Do you pressure cook?
I have always been a big slow cooker, but recently I am really getting in to my pressure cooker. I find the food that comes out of the PC tastes much better than that I cook in my slow cooker. Who out there pressure cooks and if so any tips or recipe suggestions.
I have not had good luck with a slow cooker and have never owned a pressure cooker. But then I have no need to get a braised dish on the table quickly so the hours it spends either on the stove or in the oven are just fine with me--I like the control of the final product using those methods.
I don't use my PC for cooking per se, but for instances when I want to expedite the softening of meats, and beans. Even then I only take it half way.
I'm of two minds about getting one.
On one hand, I'd only use it for Jamaican oxtail.
On the other hand I love oxtail.
I don't use it as much as I ought to, but I do use it and love having it. Take beans for example. If I'm organized, I'll make them in the slow cooker, but between soaking time and cooking time, that requires me planning a day in advance. If I'm not so organized (often the case), they go into the pressure cooker, unsoaked, and cook quickly enough that they are doable on a weeknight.
Get a good newish PC cookbook. I use an older edition of Lorna Sass's book. It has loads of tips and recipes.
I find that you will still have to determine times for yourself, but having a good guidebook to give counsel is helpful to someone starting out with a cooker. There are some blogs devoted to the PC. I don't remember which ones, but someone here will point you in the right directions, no doubt.
Here are my tips:
Use lower pressure, by regulating the heat or the cooker itself, if possible, for most cooking.
Don't fill the cooker much past 1/2 full. (My big mistake early on.)
Try to convert a tried and true recipe to the cooker. That way you are more likely to use it.
Use it to assist with dishes. Cook your beans in it, and add to recipes, for instance. Make chicken broth in it to add to dishes. That sort of thing.
I cook dried beans, potatoes for mashing, potatoes and sauerkraut and sausage, chickens for broth, beef stew and soup. Have fun!
I received mine for Christmas 2011. LOVE it!! I'm still learning the ins and outs, but I love experimenting with it. Great chili, dried beans, stock, ribs. Made stock from Thanksgiving's grilled turkey carcass. It's not clear broth (my first effort) but it was quick and it's sure tasty.
I agree w/Sueatmo, get a cookbook. And, because of limits on how full you can fill the PC, I'm glad that I have an 8 quart. Wouldn't go any smaller than 6.
Yes! I bought a Presto 6 years ago and was intimidated by it for the first five. My Brazilian cleaning lady made us a huge batch of feijoada with it on a whim once (lucky us!) and I decided to face my fears. Now I am addicted! It's like something from the FUTURE! I do beans a lot, but really like it for meat. Especially if you work, it's so much faster. There's a great book called Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass. Nothing fancy, but really good recipes. The currys and biryani are especially good.
Lorna Sass is the queen. I've had great luck with the recipes in "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure."
Agree with you that pressure cooking is like something from the future....or magic! Been using my Kuhn Rikon twice a week since 1995.
While I've owned and tossed a lot of silly appliances over the years, my pressure cooker is forever.
I love mine. I can make (mostly) home made chicken noodle soup in about an hour. I use a grocery store roast chicken and remove the meat and make homemade stock in the PC. During the hour it takes to make the stock in the PC, I make homemade noodles and cook them in the stock after straining out the exhausted veg used to flavor the stock. Add a bag of mixed veg and then the chicken in to warm in the soup when the noodles are cooked, and a "from scratch" soup is on the table even after a day at work.
I love mine too. It's a great tool to have. You just have to be aware that while it does cook faster it doesn't work for everything and the times listed for cooking can often be misleading!
Often, the time says, "cooks in 3 minutes!" which is accurate but that is AFTER it reaches high pressure which can take time upwards of 10+ minutes (depending on hold cold things are inside the pot when you start).
But, I love my PC. I just made beef stroganoff in it the other day! I'm amazed that it turned out as good as it did.
I had never owned one until last winter -- now I use it all the time for soups, stews, etc -- it's a fantastic way to have comfort food on the table in a short amount of time -- a really nice compromise with a busy life.
My main reason for getting a pressure cooker was to save energy, and minimize heat in the kitchen in the hot months (more numerous and hotter in recent years).
Having the gas oven on for two or three hours is not an efficient way to cook unless I'm organized enough to fit in other dishes that can roast/bake at the same time. I've gotten better at that for fall, winter, and spring cooking. But for at least three months of the year, the oven is pretty much out of the question.
But it's still nice to have stews and braises in the fridge to enjoy in the cool of an evening after a long day of outdoor work, only needing to be warmed up. In a pressure cooker, these have to cook for only about a third of the time they'd spend in the oven. For a further reduction in heat generated, the pressure cooker can be heated by an induction burner, so that almost no extra heat is produced beyond what the pot itself gives off. It's also a blessing, especially in summer, to be able to run the pressure cooker right beneath the vent hood, allowing steam to be vented straight away.
Stock takes an hour and a half rather than four hours from start to complete finish (i.e., cooking time plus straining, quick-chilling, and storing the stock, and cleanup of the equipment), making it an after-dinner project rather than consuming a weekend afternoon. Or, if a long weekend cooking session is happening, the pressure cooker lets you get two to three dishes out of the same time with fewer pots to clean (beans and rice is one good example).
I just recently got my pc, and I haven't tried it for many things, but I always - always - save the carcass of any animal I cook to make stock. The stock itself is delicious, and it takes less than an hour from the time I throw it in the pot to when it's done. I often use the stock - which I freeze - to make various soups.
Like you, I used to be really into my slow cooker. But then I bought a Fagor 3-in-1 electric pressure cooker/slow cooker/rice cooker and fell in love. Now I pressure cook several times a week. My old slow cooker is sitting sadly on a shelf in the basement, and I never use the slow cooker function in the Fagor. I love the pressure cooker for beans, meats (especially chicken which comes out really nice and moist in the pressure cooker but always came out funky and overcooked in the slow cooker), white and sweet potatoes, rice and risotto, etc. I love (LOVE!) Lorna Sass's books, especially Pressure Perfect. As vvv03 said, the curries and biryani are great, but there are lots of other great recipes, too. The pastas are especially nice on a weeknight because you cook the pasta right in the pressure cooker with the sauce. I know it doesn't sound like it should work, but it does. And it's not mush like slow cooked pastas. And she has some recipes where you cook a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts for a couple of minutes and then shred them to make salads. Great for summer.
I started with the old Lorna Sass book, too - but have found a lot of recipes online, too. I like to layer cabbage and onions on the bottom, then top with meat of some kind. That's my go to meal, actually. About a half head of shredded cabbage, half onion, sometimes an apple, sometimes a can of tomatoes, and pork chops or stew meat, or even a ham steak.
My 6 qt isn't big enough to make stock in - but it does a great job on beans.
I have been teaching pressure cooking for more than 16 years. I have a pressure cooking cookbook all about coking whole foods: grains, beans, vegetables and all combination of them. I cook everything from steel cut oats (in just 3 minutes at pressure) to dessert and everything in between.
I use my pressure cooker almost daily. The foods not only tastes great but the color is bright and the texture is not mushy. Any food that requires liquid can be cooked in the pressure cooker.
I call the pressure cooker, "the slow cooker on steroids"..
Best tip: don't use too much liquid or your food will be soggy. Also, follow cooking times, always using the lowest one. You can always cook food longer but once it's overcooked, it won't come back.
I got an electric pressure cooker a year ago. I love it. It took a while to work out the altitude adjustments as I live at 8500'. When I cook meat I throw in lots of veggies. After cooking I blend most with a stick blender (boat motor) and I get the best gravy!
It is hard to beat tossing a frozen cornish hen in the cooker, throwing in some water and veggies and getting out a beautiful bird and broth in less time that it normally takes to thaw the bird.
I love my slow cooker for some things, too, like posole. Maybe I will have to try that in the PC...
I steamed a batch of tamles in it once and they came out great. I saw on QVC an electronic one while flipping through the channels. It didn't have the thingy dancing on top. Almost bought it but changed the channel before I did!