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Celebrating cooking under pressure  RSS feed

 
r ranson
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Let's have a great big thread celebrating the pressure cooker. 

I know, I know, pressure cooking isn't technically a 'traditional' cooking method.  It's only been around about three and a half centuries.  However, I think it's a useful tool in the kitchen.  It saves time, money, and energy

The thing I use my pressure cooker for most often is cooking chickpeas from dry.  On the stove, it takes me 4 to 8 hours to cook store bought chickpeas, but in the pressure cooker, I can cook them in 20 to 30 minutes (14 to 18 minutes on high pressure, plus heating up time)*.  That saves a lot of time and energy.  It also uses considerably less water, as I don't have to top up the chickpeas

hip pressure cooking is a website filled with free recipes, instructions and inspiration for pressure cooking.  It was here that I discovered that the pressure cooker is good for more than just dry peas and beans. 

Here are some infographics from that site.





One of my favourite recipes so far is from the book Hip Pressure Cooking (by the same author as the website).  It's a take on Minestrone soup with advice on how to adjust the recipe to different seasonal foods. 

Some premies.com threads about pressure cookers and cooking

choosing a stove top pressure cooker
choosing an electric pressure cooker
Pressure canning pulses


What do you cook in your pressure cooker?  Please share your favourite recipes.  Considering getting a pressure cooker, but got questions?  Ask away.

*these times are for soaked chickpeas.  Homegrown chickpeas only take me about an hour and a half stovetop and 5 min in the pressure cooker.
 
r ranson
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Hip Pressure Cooking is creating a free video series about ... um, well pressure cooking.

Starting December 9th,  you’ll  get expert tips, advice and guidance on making pressure cooker recipes.  We’re not going to leave you to fend for yourselves – this series also includes hand-holding and ongoing support directly from expert cooks in our forums and Laura Pazzaglia – founder of the hipcooking.com website, cookbook author, and pressure cooker manufacturer consultant.

...

Each episode in the series has detailed explanations and demonstrations on how to use the pressure cooker, tips on what to do and a delicious, recipe (or two)!  Included, too, are a written episode summaries (go your own speed), articles with more details (delve deeper) and down-loadable materials to use as you wish*- teach someone else to pressure cook!

Read more: Welcome to Pressure Cooking School! http://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooking-school/


The downside for me is that this series will be about electric pressure cookers.  But the techniques are very similar to stove top ones, so I'll be watching with keen interest. 
 
David Livingston
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I love my pressure cooker and looking forward to seeing what these folks have to say
Let's not forget that you can use the pan for other uses with the lid off mine is 8 litre and doubles as my jam/chutney pan

David
 
John Polk
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I used mine mostly for beans plus pot roasts/stews.
Don't forget: Since a pressure cooker keeps the flavor, and tenderizes a cut of meat, you can get spectacular results with much cheaper cuts of meat.
 
John Polk
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As a side note, a friend inherited a 40 year old pressure cooker when her grandmother passed away.  It needed a new gasket, plus some other parts.  She found them all at http://www.pressurecooker-outlet.com/Pressure-Cooker-Parts.htm

So, don't just throw away an old cooker because the local kitchen store doesn't have parts !

 
r ranson
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John Polk wrote:As a side note, a friend inherited a 40 year old pressure cooker when her grandmother passed away.  It needed a new gasket, plus some other parts.  She found them all at http://www.pressurecooker-outlet.com/Pressure-Cooker-Parts.htm

So, don't just throw away an old cooker because the local kitchen store doesn't have parts !



Thanks John,  I'm really glad you linked to this.

I was just thinking about getting a spare gasket for my pressure cooker.  I'm not sure how long it will last.  It looks good, but somewhere I read to replace it every so many years if it's good or not. 
 
r ranson
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Today I used my pressure cooker twice.  It's a busy week ahead of us with the possibility of a big storm (which adds more work to our day).  So I'm cooking up a few pots of goodies to keep us fed.

I'm cooking with the WMF perfect Plus 4.5L.  It's a stove top pressure cooker and it's just the right size for me. 

First thing was a broth from a ham hock.  I got the hock for about 75cents at the butcher and I bacon-ed  (cured and smoked) it when I was making bacon.  All in all the ham hock cost about a dollar.  I added water, the tops and peels of some veg, and then cooked on high for half an hour.  This broth used to take me about 24 hours to cook on the stove in order to get it just right.  This is a HUGE savings in time.  The broth is now cooking with split peas which cost under a dollar.  Huge pot of soup for under two dollars and made in half a day instead of three days.

For my next trick I made winter squash risotto
  

It turned out a little bland, so I stirred in some butter and cheese.  Much better.  I think next time I'll add a bit of saffron on safflower for even more colour. 
 
Ellie Strand
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I'm new to pressure cooking and am looking forward to learning more. I use my stove top PC to cook frozen chicken quarters and make bone broth at the same time; make steel cut oats to last a week for quick breakfasts; and cook dry beans, canning what is not used immediately. Also use for soups, beef bone broth and cooking offal for my dog.

Sorely tempted to buy an Instant Pot when Amazon had them on sale for <$70, but decided to keep on with my stove top and use the conversions posted on the web to alter IP recipes to stove top. Why did I buy a stove top in the first place? I wanted to can veggies. Although I purchased an 8L model, I was disappointed to find I could only fit 4 pint jars in it. Pints are a better choice for me and hubby, we don't eat as much in our 60s as we did 40 years ago. However, it initially was a disappointment. I had all these quart jars full of beans I had to move into pint jars.

Thanks for posting the free cooking classes link, R Ranson.
 
John Todd
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Love my electric PC.

Rice in 3 minutes + 10 minute steam out.

Hard Boiled eggs in 1 minute + natural cool down.

So much more it can do.  Mine gets used at least 3 times a week!
 
K Putnam
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Timely.  One of the things I've been working on is more batch cooking so I have more prepared meals ready to go at home.  It has drastically cut down on my meals out over the last few months.  Anyways, so I added a pressure cooker to my kitchen to help with this goal.  Frankly, I love spending hours cooking beans or stew or what have you, but if it is the difference between prepping food in less time and not prepping food, I'm going with meal prep!  The unplanned major upside is the reduction in cleanup.  Given that you just close the lid and don't stir, few drips or bubbles or whatever getting all over the stove that then needs cleaning.  Cleaning is my limiting factor in cooking, so this is a good thing for me.

The road so far:

Pinto beans: exceeded expectations.  Probably the best batch of beans I have ever cooked, to my great surprise.

Taco meat:  browned some turkey, threw in seasonings, and let that cook for about 12 minutes.  I combined the beans and taco meat with some rice and a bit of cheese and froze about 15 burritos. Great.  Easy.

Quinoa:  I tried the one-minute method but let it sit too long to naturally depressurize.  Overcooked the quinoa.  Drat.  But, I think the method is probably sound with a shorter waiting period.

Chicken Stock:  Going right now.  On one hand, it's not nearly the volume as my 22 quart stock pot.  On the other hand, it took three minutes to throw some extra chicken parts and veggies in the pot and close the lid.

I'm working on turning the remnants of a "family pack" of meat I bought from the butcher a year ago into freezer meals that I will eat. Turns out, I can't get through a smallish pack of meat in a year, so won't be doing that again.  But, there's still a few cheap cuts in there so I'll probably be back to this thread sometime soon.



 
K Putnam
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Since I had stock ready to go, I tried a quick soup with pulses...overcooked the hell out of that!   I think anything that is not meat or beans, err on the side of undercooking.   It's hard because the recipes out there vary greatly in time.  For lentils everything from three minutes to twenty, which is a massive difference in range.  I went with ten and let it depressurize for a few minutes...fail.  Flavor was there, but carrots that could pass as baby food...maybe not so much.

It's a totally new cooking method to me...it's going to take some practice. 
 
John Todd
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Definitely respect the power of the cooker.  OTOH, if you have lots of babies to feed, then it's a no-brainer!

When I cook chili, I do the dry beans first in plain water, then drain them, brown the meat/onions/garlic in the PC, drain, then toss everything back in with spices, etc., and PC for 5 minutes.
 
Anne Miller
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Yesterday I was reading a thread that gave me an idea to get rid of all the last of the tomatoes that I am sick of eating.  I think it was the thread on free soup.

My PC instructions and recipes didn't have any thing on tomatoes or for making sauce.  So I tried hip pressure cooking site and all I could find was:

http://www.hippressurecooking.com/t3-tomato-tomato-tomato-soup/

All the recipes I found used canned tomatoes then I found this one doing a google search:

http://www.hippressurecooking.com/large-batch-tomato-sauce-pressure-cook-6-pounds-at-once/

So I have used the PC and now I am reducing by simmering.  When I like the consistency and it has cooled I will use the immersion blender like she suggests.

I may PC cook potato and carrots to add to some of my sauce for a potato and tomato soup.

 
r ranson
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I'm a big fan of hip pressure cooking, both the book and the free website.  her time charts are the cats meow. 

The only thing is, my pressure cooker cooks rice much faster than the recommended time.  5 minutes will make it mush, but 4 is perfect al dente.  It's amazing what one minute will make.  Perhaps it's because I'm only a few feet above sea-level?
 
Ellie Strand
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Thanks again, R. Ranson!
 
r ranson
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In the Hip Pressure Cooking cookbook, there's a recipe for minestrone soup with lots of ideas on how to alter it.

I've taken this recipe and transformed it into my Really Quick Harvest and Leftovers Soup (with bacon)  Here are my general directions that I follow now.  I rely heavily on these time charts to know how long to cook each stage.  For better instructions, your local library should have this book.  But you'll probably want to own your own copy, so might as well just buy it.  It's the only pressure cooking book I have and I love it.

1. Bacon, olive oil and onions (leeks, garlic, whatever) in a pan, fry on medium until translucent and bacon is cooked (if using garlic or leeks, may have to cook the bacon first)
2.  Pulses (beans or chickpeas), usually soaked, usually 1 to 2 cups, in the pot they go, with enough water to cover two finger widths (preferably no more than 1/3rd full).  cook at pressure and time recommended for those beans.  If using chickpeas, the time can vary a lot, so I use soaked chickpeas and usually cook for 18 to 20 min.  Slow pressure release. 
3. While beans are cooking, gather together veg and leftovers.  Things like carrots, raw winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, dry tomatoes (I dry mine to crispy then add them to soups and pasta), or canned tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes, celery, whatever else in the kitchen is looking a bit tired and wants cooking up.  Chop them into soup sized bits.  When the beans are cooked, release the pressure, add the veg and cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes depending on how big the chunks are. 
4. rice or pasta .  When the veg are done, release pressure and add a small amount of rice (about 1/4cup) or likewise with pasta.  If there's too much moisture and you want more of a pottage, then add a couple of teaspoons more rice.  Or pearl barley, or whathaveyou.  (try to keep it under 1/2 full, but sometimes I'll play with fire pressure and have it almost 2/3rds full.  Bring back to pressure and cook ... she recommends 5 minutes, but I just bring it to full pressure then let it slow release.
5. cabbage, kale, sauerkraut or other greens, chopped up fine.  When pressure is released, add greens to soup, stir in well, season with salt and pepper.  If you have any leftover roast squash this is a good time to add it in.  Cook NO pressure, just normal cooking, until greens are cooked.

Takes me 20 min to an hour depending on what beans I'm using and if I soaked them.  A very hearty meal, perfect for lambing season.

Bacon is optional, I suppose. 

 
r ranson
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Apparently, there are 6 different ways we can open a pressure cooker - depressurize it.  I think it's all to do with how fast we release the pressure. 

The pressure cooker my parents used had a rocker weight on it, so they really only had two ways to open it - wait a while or put under cold, running water.  My modern day pressure cooker has a pressure release switch in the handle which gives me more options.  The information below is borrowed from hip pressure cooking.



How to Choose an Opening Method Using the wrong opening method can give you limp veggies, bean mush or rock-hard dry meats – here are a three principles that you must know to choose the right opening method for your pressure cooker recipe:  The food is still cooking even when it isn’t “cooking”. When the pressure cooker is both building and releasing pressure, the temperature inside is near or above the boiling point, which means the food is actually cooking during this time, too.  This is generally fine for meats, legumes and desserts.  It is not fine for vegetables that you may want to have more al dente as they continue to cook during this time-  choose the fastest release method  for veggies while more robust foods will benefit from a longer opening method.  The faster the release, the more movement. The speed at which pressure is released is directly related to how much movement is inside the pressure cooker – more speed gives the food more movement.

...


NORMAL pressure release Sometimes this method is called Quick, Manual and, confusingly, Automatic. This is a fast opening method that can take 2 to 3 minutes.  Normal pressure release means that the cook should use the valve, or pressure releasing mechanism particular to their cooker  (such as a button to push, a lever to twist, or a slide to pull), to release pressure.
...


SLOW NORMAL pressure release This is a relatively fast opening method and can take from 5 to 6 minutes depending on the pressure cooker type (the element in electrics still retains heat after turning off) and fill level (more food will retain more heat).  Similar to Normal release, this method releases pressure using the cooker’s valve,  or the pressure releasing mechanism, but pressure should be released very slowly.

...



10-MINUTE NATURAL pressure release This is a slow and somewhat delicate pressure release, and as the name suggests, takes only 10 minutes – a little more if there is still pressure in the cooker that needs to be released (usually with electrics).

...


NATURAL pressure release This is the slowest and most delicate pressure release method, it can take anywhere from  10 to 30 minutes depending on the pressure cooker type (electrics take longer due to their thermos-like construction) and fill level (fuller pressure cookers will take longer).

...


This is a short summary of the different methods she recommends - just enough to whet your appetite.  Her article goes into detail on which method is best for what kinds of foods and what's happening inside the pressure cooker while it's de-pressurizing at these different speeds. 
 
r ranson
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Oh Wow!  I want to make THIS!



The problem is I just dried the last of my peppers.  I wonder if I can make this with dry peppers.

Then I start wondering if I can can the sauce, or maybe if I add some live culture from my fermented hot sauce, if that will make the sauce last longer?
 
r ranson
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The first video in the Pressure Cooking school series

Today we’re going to get acquainted with the pressure cooker. We’re going to learn all about the pressure cooker parts and what they do, the safety systems and we’re also going to put it through a test run, to see how it works.

Read more: Getting Acquainted – Pressure Cooking School http://www.hippressurecooking.com/getting-acquainted-pcs/







An enjoyable and informative video; however, it does focus on electric pressure cookers, not stove top. 
She talks about the difference between different brands (for example, some brands steam at high pressure, another brand's steam setting doesn't pressurise the food. 
There is also mention of different fill levels for different foods.
The parts of the pressure cooker.
Things like that.

It's a good overview of electric pressure cookers and how they work.  Some of the information transfers nicely to stove top pressure cookers, but some of it isn't relevent. 
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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R. I've enjoyed reading this thread. Good topic.

I have 3 large pressure cooker/canners (1 was my mom's, 1 I got for $14 at an auction and 1 I bought new 2 years ago) and 1 smaller pressure cooker (was my sister's MIL's. I got for taking care of her in her last days.)

I use the large new one for canning because the pressure needs to be accurate for proper canning.

The one I got at the auction, it's a lot thicker walled than the others and ,when tested, the pressure was slightly off. I use it a lot for deer shoulders and turkey legs. After they're cooked and cooled, I chop the meat and freeze it in smaller quantities for quick meals. I also use this one for my favorite - pork spare ribs!

The small one is great for reducing cooking time on long cooking veggies, small cuts of meat - especially good for less tender cuts of meat and is used often as a large saucepan too, since I have another lid that fits it well. Used mainly for dinner, as opposed to putting away in batches in the freezer.

I find it hard to use mom's cooker, sentimental I guess.

 
Ronnie Ugulano
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I love my pressure cooker!

Both my mother and grandmother used one, and when I was 16, grandma bought one for me. I cook pinto beans in an hour, a tri-tip in something less, potato soup in 15 minutes or less, chicken in less than 10, and so on. Compared to a slow cooker, I vastly prefer a pressure cooker. Lorna Sass writes a book Cooking Under Pressure that makes cooking with a pressure cooker a breeze. On the other hand, the 'net also offers lots of resources like Hip Pressure Cooking already mentioned. For money and time saved, it's worth getting over any fears to learn how to use.
 
Anne Miller
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Ronnie Ugulano wrote: Lorna Sass writes a book Cooking Under Pressure that makes cooking with a pressure cooker a breeze.


I have "Cooking Under Pressure" and was disappointed with it.  What recipes do you like?  If I remember correctly it was mostly bean recipes.
 
r ranson
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The next video in the Pressure Cooking School is up. 



Today we’re going to make our first pressure cooker recipe: a delicious Garlic Cauliflower Potato Mash – don’t worry, it’s easy! We’re also going to discuss your pressure cooker’s minimum liquid requirement and any adjustments you’ll have to make if you want to double or halve a pressure cooker recipe.

Read more: The First Recipe – Pressure Cooking School http://www.hippressurecooking.com/first-recipe-pcs/
 
r ranson
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hip pressurecooking Bean Essentials

It includes the difference between soaking and cooking beans from dry.  Also a recipe for Pressure Cooker Black Bean & Lentil Chili
 
r ranson
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Today I'm making chilli and chicken broth in the pressure cooker (not at the same time). 

Normally I would make both these on the normal stove top but I'm in the middle of a challenge to reduce my electrical bill and the pressure cooker cuts down cooking time by about 20 times.  I will, however, be making my regular bean pot for the week in my clay pot.  I know it takes forever, but the pressure cooker just doesn't do those beans justice. 
 
Of course, I found a very beautiful couch. Definitely. And this tiny ad:
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