Pressure Cooker Roasted Sweet Potato Puree


Roasted sweet potato puree in a half an hour, with most of that being hands off time. Sounds like a miracle? It's not a miracle, it's science!

This is one of the neatest tricks I learned from Modernist Cuisine at Home. Browning occurs at much lower temperatures in an alkaline environment. The Maillard reaction normally occurs at temperatures above 350°F. According to MC@H, browning occurs at 230°F in an alkaline environment. We can easily reach that temperature in a pressure cooker, and the result is sweet potatoes that are browned all the way through.

I'm using this technique with sweet potatoes, but it works with almost any vegetable. I've used it with carrots (via ModernistCuisine.com) and winter squash (via SeattleWeekly.com and Seattle Food Geek). In the book (MC@H) they make a range of vegetables - from leek and potato onion soup to roasted red pepper puree.

Now, one question I had - Modernist Cuisine pressure cooks the vegetables for 20 min. Everyone else (for example, my Cuisinart Electric PC) recommends 6 minutes, max. Why the extra time? To give the vegetables time to brown all the way through. Yes, that's right, the interior of the vegetables will brown as well as the exterior.

If you own a Pressure Cooker, you need to try this technique out.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Roasted Sweet Potato Puree


Adapted From: Modernist Cuisine at Home

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Equipment:


Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch slices (about 3 large sweet potatoes)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle en adobo puree (or substitute dried chipotle powder)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (Preferably Grade B)

Directions


1. Cook the sweet potatoes
Melt the butter in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the salt and baking soda, then stir in the water. Lock the lid and bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure. Lower the heat to maintain high pressure, cook at high pressure for 20 minutes (24 minutes in an electric PC), then quick release the pressure.

2. Puree the sweet potatoes
Transfer everything from the pot into a food processor, add the chipotle and maple syrup, then run the food processor until the sweet potatoes are pureed, about 30 seconds. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Notes

  • If you have a really good blender (like a Vitamix), you can use that instead of a food processor. You might have to add a little more water, though. I tried with a stick blender, but it was taking a long time to puree - the mixture was too thick, and no matter how much I moved the stick around, I was still leaving thick chunks. I gave up and dumped everything in the food processor, and 30 seconds later it was ready to go.
  • No pressure cooker? You won't get the roasted flavor that the pressure cooker offers, but you can do a regular sweet potato puree. Skip the baking soda, and using a regular pot, follow the instructions to "lock the lid of the pressure cooker." Then, cover the pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a paring knife. Continue with "puree the sweet potatoes".
  • This recipe scales up easily, if you make sure to use 1/2 teaspoon baking soda per 2 pounds of vegetables. That's the right proportion to get the alkaline environment for pressure browning.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:


Book Review: Modernist Cuisine at Home
Grilled Version: Grilled Mashed Sweet Potatoes Click here for my other pressure cooker recipes.


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10 comments:

Autumn said...

I'm terrified of pressure cookers and you are making them tempting! I have the storage space but I just keep picturing Eli from Top Chef Vegas having his explode pork everywhere and I don't want to have to clean pork or sweet potatoes off my ceiling

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

If it helps, I've been using them for years without any problems, and modern pressure cookers are much safer than the pressure cookers our grandparents used.

Michael Rushlow said...

Mike, I tried this method over the weekend to caramelize some sweet potatoes, but instead of making a puree, I used them to make a sweet potato-leek soup and doing the potatoes this way added a lot of flavor. Thanks!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome, and, good thinking!

Heather said...

I will definitely be trying this! Thanks for sharing the technique!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome. Enjoy!

Janet said...

Has anyone ever cut a squash open with a band saw?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Ha! I'm sure it would work, but I don't have a band saw handy. Maybe I'll bring my squash with me the next time I go to the butcher. Or the woodworker's...

ePressureCooker said...

Mike, I read that same information you did in Modernist Cuisine at Home (great read) and was equally struck with using a small amount of baking soda to change the pH and thereby enable the Maillard reaction as you seem to have been. I've been experimenting with it as well. (Haven't done pumpkin and sweet potato like you have, however.) I've been using it to caramelize my mirepoix for soups, to do caramelized onions for pot roast and French onion soup, I've done roasted garlic entirely in the pressure cooker, and I've even been experimenting with using it on meat and broth (you have to use a little more baking soda, since both meat and broth are more acidic than most vegetables, apparently). I read a 2 part article on Cooking Issues re making stock in the pressure cooker, and they mentioned pressure cooking stock that had already been made conventionally, so I tried pressure cooking regular canned chicken broth. I add the commercial broth, some baking soda, and a few tablespoons of vermouth, pressure cook it for a couple of minutes, and it comes out this rich brown color, as if I had made a brown chicken stock with browned bones. Its been really interesting to see how you can play with the results by changing the pH.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

I like the pressure cooked commercial broth - nice trick!

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