Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

What to do with a pressure cooker


derricks
 Share

Recommended Posts

I make a lot of risottos with regular "white" rice (carnaroli, nano) and I'd never do it in a pressure cooker.

However, whole grain rice is a different animal and I like the idea of combining whole grain rice - a prodcut of really excellent nutritional value - with some time saving techniques. I tried whole grain risottos wihout pressure cookers, but actually it's a terrible amount of work and the result is less convincing.

Sorry if I was unclear, Boris_A. My comments and questions were directed at the advocates of pressure-cooked white rice risotto. I can see whole grains working just fine. I sometimes make spelt "risotto" in a sauté pan (don't have a pressure cooker). While the technique is similar to that for a risotto (add small a small amount of liquid; stir until evaporated; repeat until tender), the result is unrisottolike. For one thing, the starchy/creamy sauce doesn't develop ever; in fact, some recipes actually call for stirring in some lightly whipped cream just before serving. It is above all that startchy/creamy sauce that I can't imagine developing in a pressure cooker risotto made with white rice. I'm also skeptical about the final texture of the rice and the depth of flavour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use carnaroli or arborio rice - yes it's the white rice. It does take a few tries in the cooker to figure out how to finesse it - you can get some poor results.

An Italian friend and I did a side by side taste test with his stirred and my pressured risotto. We had a friend prepare the plates so the tasting was blind. (This sort of thing happens when academics cook). The only difference we could detect was that the pressured rice was more evenly cooked al dente. The pressured risotto does develop the creamy starchy matrix.

Try it. The worst thing that can happen is you won't like it, and you'll get to tell me, "I told you so!" :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try it.  The worst thing that can happen is you won't like it, and you'll get to tell me, "I told you so!"  :biggrin:

Thanks, but not owning a pressure cooker or feeling an, um, pressing need to acquire one, I doubt a taste-off is in my future. Prehaps derricks will volunteer his services. Googling does turn up some indirect "I told you so"s, however, including this one from eG's Cooking forum (the author, Craig Camp, used to host the Italy and Wine boards). It appears, unfortunately, that no one took him up on his dare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Call me a traditionalist, if you must, but I only use super fine Arborio rice and to me the stirring is very important to making a good risotto (you can‘t do this in a pressure cooker). I believe that the stirring agitates the starches and brings the risotto to the right consistency. Kind of like a porridge. I don’t know if my risotto would pass the muster in Italy, but I have carefully made it for the last ten years and I have come to these realizations: Pre-fry the best Arborio rice you can find in a little butter or olive oil…then add some onions….and when everything is nice and translucent add some white wine (the acid is important to cut the starch) then add some boiling seasoned stock, but just a ¼ cup at a time and slowly work it into the rice….. stir constantly through the whole process….. pray a lot…..test every 30 seconds and after lots and lots of stock, when the grains of rice are just right…(slightly resistant to the bite)...stop cooking…serve immediately and demand compliments. Chastise anyone who arrives late to the table.

Done properly, you will become a Goddess/God.

Optional extras (in order of importance): white truffles, black truffles, saffron, porcini mushrooms, lobster or shrimp.

It is rumored you can use chicken or vegetables in this dish but when you work this hard why bother? :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use carnaroli or arborio rice - yes it's the white rice.  It does take a few tries in the cooker to figure out how to finesse it - you can get some poor results. 

An Italian friend and I did a side by side taste test with his stirred and my pressured risotto.  We had a friend prepare the plates so the tasting was blind.  (This sort of thing happens when academics cook).  The only difference we could detect was that the pressured rice was more evenly cooked al dente.  The pressured risotto does develop the creamy starchy matrix.

Try it.  The worst thing that can happen is you won't like it, and you'll get to tell me, "I told you so!"  :biggrin:

Hi Iperry,

I would like to try your pressure cooker process. Can you please tell me step by step how you do it? Thanks, Ed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's what I do. I have an old jiggle top cooker and a gas stove.

Put a little olive oil in the cooker. Add chopped shallots and cook until translucent or browned (dependent upon what flavor you want with the veg you add) (or don't add). Put in the rice (a cup and a half) and cook it until it changes color to translucent and smells nice and nutty. According to my rice package what I have now is "riso superfino arborio." Now pour in about a half cup of dry white wine and stir like the normal stovetop method. Now pour in 3 1/2 cups of hot stock, lock the lid, and begin timing when it reaches full pressure.

Here's the finessing part. Every stove and pot is different. With my combination, I set the timer for 7 minutes, cut the flame at 6 and 1/2 minutes, and I'm pulling the pot off the stove and it's just under the stream of cold water at 7 when the timer beeps. The rice will continue to cook, and because the heat of a pressure cooker is higher than an open pot, it will happen fast. If you go an extra 30 seconds your rice is not al dente. If you go an extra minute, you have gelatinous goo. It's sort of like the syrup to jelly point, or that few seconds when you're beating fudge and it comes together. If you are doing this for the first time, I would go short rather than long on the timing so you don't ruin it. And yes, I will admit that it is easier to ruin in a pressure cooker than in an open pan. Pop off the lid as soon as the pressure valve releases and stir stir stir to cool and distribute everything starchy. Add in your cheese and other add-ins at this point if you want.

Thanks for trying it. I have no doubt that your risotto is wonderful. For a home cook, careful timing with a pressure cooker can give you a pretty nice product. And from some of the risottos that I have had in restaurants (exception - risotto at Susan Spicer's Bayona in New Orleans :wub: ), I think I'm doing OK with it.

-Linda

Edited so I don't sound quite so much like the poster child for OCD...

Edited by lperry (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

What with this discussion on stock over here, and some thoughts of saving on my gas bill by cooking in a pressure cooker, I was wondering if people had more ideas for this pot? I was thinking samgyetang, rice and beans...but what else could I do with one?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beans are great done in a pressure cooker -- about an hour and fifteen minutes, with no soaking. I steam root vegetables and tubers in my pressure cooker all the time -- 10 to 15 minutes for whole beets (depending on size), 8 minutes for sweet potato halves.

Also, any meat that needs slow cooking -- pork shoulder, chicken thighs, chuck roast, lamb shanks -- works great in a pressure cooker. I've started with "country ribs" (strips of pork shoulder) and had falling apart tender pork in 30 to 45 minutes. Braised chicken thighs are falling off the bone in 20 minutes.

The main thing I've learned using my pressure cooker is not to think of it only as a "one-pot-meal" cooker (stews, chili, etc.) but to treat it as just another cooking tool that can save lots of time in many instances.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My pressure cooker came with a booklet that has charts for cooking times for various foods, so I always check the appropriate chart, and then start on the low end.

Probably the most important thing I learned when I started using my pressure cooker a lot was that it's not that big a deal to release the pressure to check the progress of the food inside. Yes, it takes some time to build the pressure back up, but not nearly as long as it takes to start, because the food is really hot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

I am trying to decide between buying an 8 qt. and a 12 qt. K-R pressure cooker. For stock making I would prefer the larger, but I also need to know how small a quantity of anything can you braise or steam in a PC. Is there a standard ratio? Does it matter whether the PC is the tall or wide style?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker after reading about pressure cookers some time ago in the NY Times. No chance for explosions. I also believe that Cooks Illustrated tested some and the Fagor brand took #1. As mentioned, PC are great with all manner of beans and I also second its use for whole grain "risottos" such as barley. I also have found that there is no better tool than this if you are making stewed shredded chicken or beef dishes, such as Ropa Vieja. As it is almost St Patrick's day, I recently put a store bought corned beef brisket in it, cooked it on high pressure for only an hour, and it came out fork tender, not dry, and full of flavor. Mark Bittman wrote of his new toy on his blog here.Bittman also mentions Lorna Sass who has a good cookbook devoted to pressure cooking.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Never having used a pressure cooker, much prefering to cook in more traditional ways, I don't understrand the enthusiasm that some people have for it. Apart from shortening cooking time, what benefits does a pressure cooker offer? There must be some down sides as well as benefits. What are the down sides to using a pressure cooker?

My thoughts are that some subtlety of flavor and texture might be lost. Comments?

 ... Shel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The main difference is the amount of evaporation -- there's virtually none in a pressure cooker. For me, the time savings is more than enough to make a pressure cooker a great tool to have. I suppose if one has unlimited time and doesn't care about fuel costs, there's no reason to use one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

as this somewhat fits the topic, I would rarely use a pressure cooker per se, but I'd have use for a pressure caner. Could I potentially use that for pressure cooking too? I saw some at Ace hardware for $100 for the large one. From what I understand the cookers don't come up to the high temp a caner does, but am not sure that's correct. And I can't tell from the box if I could use it at lower pressures/heats or what to use as a cooker. Don't really have room for two of these and I'd rarely pressure cook but it would be nice to know I have the option.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...