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Started by Ricolas on Mar 7, 2022 8:12:04 AM
Adventures with my new Pressure Cooker

Very much a memory of childhood, with my mother pressure cooking all sorts, I decided to get a new one and see where it takes me in a culinary sense...

Ricolas - 07 Mar 2022 08:13:50 (#1 of 196)

First off, what to get? Rather than cough-up for an electric "Instant Pot" , I decided to go for a stove top one. Only really interested in the names I remember - i.e. the most established of makers - I went for a Tower. £40 (reduced) from Robert Dyas.

darkhorse - 07 Mar 2022 08:20:38 (#2 of 196)

I used my pressure cooker yesterday to quickly boil down some leftover veg - carrots, swede, parsnip and cauliflower - to a puréed soup.

thisonehasalittlehat - 07 Mar 2022 08:24:25 (#3 of 196)

Was that intentional?

Ricolas - 07 Mar 2022 08:26:23 (#4 of 196)

Thus far this week of using it I have cooked dhal a couple of times, black beans for a pseudo Mexican thing, and a beef stew. It is ace.

Anyone else got suggestions?

Cordelia - 07 Mar 2022 08:33:16 (#5 of 196)

Can I ask about the stew you made? You said it took 20 minutes plus pressure release and warming up - how long does that all take?

upgoerfive - 07 Mar 2022 08:43:08 (#6 of 196)

Most things that would normally be a slow cooked casserole-type recipe can be adapted to cook much quicker in a PC.

Vegetables can tend to disintegrate - I usually add them after letting down the pressure.

I often use mine to make a beef stew. Pressure-cook a cheap cut of beef and onions for 20 minutes, let the pressure off then add potatoes and carrots, finish off cooking without pressure until the veg. is done.

Also, the carcass of a roast chicken, after you've carved all the meat off makes a great chicken stock in 40 minutes or so. Don't use too much water.

The chicken stock makes a great base for chicken soup. Add onion, chopped celery and carrots (after you've dropped the pressure). Noodles or suet dumplings, according to preference.

limegreen - 07 Mar 2022 08:45:50 (#7 of 196)

Science question: a stew you usually do long and slow, and if you were to boil it I understand you would toughen up the meat. But a pressure cooker is an even higher temperature so how does that work? Is there something that means the meat doesn't get tough over a certain temperature?

tasselhoff - 07 Mar 2022 08:47:10 (#8 of 196)

I thought it was higher pressure rather than temperature.

Vaguely remembers some equation in O level physics. Mumbles, waves hands

Tomnoddy - 07 Mar 2022 08:52:36 (#9 of 196)

Both, but it's the temperature that counts. A slow cooker doesn't reach boiling point and takes ages, a pressure cooker goes quite a way above and is much faster than in an open pan.

Sabacious - 07 Mar 2022 08:53:57 (#10 of 196)

Everything you need to know about pressure cookers, from the ever reliable Serious Eats:

Arjuna - 07 Mar 2022 08:56:25 (#11 of 196)

First off, what to get? Rather than cough-up for an electric "Instant Pot" , I decided to go for a stove top one. Only really interested in the names I remember - i.e. the most established of makers - I went for a Tower

Good choice, I have a similar one.

I mainly cook beans in mine

Mostly to make bean burgers

Dementor - 07 Mar 2022 08:56:59 (#12 of 196)

I think it goes “Boiling water is 100C at standard atmospheric pressure regardless of how strongly you heat it, but if you seal the vessel and allow the pressure to rise then the boiling point and therefore temperature can rise to”.

TL;DR: Pressure cookers cook at a higher temperature, therefore faster.

Arjuna - 07 Mar 2022 08:57:48 (#13 of 196)

Although I also do chick peas to make hummus

Sabacious - 07 Mar 2022 08:58:10 (#14 of 196)

The cooking will be gentle in a pressure cooker provided the pressure doesn’t get so high that it vents, or doing the quick release thing to de-pressurise.

Arjuna - 07 Mar 2022 08:59:57 (#15 of 196)

I went for a stove top rather than a stand alone one with a timer as I do not trust these blighters and rarely even leave the kitchen when it is on.

upgoerfive - 07 Mar 2022 09:06:04 (#16 of 196)

Just a word of warning about pulses (beans, peas etc) - if you cook too much at once, they can 'froth up' and block up the pressure regulator with beany bits.

Arjuna - 07 Mar 2022 09:08:57 (#17 of 196)

I always have to give that a good clean and recently did the whole thing with a bicarb and vinegar solution, came out good as new.

limegreen - 07 Mar 2022 09:12:28 (#18 of 196)

I did think Kenji will know as I typed it. But, having read that he still doesn't say why what happens to the proteins is different at different temperatures.

Ricolas - 07 Mar 2022 09:13:46 (#19 of 196)

Can I ask about the stew you made?

Of course!

All in the name of early experimentation, so mistakes were made, which I will note.

So, onions and carrots into the pot with some oil, and I softened a bit, then chucked the meat in (un-browned on this occasion as I was v short of time.) Tablespoon of flour, and some potatoes which were cut to roughly equal sizes. Herbs, seasoning. Most of a bottle of ale.

Then on with the lid, pressure set to "high" and turn the heat up. Reaches pressure after about 5m or so, then heat down low. Leave for 20m. Then turn heat off.

At this stage you can release the pressure, or let it come down naturally. Most of what I have seen advises quite strongly to let it come down naturally, as otherwise the meat can toughen. Like resting a steak basically. This takes c.15m

The carrots and potatoes were overcooked, but lovely. The advice further upthread to add them later is a plan; I might try next time using whole new potatoes which are a spot larger, and larger chunks of carrot. The meat was incredibly tender and delicious; moist and perfectly cooked.

tasselhoff - 07 Mar 2022 09:14:00 (#20 of 196)

#18 Aren't they meant to denature not far above 40°C?

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