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Pressure Cookers – what's cooking?


Kerry Beal
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Question for all: does anyone else feel like pressure cooked meats and meat dishes like beef stew taste "canned" ? I did my usual beef stew in a PC once, and it tasted like Dinty Moore. Blagh!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I cook beef stews and chili very frequently. I use different methods, including oven, stove, fireplace, Weber grill, Big Green Egg, PC, and maybe some other ways I've forgotten. I have never tried Dinty Moore, but I'm assuming it tastes bad when I say "[Properly cooked] PC beef in no way resembles Dinty Moore." Or any other canned product I have not tried. Of all the ways I've tried, PC is the most reliable and, IMO, the most pleasing from a texture and moisture standpoint.

But, as I tried to explain above, I do not treat it like a PC version of an oven braise. I use much less liquid, and of course much less time. As ePressureCooker says, a natural release seems critical (I've never tried an unnatural release). So many variables here.

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Question for all: does anyone else feel like pressure cooked meats and meat dishes like beef stew taste "canned" ? I did my usual beef stew in a PC once, and it tasted like Dinty Moore. Blagh!

My guess is if you used a conventional beef stew recipe in the pressure cooker, it probably wouldn't come out well. There's a couple of things you need to adapt. First, you need to reduce the liquid by about a third. There's far less evaporation inside a pressure cooker, therefore you don't need as much liquid. I usually will add a teaspoon or two of beef base to compensate for any lost beef broth I would have started with, depending on the volume of the meal. Second, if there's any alcohol in the recipe, you need to reduce that as well. I would probably start with 2 tablespoons at most, and see how that is. (You can always add more after pressure cooking, and just let it boil for a few minutes to get rid of as much of the alcohol as possible.) Third thing is, pressure cooking can dull some herbs and spices. I would add any fresh herbs in at the end, after pressure cooking. And although Jane Sass recommends increasing spices by a third before pressure cooking, I actually "bloom" them instead, that is, saute them for a minute in a little oil, before adding the rest of the ingredients and putting the lid on. Blooming the spices increases the fragrance and the taste, and IMHO, compensates somewhat for any dulling of the spices pressure cooking may do.

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  • 1 month later...

I have a question for Kuhn Rikon owners.

I have a Kuhn Rikon 6 L 22 cm diameter and a small Lagostina, old style, where I cannot set my pressure. For risotto or stock the KR is miles ahead, much better result. But if I'm cooking vegetables in a flash, I have problems with the KR.

Let's say that I want to cook a vegetable for 2 minutes at low pressure. In the KR after it goes into pressure and I immediately turn down to the lowest setting on my induction stove, it probably takes longer to adjust to the lower pressure than the 2 minutes cooking time. In my old crappy Lagostina vegetables turn out so much better than the KR with the same times.

Any thought and experiences here?

How do you adjust you KR pressure quickly, cannot immagine to cook with this on a standard electic stove!

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Question for all: does anyone else feel like pressure cooked meats and meat dishes like beef stew taste "canned" ? I did my usual beef stew in a PC once, and it tasted like Dinty Moore. Blagh!

My guess is if you used a conventional beef stew recipe in the pressure cooker, it probably wouldn't come out well. There's a couple of things you need to adapt. First, you need to reduce the liquid by about a third. There's far less evaporation inside a pressure cooker, therefore you don't need as much liquid. I usually will add a teaspoon or two of beef base to compensate for any lost beef broth I would have started with, depending on the volume of the meal. Second, if there's any alcohol in the recipe, you need to reduce that as well. I would probably start with 2 tablespoons at most, and see how that is. (You can always add more after pressure cooking, and just let it boil for a few minutes to get rid of as much of the alcohol as possible.) Third thing is, pressure cooking can dull some herbs and spices. I would add any fresh herbs in at the end, after pressure cooking. And although Jane Sass recommends increasing spices by a third before pressure cooking, I actually "bloom" them instead, that is, saute them for a minute in a little oil, before adding the rest of the ingredients and putting the lid on. Blooming the spices increases the fragrance and the taste, and IMHO, compensates somewhat for any dulling of the spices pressure cooking may do.

so simple, how long does it take to cook herbs under the lid? so that spices lose no flavor and taste

Be sweety - visit my blog BestCupCakeSecrets.com :blush::wub:

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Question for all: does anyone else feel like pressure cooked meats and meat dishes like beef stew taste "canned" ? I did my usual beef stew in a PC once, and it tasted like Dinty Moore. Blagh!

My guess is if you used a conventional beef stew recipe in the pressure cooker, it probably wouldn't come out well. There's a couple of things you need to adapt. First, you need to reduce the liquid by about a third. There's far less evaporation inside a pressure cooker, therefore you don't need as much liquid. I usually will add a teaspoon or two of beef base to compensate for any lost beef broth I would have started with, depending on the volume of the meal. Second, if there's any alcohol in the recipe, you need to reduce that as well. I would probably start with 2 tablespoons at most, and see how that is. (You can always add more after pressure cooking, and just let it boil for a few minutes to get rid of as much of the alcohol as possible.) Third thing is, pressure cooking can dull some herbs and spices. I would add any fresh herbs in at the end, after pressure cooking. And although Jane Sass recommends increasing spices by a third before pressure cooking, I actually "bloom" them instead, that is, saute them for a minute in a little oil, before adding the rest of the ingredients and putting the lid on. Blooming the spices increases the fragrance and the taste, and IMHO, compensates somewhat for any dulling of the spices pressure cooking may do.

so simple, how long does it take to cook herbs under the lid? so that spices lose no flavor and taste

Herbs and spices can be a little tricky in the pressure cooker. The pressure cooker will enhance the flavor of some, mute the flavors of others. I can tell you from personal experience, never use a fresh bay leaf under pressure - it already has a strong flavor, boy does it get a really strong flavor. Fresh bay leaf is much, much stronger than dried bay leaf. If you're using fresh herbs, I'd personally try to arrange the recipe depending on whether the fresh herbs will be left in, or removed from the dish. If they're to be removed, I'd cook them only a couple of minutes. If they're to be left in, I'd add them after the pressure cooking is done, and then let them simmer gently for a few minutes before service.

If you're using dried spices, there are two ways you can approach it, because pressure cooking can dull the taste of spices. You can either try to add the spices at the end, after the pressure cooking is done, or what I sometimes do is bloom the spices prior to pressure cooking, to enhance their flavor and aroma, before the pressure cooker dulls it back down a bit. Just in case you don't know (no offense intended), blooming spices means to take dried spices and herbs and to very briefly cook them in hot oil (like for a minute). Quickly cooking them in oil enhances both the smell and the taste. I think I read somewhere that many of the flavors in spices are soluble in oil, so that helps increase their "pungency".

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As far as fresh herbs go, I've had the best luck waiting till after the PC step.

For example, when I make PC tomato and basil soup I'll cook onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, a bunch of sun-dried tomatoes, etc in the pressure cooker. Once cooked, I'll puree the contents of the pressure cooker, and (while still hot) throw in a bunch of bruised fresh basil and let it cool to room temp, then strain. That gives you the nice fresh basil flavor without dulling it.

Edited by Baselerd (log)
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I learned about pressure cooking stocks about six months ago; as simple as it is...what a revelation in my kitchen! I use my All-American pressure canner to perform double duty of cooking and canning the resultant stock. The only downside thus far is that, due to the enormous heft of the cooking vessel, I fear my stock almost always boils prior to reaching pressure.

“You can’t define these in a recipe. You can only know them...”

-- Julia Child

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Question for all: does anyone else feel like pressure cooked meats and meat dishes like beef stew taste "canned" ? I did my usual beef stew in a PC once, and it tasted like Dinty Moore. Blagh!

No.. Maybe you overcooked, or used sirloin or round. Shoulder works best, and only long enough to penetrate.

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I learned about pressure cooking stocks about six months ago; as simple as it is...what a revelation in my kitchen! I use my All-American pressure canner to perform double duty of cooking and canning the resultant stock. The only downside thus far is that, due to the enormous heft of the cooking vessel, I fear my stock almost always boils prior to reaching pressure.

The contents of the pressure cooker/canner HAVE to boil, otherwise there won't be enough steam to build pressure. What differentiates making stocks in a pressure cooker vs. the conventional method is that the contents ONLY boil when there is a pressure differential. In other words, only while the cooker is reaching and loosing pressure. If the cooker is maintaining a constant pressure the contents are still "boiling" but there are no actual bubbles forming and breaking to the surface.

The faster the pressure differential changes (during release), the more violent the boil and turmoil inside the cooker. So always open stocks with natural release.

Congrats on making fantastic stocks!!!

L

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

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I learned about pressure cooking stocks about six months ago; as simple as it is...what a revelation in my kitchen! I use my All-American pressure canner to perform double duty of cooking and canning the resultant stock. The only downside thus far is that, due to the enormous heft of the cooking vessel, I fear my stock almost always boils prior to reaching pressure.

You're right, making your own stocks is one of the great benefits of owning a pressure cooker. Although I rarely have enough to can it, it usually is used up so fast. (We're trying to eat a lot of homemade soups.)

If you'd like to read two really interesting articles re making stock in the pressure cooker, I can recommend:

http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/22/pressure-cooked-stocks-we-got-schooled/

http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/01/27/pressure-cooked-stock-2-changing-pressures-playing-with-chemistry/

Its really quite interesting to read about their experimentation and their comparisons of making stock conventionally and in the pressure cooker. Excellent read.

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I learned about pressure cooking stocks about six months ago; as simple as it is...what a revelation in my kitchen! I use my All-American pressure canner to perform double duty of cooking and canning the resultant stock. The only downside thus far is that, due to the enormous heft of the cooking vessel, I fear my stock almost always boils prior to reaching pressure.

You're right, making your own stocks is one of the great benefits of owning a pressure cooker. Although I rarely have enough to can it, it usually is used up so fast. (We're trying to eat a lot of homemade soups.)

If you'd like to read two really interesting articles re making stock in the pressure cooker, I can recommend:

http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/22/pressure-cooked-stocks-we-got-schooled/

http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/01/27/pressure-cooked-stock-2-changing-pressures-playing-with-chemistry/

Its really quite interesting to read about their experimentation and their comparisons of making stock conventionally and in the pressure cooker. Excellent read.

Those are great reads; I stumbled upon them while I was perfecting my stock recipe and couldn't decide on what pressure to use. I ended up using 15 psi.

“You can’t define these in a recipe. You can only know them...”

-- Julia Child

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I learned about pressure cooking stocks about six months ago; as simple as it is...what a revelation in my kitchen! I use my All-American pressure canner to perform double duty of cooking and canning the resultant stock. The only downside thus far is that, due to the enormous heft of the cooking vessel, I fear my stock almost always boils prior to reaching pressure.

You're right, making your own stocks is one of the great benefits of owning a pressure cooker. Although I rarely have enough to can it, it usually is used up so fast. (We're trying to eat a lot of homemade soups.)

If you'd like to read two really interesting articles re making stock in the pressure cooker, I can recommend:

http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/22/pressure-cooked-stocks-we-got-schooled/

http://www.cookingissues.com/2010/01/27/pressure-cooked-stock-2-changing-pressures-playing-with-chemistry/

Its really quite interesting to read about their experimentation and their comparisons of making stock conventionally and in the pressure cooker. Excellent read.

Those are great reads; I stumbled upon them while I was perfecting my stock recipe and couldn't decide on what pressure to use. I ended up using 15 psi.

Yeah, you pretty much want to use the highest pressure setting available to you for making stock, want to extract all the flavor possible from the bones, exploit the Maillard reaction, etc.

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I have been using a pressure cooker for years - I own 3 at present including a mongo 24 qt that doubles as my pressure canner. While my main purpose is to speed up cooking things like pot roasts and 'slow cook' things, I have made pulled pork, fillings for tamales etc where the seasonings get infused. I'm glad the PC is making a comeback and I think 'popular' media makes using them harder than they really are. And for what it's worth, my mom did have one blow up on her, put a dent in the ceiling because that pressure valve didn't 'work'. It still won't stop me from using mine!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been using a pressure cooker for years - I own 3 at present including a mongo 24 qt that doubles as my pressure canner. While my main purpose is to speed up cooking things like pot roasts and 'slow cook' things, I have made pulled pork, fillings for tamales etc where the seasonings get infused. I'm glad the PC is making a comeback and I think 'popular' media makes using them harder than they really are. And for what it's worth, my mom did have one blow up on her, put a dent in the ceiling because that pressure valve didn't 'work'. It still won't stop me from using mine!

I'm confused about using the PC for the "low & slow" things. Since the PC brings up the pressure & therefore the temp...

Of course, I know it works for stocks...

But I'm confused. ??

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  • 1 month later...

I'm looking for the best method to prepare polenta in a pressure cooker. I know of at least three: Modernist Cuisine's in a plastic pouch, but I don't have a vacuum sealer. MC@Home's in a canning jar, but I have read of problems. Vickie Smith's in a bowl set inside the pressure cooker, which looks more trouble than it's worth.

I like the idea of cooking polenta in canning jars the best. Has anyone tried this who could offer suggestions? The only ways I have made polenta are stirring on the stove or in a double boiler.

Thanks!

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I guess no one like polenta? Tonight I tried rice pudding from the recipe book that came with the Fissler Vitaquick, except I halved the recipe and cooked it in a pint canning jar, rather directly in the pressure cooker. Tastes OK. The rice is a bit chewy, but not over or underdone.

I have to say I like my rice pudding cooked on the stove top better, even if that takes about an hour and twenty minutes start to finish.

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I had to conclude that the Fissler rice pudding recipe was defective. Either that or I've lost the ability to measure out a recipe. I am trying again with about twice as much milk, cooked for a longer time. I sort of wish Fissler had used weight rather than dry measure for their cook book -- one might have expected better from a German company.

Meanwhile I steamed a whole potatoe for making mashed potatoes. I cooked the large, well scrubbed russet potatoe for fifty minutes, then mashed as usual with butter, salt, and cream. Great flavor, although the result was a little dry. I think because my usual boiled potatoes absorb a lot more water. Mashing with a bit of added milk might have made all the difference.

Tasting the modified rice pudding now. Much closer to what I think of as a pudding. The recipe as written calls for 3/4 cup of rice and 1 1/2 cup of total liquid. Whereas the traditional rice pudding recipe I cook on the stove top calls for 1/2 cup of rice and 4 1/2 cup of liquid.

Maybe it's a difference between American rice pudding and German rice pudding. But I suspect it is bad recipe. I doubt I will try making it again.

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I recently made some Japanese inspired pulled pork shoulder sandwiches. I followed the general guidelines in the MC at Home (cook meat in liquid, then reduce liquid and mix back into shredded meat), and it turned out real well:

  • First I made a sort of asian bbq sauce by simmering some soy sauce, sake, mirin, ketchup, miso paste, onions, garlic, beet juice, and roast chicken meat/bones until the mixture was thick (about 40 minutes).
  • A thick cut of pork shoulder was rubbed with ground shiso leaves, salt, brown sugar, ginger, and chili flakes, and I let it cure for 2 hours.
  • I tossed the pork shoulder with a cup of the bbq sauce, along with some pork stock in the pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  • I cooled off the pressure cooker, then removed the meat. I let the meat cool, then shredded it and mashed the fat into the meat.
  • Meanwhile, I reduced the cooking liquids in the pressure cooker until very thick and syrupy.
  • I mixed the reduction into the shredded meat, and served it on some toasted hawaii rolls with quick-pickled cucumber, more bbq sauce, cilantro, srirachi sauce, and a miso-rutabaga puree.
Edited by Baselerd (log)
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......

Meanwhile I steamed a whole potatoe for making mashed potatoes. I cooked the large, well scrubbed russet potatoe for fifty minutes, then mashed as usual with butter, salt, and cream. Great flavor, although the result was a little dry. I think because my usual boiled potatoes absorb a lot more water. Mashing with a bit of added milk might have made all the difference.

.......

mashed potatoes are a funny thing, so simple, straight forward yet so many slight variances that can change the outcome from small amounts to completely different, sometimes slight changes dont work at all and only minutes after they are served turn into big white mountains that lift off the plate with the fork in one lump :shock::laugh:

we all have our own way that we have done for years and tend to get used to that, or perhaps grew up with mashed potatoes tasting a certain way with a certain texture.

in a pressure cooker or indeed if microwaved they tend to come out drier than if done the old traditional way of simmering in water for 20-30 minutes, naturally they are steamed this way and typically don't get water logged, boiled mash for some might be described as bland(er) than PC mashed spuds. many years ago i gave the microwave a good try for a year or three and was never overly keen on them that way. PC and MW both need larger quantity of milk (and/or add back some of the starchy water they were cooked in) than when cooked on the stove in a saucepan/pot . i find heating the milk makes a good bit of difference (doesnt need to be heated when boiled in pot method so much because they seem to hold more heat that way and longer but still makes a difference), evaporation while sitting and through mashing time makes PC and MW mash drier too which is another reason why they need more milk. i tend to cut potatoes to even sizes so they cook uniform and quicker, unless i am making a cheats shortcut baked potato then steam whole and flash cook in a pan (just roll it around a bit making some brown spots with oil for colour and taste then into the oven to crust up. i also never used a machine to mash with unless i am making duchess potatoes (pretty piped shapes of mash finished in oven for slight crust, for dinner parties in the 70-80's), a hand masher is nicest by far for me but i hear many Europeans or perhaps its just the french like to put theirs through a sieve (restaurants and TV cooking shows always seem to do it this way), it certainly makes the creamiest mash but i like just a bit more texture (once in a blue moon adding some sour cream and chives (with butter too of course) and sprinkled with paprika at the end for something different ,perhaps just that 70-80's dinner party thing again, goes well with steak diane :biggrin:

mashed potatoes are so subjective, we all like our own but with a fiddle and being open to try a few different ways you can tweak a very nice outcome in the PC or whatever, salting the water before seems to be much better than trying to get seasoning correct at the end ,larger amounts of butter make a big difference but not very heathy to eat on a regular basis, just a special occasions thing, obviously the type of potato makes a huge difference as well and i reckon the PC does a fine job for potato salad

chippy :smile:

Edited by chippy (log)
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I made a Modernist Cuisine chicken stock tonight. No idea how it turned out, as it is still cooling. I was working with leftovers so I did not have as much chicken as they call for, and I had no leeks. Plus I did not use pepper.

So much easier than in an open pot, that much I can say.

Almost forgot...for dinner I cooked an artichoke. Twenty minutes on high pressure, steamed above the water. Turned out a little dry. Maybe just because this is not the season for good artichokes. I have another artichoke left, and I think I'll pressure cook it in liquid. Once I figure out what to do with all the stock.

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