The Wonderfully Flexible Lotsa Veg Hot Dish
Prep time – About 15 minutes or so.
Pressure time – 5 minutes
Total cook time – About 30 minutes
Serves 3-4 people
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and snapped to your liking
- 1 to 1.5 pounds small white or red potatoes, washed and cut down to comfortable mouth size
- 1 to 2 cups cooked ham or other cooked salty, smoky meat (low-fat turkey kielbasa is great!), cubed or broken down to bite size
- 1.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper, added to the stock (or you can wait and let individuals do it at the table)
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, added to the stock (less if your meat already has a good smoke flavor to it)
- 1/2 tsp each mustard seed, caraway seed, and fennel seed, added to the stock or in a tea infuser. (This seed blend is also my go-to when cooking dry beans in the instant pot. They make other things taste as if they grew in a sunny garden alongside other fresh things.
Dice, cut, and measure the various ingredients. Since I’m not fond of seeds and slivers, I put them in a tea infuser that I drop on top before closing up the machine. (Don’t have an infuser? A coffee filter will work – fill and loosely staple shut.) When it comes to the herbs and seeds, your own preferences matter. If you don’t like fennel, skip it. If you prefer red pepper flakes to black pepper, go for it. If you like a little dill or rosemary – yum! If you can’t conceive a dish like this without garlic, then go right ahead and crush a clove or two.
You’re about to put everything in the Instant Pot and cook it, cook it good. The flavors will dissolve into each other and meld. So it’s not precise – this is comfort food! If you have more or less of one thing that’s okay. The picture above I didn’t have enough green beans so I diced up some carrots too. I also had celery stalks on hand and thought what the heck, so they got diced up and thrown in.
While the original recipe calls for ham, everyone likes a low-fat turkey kielbasa sausage nearly as much. I’ve also used corned beef, which was super salty so I used half as much. If it’s salty and smoky it’s going to work as a meat. This recipe is so simple (and inexpensive) that you’ll make it more than once and have chances to fine tune and play. If you’re starting with a raw meat, such as ham shanks, check out this ultra classic recipe. It was the first one I used, skipping step 1 because I’m just too lazy to find ham shanks.
Load up the Instant Pot
- If you want to be fancy, you can use the Saute feature to cook the onions and your herbs a bit first. Or not.
- Put in half of the onion, green beans, potatoes, and meat, kinda in layers.
- Put in the other half. You can’t do it wrong.
- Pour over the stock that already has the liquid smoke, salt and pepper stirred into it.
- Sprinkle on your herbs and such, or put the tea infuser on top.
- Lock it up, make sure the vent is set to “Seal”
- Press Manual and set for 5 minutes.
After the Cooking
- If you want super soft taters, let it natural release for 10 minutes.
- Otherwise, quick release.
- Fish out the tea infuser if you used one and gently stir.
- Spear a piece of ham before anyone catches you. I mean, err, perform quality control tasting.
One of my favorite things about this dish, after the flavor and how easy it is to make, is that as it cools the broth is reabsorbed into everything, making every bite increasing succulent. We use spoons. But you do you.
Since there’s a lot of variation possible, I have only a rough estimate of the nutrition. Served to 3 people who like to eat, it’s about 350 calories per person for what’s in the picture plus that much half again. Which ain’t much for a super comforting, warming chilly day dish that’s low in fat and makes the house smell like childhood.