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Pressure Cooking

The second I heard “Risotto in seven minutes”, I was sold.  Hell, you could have renamed the Pressure Cooker to Only Makes Risotto and I would have ordered two.  But thankfully, this kitchen appliance is so much more.

I’m no expert, but I am determined to demystify the appliance so more Cooks enjoy it’s power.  So let’s talk…

 

  • While it is another kitchen appliance, it won’t take up much more room than a stock pot.  I love kitchen appliances.  My basement has a few collecting dust.  Every few months, I’ll dust them off and make some juice/ice cream/tiny amounts of crockpot dip…  But a PC is more than an appliance.  Rice/bean/lightening fast meat/canner/one pot wonder Cooker is probably a better name for the PC.
  • New ones won’t blow up on you.  Or so I’ve been told in every single cookbook I’ve read.  Make sure the seal is in good condition and the valve is working.  If so, cross that big Con off your list.  But read your manual!  Don’t trust me.  Remember I’m not expert.
  • It’s loud.  I’ve been told not as loud as our Grandma’s PC, but it’s still annoying to my family.  I probably wouldn’t use it to cook dinner if we had friends over.
  • I love the dump factor.  There’s browning and sauteing.   But once I pour everything in and lock it up, I’m done.  No more “Is that a rolling boil?  Or Is it a little more than a simmer?”  Nope.  I just wait for the little yellow button to pop.  Because my was owned before, I think my button might stick (I’m probably not cleaning it as well as a regular person and it’s just sticky…)  So when it seems to be spitting more than normal, I run my finger over the button.  It pops and then I turn the heat down to Medium High.
  • When a dish doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.  Once I forgot to lock the pot and burnt black bean soup.  Lock your pot, People.  That night we had cereal and no one was pissed at me.
  • Not everything cooks faster.  First, it has to come to pressure.  Then cook.  And then the pressure must return to normal.  I didn’t take into account the first and last parts of the process.  Dinner was late.  I hate being late.  For Natural Release, I always add at least 15 minutes to the dish.  It usually returns to normal faster than 15 minutes, so it’s like I get a gift.
  • Not everything cooks faster (again), but I think it taste better.  White rice is a great example.  It probably takes the same amount of time, but the difference is mind blowing.  I’m a pretty good cook.  But until the PC, I had clearly screwed up white rice.  It was edible, but was a bland as it’s name suggest.  Every single time I use the PC to make rice, my family praises me.  We eat a lot of white rice now…  I will also have a very difficult time eating canned beans again (these do cook much faster).  Minium soaking time and the beans come out buttery.  Stock?!  Please.  I gave up on making stock because I never found a recipe that had flavor (I’ve made gallons of the homemade stuff).  After using the PC for turkey stock, I finally get why people rely on homemade stock.
  • Things do cook faster!  A whole chicken in about 30 minutes?  Yes.  Bone-in thighs (a favorite in my kitchen) in 15?  Yes.  My normal beans had a 24 hour soak and 6-8 hours in the crock-pot.  Beans in the PC? 40 minutes.  Hell, yes!
  • I love a recipe.  I can’t just throw in a handful of This and a pinch of That.  I need direction.  I’ve found two books that I swear by:
  1. Pressure Perfect -Lorna Sass:  It was recommended by my cousin and I consider it the bible of PC-ing.  She includes basic cooking times for grains, beans, meats, and veggies.  She even includes different cuts of meat for each recipe and the adjusted times.  If you’re going to get one, get this one.
  2. Miss Vickie’s Real Food Real Fast– Vickie Smith:   I don’t need to make squid just because I can.  I doubt my family will eat it.  I simply want to make food my family will eat.  This cookbook has those recipes.

 

Have I convinced you yet?!

Do you have one in your basement?  Find the manual and dust it off.  Make a pot of beans.  Cook a whole chicken.  How about some rice?

Basic White Rice: adapted from “Pressure Perfect”

  • Heat 1 T. of oil or butter in the PC over high heat.  Add 1 C. of long-grain rice.  Lightly coat it.
  • Stir in 1 1/2 C. of water and add 1/2 t. of salt.
  • Lock lid in place.  Over high heat bring to high pressure.
  • Once it reaches pressure (little yellow button pops), reduce slightly to keep pressure.  I turn it down to medium high.  Just a smidge.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat (I just push it off the burner).  Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 7 minutes and then do a quick release. (ATK said to never do the Run Under Water release, so I don’t.  Plus it’d be cumbersome for me.  I use my quick release button and have never had an issue)
  • Once the button plops down, open lid and fluff.
  • If it’s not tender (I’ve never had this issue), replace the lid and let it steam in the leftover heat for a few more minutes.
  • Ta-da.

But I never make 1 cup of rice.  I alway do 3 C. (I have an 8 qt) of rice, 4 1/4 C. of water, 1 1/2 t. of salt, and 2 T. of oil.  Takes the same amount of time and I freeze what we don’t use.

pressure cooker

See what I mean, by if a normal person cleaned their PC…  It got a good scrub after this photo.

pressure_cookingchili corn bread beer

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