Pressure cookers?

yeonaskyApril 30, 2007

How useful are pressure cookers? What do you cook in yours if you have one? Do they actually keep the nutrients in better for stews etc, than other pans? What brand of pressure cooker do you have? Why don't you like them and why don't you want to buy one? These are a few of the questions rattling around in my brain as I look for a slow cooker type of idea, throwing everything into the pot and coming out with the best soup or stew ever, in either a shorter period of time or started in the morning and finished at night. How's that for a run on sentence. :)

Thanks for any answers.

Yeona

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arley_gw

I didn't get a pressure cooker until I was 50. I now wish I had had one when I started cooking on my own. I'm really enthusiastic about using it, and wouldn't want to cook in a kitchen without one.

There are several different applications at which this gizmo excels: one, you can cook healthy stuff in a lot less time. Beans and grains cook in a fraction of the time they would usually take. You can steam artichokes in 12 minutes instead of 45. Here in the South you can get your collard greens tender in about 5 minutes.

Another application itÂs great at is having comfort foods in a fraction of the time it usually takes. Pot roasts in under an hour. Corned beef and cabbage in about an hour. Chili. Soups and stews. Osso Buco alla Milanese in about an hour (and I prefer it made in the pressure cooker to the old fashioned way).

One other use: the pressure cooker makes nearly foolproof risotto in a matter of minutes. Risotto is tedious to make so I rarely did; now I can make it easily.

I understand you can even make cheesecake in these. I never have, though.

Another use: after a meal of roast chicken IÂll throw the carcass into the cooker along with some water, onion, celery, carrot, etc. and bring it up to pressure. By the time IÂve cleaned up the kitchen the cooker has made some yummy stock to be used in my next meal.

Lorna Sass is the head honcho (f. honcha? honchess?) of pressure cooking enthusiasts. I have four of her cookbooks, and theyÂre all good. Her best single volume is "Pressure Perfect"--that's sometimes given as a premium if you buy a pricey pressure cooker. I have never had a dud with any of her recipes.

I recommend stainless steel over aluminum. There's a website devoted to Pressure Cooker cookery, missvickie.com. There's lots of good advice there. The two brands she recommends are the Kuhn Rikon and the Fagor. Kuhn Rikon is pricey but wonderful.

I have the Kuhn Rikon 6 qt stockpot, and really like it. If you cook for more than 2 or 3, though, get an 8 quart model. There are several Internet vendors selling Kuhn Rikon, but it isn't discounted much if at all.

The new PC models are very safe, with several safety features. Don't worry about the stories of you grandmother's pressure cooker exploding. The newer PC's also don't require nearly as much liquid as older models; they can get up to pressure on as little as a quarter of a cup of liquid.

Do a search on this forum for 'pressure cookers' and you'll find many threads. Good luck and bon appetit!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 5:03PM
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yeonasky

Thanks so much for your expertise. I love the cook it quickly idea of pressure cookers. And oops, I forgot to do a search. I've been here a while and usually go search everything. My excuse is that tax time has permanently addled my brain. Errr I hope it's not permanent. I've decided on reading here, and some other pertinent posts on the search page, to buy a pressure cooker. I always need stock, hate waiting for it, and have always loved the idea of making risotto but was afraid to, for how long it took to make, too. The other thing I'm hoping to use it for is cooking sweet potatoes, Ipomoea batatas, as I use these regularly for their health benefits, low sugar content and low cals. :)

Thanks again for your clear and helpful post. I'll look into the cookbook. BTW, what really caught my interest was tht cheesecake can be made in the pressure cooker. I love cheesecake!

Yeona

Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet potatoes

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 5:41PM
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jessyf

Here is my er 'attempt' at PC cheesecake. I used a Lorna Sass recipe - she's my other PC favorite cookbook author. I might have to go back and rethink this, as much as I love my PC (high five Arley_!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 8:55AM
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arley_gw

While I really like my 6 qt stockpot (although I sometimes wish it were a little bigger), the next PC purchase I make is gonna be a pressure frypan. That's not to be used to pressure-fry stuff like KFC chicken (who the hell would want to do THAT?) but it would be used to do a quick braise on tough but flavorful meats. Brown the item, add a little liquid, and bombard with pressure until it's tender. I'm lusting after the Kuhn Rikon 5 qt brasier ($$$), but I may have to wait for Santa to bring it.

Different manufacturers will often make a set of PCs that share a common lid. (That, I assume, is the part which is more expensive to manufacture.) You may find it worthwhile (and economical) to buy a set which includes both a stockpot-ish shaped PC for soups and stews and a frypan-ish shaped PC for braises. The link is to an example of one such set.

Here is a link that might be useful: fagor set

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 9:10AM
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eandhl

I have what was called the Fagor Duo Combi Pressure Cooker set, I love it. In the small one, fresh beets in minutes, Soups in the large one or when I am cooking a large amount of turnips etc. The generation2 PC's are safe and you can do more in them i.e. dry beans.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:22AM
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bean_counter_z4

I have a Presto 6 qt I really like it. I cook 6 porkchops in wine, done in 15-min fork tender. 3# pot roast with rich gravy 45-min falling apart tender, moist, delicious. Swiss steak, pulled pork, roasts, soups. Potatoes, vegetables in minutes. Anything you can slow cook, you can do in a pressure cooker in minutes instead of hours. Get stainless.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 11:55AM
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yeonasky

Wow I'm sold again. I will look for a stainless set with a pressure cooker with frying capability. I looked up roast pork, which my daughter loves and found a recipe from Claire Deluna so I now will add that to my recipes for my new adventures in pressure cooking.

Is there anything you don't like cooked in the pressure cooker? See I always seem to have another question.

Thanks again for your helpful responses. :) Off to price pcs.

Yeona

Here is a link that might be useful: Pork Roast Divine

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 1:53PM
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arley_gw

Yeona, fish and seafood generally don't do well in the PC because they are easily overdone. Similarly, it's easy to overdo very tender vegetables so I don't use a pc for that. (A collapsible or other type of steamer is what I use.)

For what it's worth: on 'Iron Chef' I saw one of the contestants use a Kuhn Rikon stock pot, and on 'Good Eats' I saw Alton Brown use what looked like a Fagor PC to make chili.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2007 at 8:53AM
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yeonasky

Thanks Arley. That makes sense, and I hate overcooked seafood especially. I still haven't decided which PC to get, but will look closely at what the Pros used. It's as good a place as any to try to find the "one". :)

Thanks again,

Yeona

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 2:03PM
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homey_bird

I am a big fan of pressure cookers. They can cook vegetables, make stews, and make rice very well. What they cannot do well are the recipes that require different ingredients to be added over time depending on different cooking times. It is very difficult to open a PC once it has built the pressure. Besides, if you do, then you pretty much start from scratch.

The one area where a PC rocks is for cooking lentils. I do not think any other device can cook lentils as quickly and since they are tough to cook, in general it is easy to not overcook them in a PC.

All in all, I believe that it is an important device in the kitchen. I would definitely have at least one.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 12:18AM
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