I had a feeling it would happen.
No matter how much I begged or pleaded, the oven repairmen were not coming before Rosh Hashanah.
I know I’m spoiled. Some people in the world don’t have even one oven. I normally have two.
Except for now. My bottom oven (generally used for meat purposes) decided it needed a break a few weeks before Rosh Hashanah and refused to work. At all. I called the repair people and they couldn’t get someone out for at least a week to just evaluate the issue! They finally came. New circuit boards. Oh…and your top oven is about to go…
They ordered the parts for both ovens. Scheduled to come…the day after Rosh Hashanah. I was on every emergency repair list they had. I called everyday to see if there was a cancellation.
Then…the morning of Erev Rosh Hashanah…
You guessed it. The top oven bit the dust. Although it died in style with the spirit of Rosh Hashanah Shofars ringing in our ears.
In anticipation of the demise of my upper oven, I had prepared quite a bit during the week preceding the holiday. However, I still had a turkey and stuffing, roasted chickens and stuffing, pomegranate chicken, honey carrots, and a bunch of additional last minute food to prepare.
Dear Sister, saved the (turkey) day by cutting the bird into 8ths, and Dear Husband grilled the turkey outside. Not exactly what I had planned but delicious none the less.
Some of you may know that I’m doing some research on Electric Pressure Cookers. I currently have two sitting on my kitchen counter. A Crock Pot Express Multi Cooker and an Instant Pot. At this moment the Crock Pot’s gender is meat with the Instant Pot being pareve. I’ll save the comparison of the two products for another day, however suffice it to say they saved my tushie!!!
I ended up making the stuffing in the Instant Pot, along with nearly everything else I still had to make. You know what?
I STAYED CALM!
I really had the tools to MacGyver the rest of the food. You know me…I love the challenge. Bring me a Shabbat guest with multiple food allergies/restrictions and I clap my hands with anticipatory glee. I’m going to share some of my successes with you and some of the things I learned. Bottom line: I may have been an Electric Pressure Cooker skeptic at one time….not anymore!
Lessons I learned:
- Things can burn in an electric pressure cooker. I’m not sure why I didn’t think this was possible, but it is. My simple fix was a Pot in a Pot. Rather than preparing my stuffing or apple cobbler filling directly in the pot (where it burns – or causes the Pot to generate an error regardless of the brand), I put the ingredients for the burning culprit into another pan (like 7”x3”). I then covered the pot (tight fitting lid or foil), placed it on a silicone rack with handles, and lowered the pan into the water. No burning. Ta Da.
- Things cook super quickly in an Electric Pressure Cooker.
- You can still thicken a sauce after removing the solid food from the sauce. Set the Pot to sauté/brown, then add a cold corn/potato starch slurry while continuously whisking. Works every time.
- White boneless chicken breast does not cook as well as dark bone-in chicken thighs when cooked together in the same Pot.
Here is my amazing Electric Pressure Cooker Stuffing Recipe and Pomegranate Chicken Recipe that you can use for the rest of the Chagim.
- 10 ounces herbed croutons
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 3 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups chicken stock (or more)
- 1 or 2 7 inch x 3 inch round pans.
- Electric Pressure cooker rack with handles (silicone preferred)
- 1 cup water
- Spray a 7 inch x 3 inch round pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Set the Pot to sauté/brown. Add the oil, onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the pot.
- Stir in the croutons, egg and chicken stock until completely combined. The stuffing should be moist and slightly squishy, but the croutons should still be visible.
- Transfer the stuffing to the prepared pan. Use a second pan if all the stuffing does not fit into one. You may need to run a second cycle if the stuffing doesn't fit into one pan.
- Tightly cover the pan with foil or a lid. Place the pan on the pressure cooker rack.
- Rinse out the removable bowl from the EPC (Electric Pressure Cooker). Then replace into the EPC.
- Add one cup of water to the Pot. Carefully lower the stuffing pan into the EPC Pot.
- Lock the lid. Set the EPC manually to cook for 15 minutes on high pressure.
- When the stuffing is done cooking, manually release the pressure (turn the pressure valve at the top). Carefully unlock the lid and remove the pan from the EPC. Repeat with additional pan if necessary.
- Serve hot with your favorite main chicken or meat dish.
- You can make a makeshift rack with handles using a standard EPC round rack and a sheet of aluminum foil. Carefully fold a 1 1/2 foot piece of aluminum foil into a 2 inch wide strip. Place the strip under the standard EPC rack. Carefully lower the rack, using the foil as handles, into the EPC Pot. If the foil is a little long, fold the ends into the pot.
- 4 pound chicken legs (thigh and drumstick), skin removed (it's healthier!)
- 2 cups pomegranate syrup (Like Torani)
- 1 cup pure pomegranate juice (like POM)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
- 3/4 cup pure cold pomegranate juice (like POM)
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- Spray a 9 inch x 13 inch casserole with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Combine the pomegranate syrup, pomegranate juice, honey, garlic, pepper, and thyme in a medium bowl.
- Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Place chicken bone side up in a large casserole, or in a Jumbo Ziplock bag.
- Pour marinade over chicken.
- Cover with plastic wrap, or seal bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Set the Electric Pressure Cooker to high pressure manual mode cooking for 20 minutes.
- Place an EPC rack on the bottom of the EPC Pot.
- Add the chicken and the marinade to the Pot.
- Lock the lid.
- Press start and when the chicken is done, manually release the pressure moving the pressure valve to open. Turn the EPC off.
- Remove the chicken from the Pot and transfer to the prepared casserole dish, leaving the marinade in the Pot. Remove the EPC rack from the Pot.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the cold pomegranate juice and corn starch until thoroughly combined.
- Set the EPC to sauté/brown.
- Slowly whisk the pomegranate juice/starch into the remaining marinade. Stir constantly with a rubber heat resistant spatula until the sauce thickens.
- Turn of the Pot. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.
- Serve sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds if desired.
As an aside, just to prove how calm I stayed: Dear Husband told me that Dear Brother-In-Law gave me the best compliment ever! He was amazed that I didn’t completely lose it when the oven broke and managed to STAY CALM the entire time while MacGyvering the meals for Rosh Hashanah. Hooray for me!
Just found out our microwave is fried…
I’m hoping that all this is a Kaparah and that it only means great things to come in the New Year…right?
G’mar V’chatima Tovah – Have an easy fast and a Happy & Healthy New Year!!!