Having trouble learning to cook with Pressure Cooker
I was delighted to recieve a pressure cooker!
But I'm having difficulty adjusting to the style of cooking....
My usual way of making a soup or stew would be carmelize meat..... take out... sautee mire poix of veggies.... deglaze with the wine and let reduce.... add some broth.... and the meat...... later add the veggies that cook more quickly...... and the whole process of cooking reduces the broth and juices into a delicious dish.
If I go through the above process, I dont seem to be saving any time cooking because the dish is almost done by the time I'm ready to just let it cook.
If I just throw everything in, I dont seem to get the same good flavor of carmelized meats or veggies, and I am limited in how much liquid I can add because liquids dont reduce much as everything cooks, so the concentration of flavor isnt there.
I would LOVE a recipe where I could dump everything in, put on lid, and open it up later to a finished product! (am I dreaming!?)
I also have issues with either overcooking or undercooking things, because even folloing the time guidelnes on my Fagor model, my pot doesnt seem to work the same way (eg, I cooked lentils with the pressure on for 40 minutes and they still had to simmer with the lid off for 15 more minutes until they were done.
Anyone have some tried and true recipes?!?! (I'd really appreciate it if you actually have tried the recipe yourself, because I can easily google search for sites with various recipes, but have no idea of knowing if they will work to produce a final dish up to chowhoud standards!)
You'll probably get more specific responses than this soon, but I have a general approach to suggest to your pressure cooker. It's wonderful for getting foods to break down quickly without losing flavor or nutrients, but you're right, the more intense flavor and caramelizing effect that you get with searing can be lost. So, you can do both. When I make a soup with a pressure cooker (which I just did because of my nasty cold), I saute the aromatics in the pot, first, in some oil, i.e. garlic and onion, and give the chopped vegetables a little bit of that treatment just to start the process. I then tossed in flavorings, a couple of chicken thighs, covered with stock, and let it rock. You should expect to adjust the flavor and the cooking time once you open the cooker, especially while you're getting to know it.
I think the problem is in adjusting your recipes for the pressure cooker, you also need to keep in mind to reduce the quantity of broth. There is no need to add and reduce as in a regular soup recipe, just add, cook and eat! I would not skip the initial browning, though.
Here is a great article with specific tips for pressure cooker soups:
5 Amazing Pressure Cooker Soup Tips & Tricks
There is also a series to teach newby's right now.
Your lentils are a mystery. I pressure cook mine for 10 minutes and they're nice and plump and aldente, 10 minutes more and they are creamy.
40 minutes under pressure and still not edible?!?!? That's as long as it takes to make it without a pressure cooker! I would check that your pressure cooker is actually reaching pressure!
I agree with pazzaglia: If your lentils aren't done in 40 minutes--hey, if they're not done in 10 minutes!--something is wrong with your cooker or your lentils. In either my Fagor or my Kuhn-Rikon PC, both of which reach 15 psi, ordinary brown lentils (which seem to cook faster than the fancy French ones) are done in 7 or 8 minutes, mushy at 10 minutes, and pureed at 20 minutes.