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pressure cooker

I am looking for opinions of a stove top pressure cooker. It's a 6 Qt model.
it seems it might save me time making soup in 1 hour instead of 3. But what else can I cook with it? Can I steam a chicken or reduce fat of other meat in much less time?

Costco is selling one now for $50 and it's tempting with a nice thick SS and also induction compatible.
It's made by this brand and I am not sure if it is exactly this one.. if it really does have multi ply construction that's a real bonus.

http://www.homevillage.us/ma18ststprc...

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  1. I cook chicken cacciatore, pork spare ribs in bar b que sauce, chicken stock, pinto beans, stew, chuck roasts and pozole, Yes they cook in much less time. 6 qt is a good general size. I recommend "Pressure cookers for Dummie" as a good general guide if you do not have one yet.

    1. I have the Cuisinart Electric PC. I have made roasts, soup, veggies (great for squash and artichokes), risotto.....lots more. I have not done chicken, but I see no problem. I expect even boneless/skinless will come out very moist.

      1. Oh, my, I love my centuries-old Preso...I cook lamb shanks (with port wine and garlic from recipezaar), short ribs (asian flavored from epicurious) and beans in it ... love it! It's not just for soups.

        1. Magefesa is a Spanish company, and I believe their pressure cookers are still made in Spain. The quality is supposedly good. If you decide to go with that brand, check to make sure that you can get replacement rubber gaskets without too much difficulty, since you'll eventually need one. You can use a pressure cooker to prepare anything that cooks in moist heat, including meat, poultry, vegetables, grains, and beans. (Yes, you can steam a whole chicken; takes about 5 minutes a pound at high pressure.) To get an idea of the possibilities, go to www.missvickie.com or take a look at any good pressure-cooker cookbook. I happen to like Lorna Sass's books very much, but there are plenty of other useful ones out there.

          1. I use my pressure cooker to make chicken stock, cook dried beans, cook potatoes before mashing (use the included basket for the potatoes so they won't get waterlogged.) and when I make sauerkraut, potatoes, smoked sausage. When you get the hang of dried beans, you'll never want the canned again. I have used the pressure to make chilli, but I don't do that generally. Get Laura Brody's book so you can understand your cooker. (The New Pressure Cooker Cookbook.) I almost forgot. When I make beef stew, I use my cooker.

            1. That is a great price on a well made pressure cooker. I would be sure that it's a true spring valve or pop up and that it's not a modified jiggle-top (which means that you have to pay more attention). Could't really tell.

              They do have very thick bottoms and you can cook everything from your morning steel cut oats to stews, whole chickens and cheesecakes for dessert. Makes 5 minute mashed potatoes and 6 minute lentil soup.

              I love all my pressure cookers.

              Good luck and have fun.

              1 Reply
              1. re: The Veggie Queen

                I bought a Megafesa 6qt pressure cooker about 2 years ago and love it. At first I was a little afraid to use it since all my life I've heard horror stories about pressure cookers but since I hate my kitchen anyway, I figured if the thing blew up, maybe the insurance would allow me to remodel the kitchen. It didn't blow up. The newer cookers have a lot of safety devices built in so things won't blow AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW DIRECTIONS and DO THE TESTING/CLEANING AS INSTRUCTED. I no longer buy soup stock from the stores, I make my own since it only takes maybe 10 mins. from the time the steam starts going and I know there's nothing extraneous added to the stock (like carrots and celery and onion powder which the store-boughts have which alters the flavor of the stock). I cook artichokes and it only takes 5 mins! I've cooked pulled pork (or at least something very similar since I can't eat processed tomatoes). I make tomato sauce. I make chicken wings. I've done stews and soups. I love my cooker and can't understand how any professed chef could live without one. It really reduces the cook time of almost everything (not rice) significantly and I'm into "instant" food. There was something we cooked recently where we had to cook it in the cooker for a whole hour and I thought that was just unconscionsable. You cannot fry stuff and everything you cook has to have a liquid base or surrounding it (the liquid is always need to make enough steam to get the cooking done, and to keep the ingredience from burning in the pot). I haven't had to replace the rubber gasket yet but I might buy an extra right now so when I do need to, I have it. One thing: Megafesas are made in Spain so the instructions that come in the box are in Spanish. You have to go online and download their English version and, unlike the Spanish instructions, the English version does not come with recipes unfortunately. But you can do web searches for all the pressure cooker recipes you'll ever need and in time you can probably figure out how to use non-cooker recipes. I bought a couple cookbooks but find I don't use them.

              2. The 6 qt is about the perfect size for most recipes and dishes. You will never want to load the pressure cooker over 2/3 to allow room and pressure to build. Most pressure cookers will have a 2/3 full line scribed into the inside of the pot. I have 3 Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers, 2 where purchased at $25 each from a cooking store that used them as demos (8 qt, 5 qt, and 2.5 qt). These newer manufacturers, have a "stick" pressure gauge rather than the older jiggle top. Much easier (and quieter) to regulate. I've made the most wonderful soups, stews, the most wonderful risottos, and the easiest best rice in the world. My two favorite goto cookbooks are Lorna Sass - The Pressured Cook and Rick/Rodger/Arlene Ward - Pressure Cooking for Everyone. Lorna Sass has several pressure cooker cookbooks in addition to this one. You can also go to the Kuhn Rikon site http://www.kuhnrikon.com and get many great recipes as well. One of my favorites is a pork stew I make with very lean boneless pork loin, chicken broth, onions, carrots, and butternut squash. Tender, delicous, and the butternut squash tastes sweet and thick. As I'm pretty new to chowhound, if I can figure out how to upload a recipe I'll do so in the appropriate place. Hope that helps.

                Kokopelli1

                1. Whatever you get should have 15 PSI on high as that is the standard and is used for the cooking time in most recipes. Check Lorna Sass' site. Her books, Cooking Under Pressure and Perfect Pressure have excellent and easy recipes and give you tips on buying and using a PC. There are many other good books and websites too, Miss Vickie and Weiss (?), her names slips my mind now.

                  Most of the 'experts' recommend buying a second generation PC with added safety features - not the old jiggly type tops - ie: Presto. They still scare me to death although used properly they are safe. I prefer the all in one piece top that the newer ones have.

                  I have been using my 5L Kuhn Rikon for years and love it. Unfortunately they don't make a 6 quart, but that hasn't been a problem yet. Kuhn Rikon is expensive, about $200, but it solid, cleans up easily and I think you are getting what you pay for.

                  There are other cheaper second generation brands, Fagor is very popular, although I recently purchased one for a vacation home, on sale at Macy's for about $100, and wasn't pleased with it. You have to watch the steady stream of steam and I found that to be a nuisance, It also wouldn't come up to pressure the second time I used it, so I returned it and will go for another Kuhn Rikon. NO I don't work for them, but I wish I did so I could get an employee's discount :-)

                  After about 14 years of owing my Kuhn Rikon (I said it again), and only using it for applesauce, porcupine meatballs, risotto, I recently began to use it regularly, making various chicken dishes, lamb shanks and white beans and plain lamb shanks, spareribs, spit pea soup, and a few other dishes. I wish I had started using it this much years ago. I am going to make more soups and stock in it this coming week.

                  Try Lorna Sass' Porcupine Meatballs.... fabulous, my mother used to make them in her old Presto. The recipe along with a others, are on her website.

                  CA cook, I notice that you haven't come back to this board since your original posting .... let us know what you decided on and how you like it.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: Canthespam

                    Presto has the same basic safety features as the others - an interlock that prevents opening the lid under pressure (introduced on Presto in the late 1970s), and a safety value.

                    Having used a Presto for years, I am less than happy with the pressure indicator on Fagor. That slow (or fast) rocking of the jiggly top let me keep track of the pressure from the other room. But I do like the multilayer bottom of the stainless steel Fagor.

                    1. re: Canthespam

                      Follow up. I used the Magefesa maybe less than 6 times, then it stopped sealing consistently, half the time the gasket would get pushed out and steam everywhere around the lid. This is a big frustrating problem!

                      This also caused me to panic at first and thought I could turn the knob down to release mode to vent, big mistake, it release a high velocity spray of steam mixed with soup or worse, curry, it made a spectacular mess. Maybe I wasn't supposed to do that but I don't have alot choices when the steam blow from the gaskets looking like a shuttle about to take off.

                      The sealing problem happened after I ran water to cool the cooker, although all of the pressure cookers says they can handle this, I won't be doing this again on any PC that I will buy.

                      As for the company support, they are not quite there.. They asked me to tighten some screws, I called back and said it still doesn't work. They had to consult and call me back next day told me to get refund and costco and they'll let me order by mail a new one at the costco price (which is $50, super cheap!) Could have just sent me a new lid to try?

                      Food came out great though and I am hooked on to this PC business.

                      So now I returned the Magefesa (thanks to Costco easy return) but ordered a 8 quart Kuhn-Rikon Stock pot. I called KR and the person answered all my questions, within the Duromatic line mostly functions same, just different handles and one of them have a release knob instead of hold with a ladle and release.. The experience with the mageFesa 6.3 qt told me that I couldn't make enough broth (I like to make pork bone broth and use it to make ramen soup). So a 8 quart will give me much more capacity. I also went with stock pot style because the handles are shorter, I have read you can avoid the steam with longer handle, but 2 things. I kept knocking the pot by the handle on my induction cooktop which is slick.. and also it was alot of space taken up by the handle in the fridge, so I am going with the stock pot with 2 loop handles.

                      I am reading now the KR uses a little dip stick so you have to dial the heat just right, but with induction I don't see much problems. This is comparing to the knob and vent selector that vents a bit harder if you have the heat too high. I am expecting the KR will emit even less steam and no hiss. Even with the hissing type cooker, the broth smell is strong.

                      Will report back later

                      1. re: CACook

                        Used my new Kuhn-Rikon 8 Liter (US 8.5 qt) stock pot last night,
                        works really well and need to adjust my cooking time also, I over cooked my stew by 15 minutes. It seems more powerful than my previous cooker, and there isn't any visible steam or condensation from it.

                        1. re: CACook

                          Thanks for the updates. Sorry to hear of your trials with the Magefesa, but at least it all ended happily with the Kuhn-Rikon!

                          1. re: Miss Priss

                            My mom got me using pressure cookers about 15 years ago when I began making baby food for my son. I use mine a couple of times a week. Dried beans are definitely easier. I make a lot of hummus so it saves a lot of money cooking dried chick peas/garbonzoes (sp?) as opposed to canned. Tastes better, too. To reduce the pressure quickly, I just put the PC under running cold water. It brings the pressure down quickly (rather than using the release valve). I broke my handle on my PC and will be looking for one soon. Would love to hear suggestions of other (affordable) PCs, too.

                            1. re: ohboys

                              ohboys, if you search this board you'll find several threads in which people share their experiences with various brands and models of PC. You can also get some useful information from www.missvickie.com.

                              1. re: Miss Priss

                                I use Miss Vickie's book often. Love to use the KR pressure cookers. Worth the money. Enjoy reading and researching all about them at Chow.

                                1. re: Miss Priss

                                  Thanks so much for the info on missvickie. That is a great site! I think I'm more confused than ever on which PC to buy, though, now that I've looked at some of the posts. :) I just used my PC tonight and the handle is getting really lose (broke it a couple of years ago) so I think I'm going to have to stop using it and find a new one SOON. Thanks for the reply.

                            2. re: CACook

                              I recently purchased another Kuhn Rikon for my vacation home, as I got tired of schlepping my old one back and forth for longer stays. The new PC is about 18 years newer than my first one, and performs just as well and seems to be identical in quality. The top valve looks a little bit different, but works exactly the same way.

                              As for overcooking, I find the cooking time in Lorna Sass' books to be accurate. Cook on pressure for the time given in the recipe and then bring down the pressure, as instructed. If the food is undercooked, just put the top back on, not tightly and let it sit a few minutes, or bring it back up to pressure and cook for a few more minutes and the release the pressure as instructed in the recipe.

                              If you see steam or condensation, turn the heat down, and check that you are on the right red pressure line, low or high. Most recipes, meats, stews etc... call for higher pressure.

                              I love the customer service people at Kuhn Rikon in Novato, CA. They have always answered my questions and have been most helpful.

                              1. re: Canthespam

                                Canthespam, I too have had excellent experiences with Kuhn-Rikon's customer service people in CA. Their responsiveness is one of the many reasons why I feel that this expensive product is well worth the cost.

                        2. i adore my pressure cooker. chicken thighs in under 10 minutes. pho in and 1 1/2 hours. 20 minutes stock. stews, curries, braises, etcetc

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: thew

                            Hi thew, Got a pho soup recipe to share?

                            1. re: CACook

                              last few times i've taken bits and pieces of several recipes, kept what i liked, tweaked what i didn't.

                              i'm coming to the conclusion that you can get a delicious, if faux, pho while really streamlining the process down to cut cost and time. but the pressure cooker certainly shifted it from a 6-8 hour process to a 2 hour one

                              1. re: thew

                                Isn't it essentially a beef stock flavored with spices like star anise and cinnamon? And to get good body use parts like tendon.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  yes. using oxtails and brisket.

                                2. re: thew

                                  So a few years on, will you share with us what you have tweaked up?