My first thought for a title was “My Pressure Cooker Makes me a Cheap and Easy Cook” but that would not have sent the right message! Especially if I lead off with “Where has the pressure cooker been all my life? I’m in love!”
Double entrendres aside, the truth is my pressure cooker takes a good cook and makes me a great cook. A cook who can use whole foods to create tasty dishes that are quick and wholesome. A cook who can use less expensive meats, bagged lentils, fresh veggies and potatoes ~ and cook them in a way that locks in all their deliciousness and nutrients.
Soups. Aaaah. The soups are wonderful and they are free of BPA because there are NO CANS used. I can do homemade slit pea soup from bagged peas and fresh veggies from start to finish in less than hour. (That’s usually a 6 to 8 hour process doing it the regular way.)
Pot Roast? I am now the queen of Flake it With a Fork Pot Roast and it’s done in less than an hour. You may swear by your slow cooker, but I’ll never to go back slow now that I’ve gone fast with pressure and steam. Pork roast. Same deal. Scrumpious, tender and delicious. Beef stew. Yep. No more chewy meat. I even found a recipe for Beef Bourguignon that is now on the short list when company comes.
The cooker of my affection is by Kuhn Rikon. The stainless steel is sturdy and washes up fairly easily. It didn’t take too long to get the hang of how it works. Fortunately it comes with a recipe book to get you started and help you with cooking times. The newer high tech devices are safer and quieter. The model I use can be found on Amazon for less than $100. The company, known for its high-end cooking tools has higher priced versions available, but I have not had any trouble with this one.
Safety is important, so if you shop different brands, check the product reviews before you buy. You want to make sure the lid locking mechanism has safety features. You also want a pot heavy enough to handle the work load. Consider how much food you need to make. This 6 liter size makes enough food for a family of four, so you’ll need to go larger is you feed a bigger crew.
Here is the article that ran in last year’s spring issue that discusses the pressure cooker, the NuWave oven and the Vitamix blender. It also has the beef bourguinone recipe.
Here’s another example of how I use the pressure cook in everday life. I had a package of three chicken breasts on the bone and no idea of what to do with them. I took some Mojo marinade I had in the fridge and poured it in the bottom about 2 inches deep. I put in the metal trivet that keeps the food from burning on the bottom. I tossed in a small bag of baby carrots on top of the chicken so not to sit in the juice. Brought it up to heat and made sure the steam valve popped up. Then I mixed together a bag of Uncle Ben’s brown rice, a can of black beans and some Intensity Academy chili sauce in another pot to warm up.
After about 20 minutes of cooking under pressure, I used a wooden spoon to release pressure. Pulled out the chicken breasts and flaked the moist meat off the bone to put back in the juice. Then I put the chicken over the rice and beans and served the soft carrots on the side. In less than 45 minutes I had a high protein, low carb, mostly-homemade and flavorful dinner.
I have yet to make something that wasn’t delicious. Even the overcooked green beans tasted good (still working on my timing,) The pressure cooker is a kitchen tool that every cook should have. It’s worth the small learning curve to be able to create and follow recipes for homemade meals. You’ll save money and discover how easy it is to cook with lesser expensive whole food ingredients on a busy schedule.
Post by: Pam Settle, Editor of GoodLiving magazine