Monday, November 5, 2012

A Different Berea

Birria.  I've been obsessed with it since a recent trip to Chicago.  Recipe from here (from a pretty nice online magazine) with a few changes, just two of which are worth noting.  First, rather than steaming the goat in the oven I did it in a pressure cooker.  After 1 1/4 hours and a natural release of pressure, it didn't take much more than a stern look to pull apart the ultra tender meat.  Second, I used shoulder rather than the leg called for in the recipe.  It's all they had ready to go at Turczyk's, a stand at the gracefully aging West Side Market.  For goat and lamb it's hard to beat Turczyk's.  Not only is the quality good, the people there are generally super pleasant, and custom cut requests are handled very well right on the spot.

The beans were also pressure cooked (I just got the thing--I'm going a little nuts).  Soaked beans cooked to perfection in 10 minutes.  It's crazy.

A few words on my new toy, the pressure cooker, for those that are unfamiliar with its amazingness.  I love slow cooking--having a pot simmering on the stove or a braise in the oven all day--as much as the next guy, but unfortunately I like other things too, and even on occasion have to work, so sometimes time is at premium.  The pressure cooked goat and beans (done separately, of course) were every bit as good as the slow cooked versions, but were done in a fraction of the time.  And for something like chicken stock, the pressure cooker just does it better (and faster).  It's hard to ignore the energy savings too.  Every bit counts and all that.  I've only had the thing for a weekend, but I think I'm a pressure cooking convert, at least for some things.

A few takeaways from this dish.  It's all about the consome--the sauce made with the steaming liquor, tomatoes, and a chili mixture that's ladled over the plated goat.  Prepared with some of the fat skimmed, it's addictive in its mild goatiness.  Also, prior to roasting the steamed hunks of goat any large pockets of fat and gristle have to go.  At least for me, that stuff is just too intense.

Side note: If you're in Cleveland and like cooking Mexican-style food La Plaza is the best.  They're so nice, and usually well stocked with all the essentials.  I love going there (it helps that I live 5 minutes away).  And their summer taco cart offers what I think is the best Mexican street food short of going out to Painesville.   It's my happy place.

This was no substitute for the fare at Chicago's Birrieria Zaragoza, but still, it really is quite nice.


Adam said...

I cooked the chickpeas for hummus and this past year's Rosh Hashanah brisket in the pressure cooker... and I too am a convert.

The CFT said...

Got a good PC brisket recipe?

Heidi Robb said...

What pressure cooker did you purchase? I've yet to dip my toe in, unbelievably.

The CFT said...

Fagor Splendid 6 qt. It's great--I've been using it nonstop. Would consider buying one that has high and low pressure if I was purchasing again (the splendid only does high), but really no complaints. Had an older rabbit tonight that was super tender in 30 minutes. Unsoaked beans take about the same amount of time with soaked ones taking half that, and it's surprisingly gentle as things aren't really too turbulent in there. Perfect farro in under 15 minutes, better stock . . . I don't like buying gear and have pretty limited storage but have no regrets with the PC.