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The "scorch method" in Pressure cooking


pazzaglia
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I've been participating mainly in the "Pressure Cookers 2011" topic but wanted to share this with everyone. I came up with a new method in pressure cooking called the "scorch method", purposely or unavoidably burning something in the pressure cooker to add flavor or authenticity.

My first recipe using this method did not make as big of a splash as I'd hoped. I guess only Italians who have had polenta from a cauldron can actually understand why having a crunchy crust at the bottom is a benefit.

Pressure Cooked Polenta 5 ways

polenta_top.JPG

polenta7.jpg

But my second published recipe using this method has met with great success and a slightly better reception.

Smoky Babaganoush in the pressure cooker

baba_ganoush_top.jpg

scorch_method.jpg

This time, the smoke is part of the flavor component, and the scorch is actually integrated into the recipe. Obviously, there is a very fine line between "scorching" and "burning" which would render the food completely inedible as opposed to more flavorful. This method is not recommended for electric pressure cooker users - because it could damage the non-stick coating of the insert.

Enjoy, and happy scorching!

Ciao,

Laura <-- extreme pressure cook

P.S. If you're interested, see the Cooking Modernist Cuisine topic for a discussion introducing my other new pressure cooker method Soft, Medium and Hard Boiled Eggs in the pressure cooker in honor of the book!

Edited by pazzaglia (log)

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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I've accidently made rice this way. If you catch it when the bottom starts to caramelize and stick, but isn't quite burnt, and add water to halt the process, it adds a toasty flavor. Don't scrape the very bottom layer in with the rest of the rice.

Since it's always been the unintentional consequence of my neglect, I've more often burnt the rice beyond edibility. It's sorta like making risotto backwards.

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I've accidently made rice this way. If you catch it when the bottom starts to caramelize and stick, but isn't quite burnt, and add water to halt the process, it adds a toasty flavor. Don't scrape the very bottom layer in with the rest of the rice.

Since it's always been the unintentional consequence of my neglect, I've more often burnt the rice beyond edibility. It's sorta like making risotto backwards.

You know, I've been wondering if you can make a paella with a crunchy bottom, in the pressure cooker. However, as you mentioned, you don't necessarily want the smoky smell to permeate the whole dish - paella is known for crunchiness not necessarily smokiness. Most likely, it's something that has to be made in the large pressure fry-pan and then "scorched" at the end with the top off.

Tell me more about the risotto recipe you are using - maybe I can help you to make the "non-caramlized" version! ; )

Ciao,

L

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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I've accidently made rice this way. If you catch it when the bottom starts to caramelize and stick, but isn't quite burnt, and add water to halt the process, it adds a toasty flavor. Don't scrape the very bottom layer in with the rest of the rice.

This reminds me of a number of persian rice dishes where a crust in formed on the bottom of a rice dish, which when the rice is turned out becomes the top. It can be made from pitta, potato or the rice itself and is considered basically to be "the best bit".

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Tell me more about the risotto recipe you are using - maybe I can help you to make the "non-caramlized" version! ; )

Ciao,

L

When I'm trying to make risotto, I don't have any problems. I follow the Marcella Hazan "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". I use equal amounts of olive oil and butter, saute some diced onion, then add the rice and some garlic to "stir fry". When the rice starts to color, I add about a cup of warm stock, maybe less, depending on the amount of rice - just enough to cover the rice. I keep stirring as the liquid reduces by absorption/evaporation, and add more aliquots of stock as each one disappears. I stir til the rice is done.

Depending on what I'm adding - mushrooms, spinach, squash, sweet pepper, asparagus, meat, fish - I'll add them along the way. Earlier if they need to cook with the rice - e.g., I usually start sliced carrots before the onions, so they get well carmelized; mixed in at the end of they are already cooked, like leftover smoked turkey from my charcoal grill(this used drippins from the turkey, a little leftover gravy, and water for the stock - it was really yummy).

I usually reheat additions in the microwave, and add them at the very end, so I don't have to worry about adding them too soon and overcooking, or too late and have the rice done before the meat is reheated.

I also make grits in a similar way; sauteeing in oil until they start to toast, then adding room temperature water to halt the toasting and start the simmering. I add all the water at once, and then cook like regular grits, over lowered heat, with just an occasional stir. Grits will go from nicely toasted to burnt very quickly, so I keep the water in a mason jar by the stove. Once it reaches the toast stage, there isn't time to futz around getting water from the faucet. I only use enough oil to barely saturate about 1/4 - 1/3 of the grits. Mixing as it toasts will distribute the oil throughout the grits, so they are all slightly oily but still grainy and not clumpy. Start skimpy on the oil/butter, and add more if needed.

I think the increased thermal coupling from the oil is important to get the more uniform toasting through the grains of rice or grits. I think that without the oil, the bits in contact with the pan would overcook without developing a nice toasty flavor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

BTW, I've been playing with my pressure cooker on a portable 2000watt induction cooktop. Made my pressure cooker polenta and it DID NOT scorch! Wow. Actually I'm really impressed that the speed and efficiency of brining pressure cookers to pressure is so brief, that the overall cooking time needs to be adjusted - since whatever is in the cooker is actually cooking also WHILE the pressure cooker is reaching pressure. Didn't get a chance to try the eggplant because we ran out of time. But anyone trying my pressure cooker recipes on an induction cook-top should add an additional minute of pressure cooking time to my recipes to compensate for the very quick rise to pressure!

L

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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