which can't happen in a locked pressure cooker.
*I've heard of pot-in-pot cooking and pressure canning, but I never thought to do them both at the same time...
Pressure cooker garlic confit called out to me. I love the idea of a jar full of roasted garlic cloves in the refrigerator. And the garlic-infused oil is as useful as the cloves. I made braised kale using a few tablespoons of the oil and a few cloves of garlic from this recipe, and Diane was raving about it.
*See the Notes section for the kale recipe
After I got over how cool it was to see canning jars in the pressure cooker, my next thought was: Garlic infused olive oil? That can be a bad idea. Botulism multiplies in low-oxygen, low acid environments - like being covered with oil. Garlic, like most vegetables, can carry botulism spores. Fresh garlic in olive oil should be thrown away after a day or two in the refrigerator, and homemade garlic infused oil is dangerous. What about pressure cooking it? Does that make it safe?
It took a lot of searching, but I finally found out that the recipe is safe. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, botulism spores are killed if you can hold the temperature between 240°F to 250°F for 20 to 100 minutes, depending on the size of the jar. Conveniently, those are the temperatures you get with 10PSI to 15PSI pressure cookers. This recipe pressure cooks the jars for 2 hours, so there's no way botulism can survive. After the jar is opened, the garlic keeps for a month in the refrigerator.
*From what I could find, 3 minutes at 250°F kills the botulism spores. But it takes 20 to 100 minutes to be sure that temperature reaches the center of the jar, depending on the size.
Enough scary, but neccesary, food safety tips. This recipe couldn't be simpler if you own a pressure cooker and canning jars; the only hard part is peeling all that garlic. I'm already addicted to having a jar of roasted garlic in the refrigerator, ready whenever I want it.
*I used the technique shown here - [Youtube via Saveur.com]. It took multiple rounds of shaking to get all the cloves peeled. Don't be gentle - shake as hard as you can. Or, If there is a good Asian market nearby, keep an eye out for pre-peeled garlic, which makes this recipe much easier.
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Garlic Confit
Adapted From: Modernist Cuisine at Home
Cooking time: 120 minutes
- Pressure Cooker (I used my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)
- 16oz canning jar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 50 cloves garlic, peeled (4 large heads)
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 1 bay leaf
Directions1. Fill the jars
Put everything in the canning jar, wipe the rim of the jar clean with a wet paper towel, then tighten down the lid finger tight.
2. Pressure cook the garlic
Put a rack in the pressure cooker pot and add 1 inch of water. (For my nine inch diameter cooker, this is about a quart of water.) Put the jar on the rack, lock the lid, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. Pressure cook on high for 2 hours. Let the pressure come down naturally. Carefully remove the jar from the PC, using tongs (or, even better a canning jar lifter). The jar will still be dangerously hot, with bubbling oil inside - let it cool to room temperature before handling. The sealed jar will last for a year at room temperature; refrigerate after opening, and the garlic will last for a month.
- I used my electric pressure cooker, which made it very easy - turn the timer to two hours, and walk away. But any pressure cooker will do, as long as it can get to 10 PSI.
- The recipe doubles easily...as long as you can live with peeling all that garlic.
- Bonus recipe: Braised Kale with Garlic Confit and Oil. Strip the leaves from the stems of a large bunch of kale, and rough chop the leaves. Put four cloves of garlic confit plus two tablespoons of the garlic oil into a large pot. Add the kale, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, then toss to coat with the oil. Add a half cup of water, put the pot over medium-high heat, and cover. When steam starts escaping from under the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low and steam the kale for 20 minutes.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Adapted from:Modernist Cuisine at Home
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