Cheaper cuts of meat are tenderised in a short time and all stews and pot roasts develop a wonderful flavour when cooked in a pressure cooker.
Economies in the food and fuel budget are substantial and these together with the short cooking times in comparison to traditional methods are what make a pressure cooker invaluable in the modern kitchen.
The moist heat of cooking with pressure is the reason pressure cooking is a natural complement to beef, pork and poultry, tenderising as it penetrates the meat with steam. Poaching, braising and stewing are all effective methods for the pressure cooker, with substantially less liquid needed because little or none is lost during cooking.
The cooking time will vary depending on the size, thickness, bone content, shape and overall quality of the meat used. Larger pieces of beef, such as pot roasts, will take the longest to cook. Stewing beef, cut into smaller chunks will take less time. The most tender cuts of beef, chicken and pork are prepared quickly in the pressure cooker and care should be taken not to overcook them. Let the temperature rise slowly for recipes with shorter cooking times and cook at the first red ring. This is especially important if the meat cooks in its own juices or with very little added liquid.
Natural juices need to be sealed in by browning, producing tender results every time. When browning, start with one to two tablespoons of hot oil. Be sure to brown all sides of the meat thoroughly, and not to crowd the pan if browning small pieces. The meat can be dredged in flour before browning if desired, giving a richer, more robust flavour.
The Duromatic pressure cooker makes cooking vegetables a pleasure. Because of shortened cooking times, minimal amounts of water used and the exclusion of the drying effects of oxygen, the food you prepare will remain delicious. Less seasoning is required because the natural minerals are preserved when cooking under pressure.
Fresh Pasta can be cooked in the pressure cooker, but dried pasta is not successful.
Small pasta shapes can be cooked at the same time as the sauce, which saves on washing up as well as halving the normal cooking time. Larger pasta shapes must be cooked separately.
Add a teaspoon of oil to the cooking water to prevent the pasta sticking to the pan.
- Cook all rice and grains at 1st red ring.
- Never fill the cooker more than half full.
- Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to prevent foaming.
- Time carefully, as rice and grains absorb water and the cooker will be fairly dry towards the end of the cooking process.
- Reduce the pressure naturally, except when cooking risotto, which should be water cooled.
When the pressure cooker is used to cook dried beans and pulses, all varieties of soaked beans can be cooked in under 15 minutes. As conventional cooking times often exceed 2 hours, the savings are remarkable.
Long Soak dried beans overnight for a more consistent texture and even cooking, and to help eliminate the gas-producing sugars. Use 700ml of cold water to each cup of beans and leave in a cool place for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly in cold water before cooking.
Quick Soak dried beans in the pressure cooker to save time. Use a 5 litre or larger pressure cooker. To each cup of beans add 800ml of water and one teaspoon of salt. Close the lid and bring the pressure to the 2nd red ring - maintain for 2 minutes. Reduce the pressure using the cold water release method - please refer to the instruction manual.
Remove the lid and drain and rinse the beans in a sieve. Use and cook as directed in the recipe.
- Never fill the pan more than half full, as beans tend to foam under pressure.
- Always shake the pan slightly before removing the lid.
- Always check that the valve is clean before re-using the lid.
- Split peas, lentils and lima beans should be cooked at the 1st red ring
The initial cooking of the fruit for marmalade or jam making can be greatly speeded up by using the pressure cooker. The pan is then used without the lid both to dissolve sugar and to boil until setting point is reached.
Your favourite chutney recipes can be adapted for pressure cooking. Just remember to add only half the measured quantity of vinegar for the initial cooking under pressure and the remainder when the chutney is boiled.
Cooking a complete meal in a Pressure Cooker
Because the steam inside the pressure cooker carries only heat and not flavours, complete meals for one or two persons can be cooked at one time.
As well as economy in fuel, there is the added advantage of having only one pan to wash up afterwards. This makes it ideal for use in the bed-sit, caravan or boat as well as for the smaller household.
The foods chosen should preferably all have the same cooking time, otherwise it will be necessary to open the cooker part way through cooking to add items with a shorter cooking time.
Individual ramekins and pudding basins are useful for this type of cooking. Cover them tightly with foil to prevent water reaching the food.
The quantities given in the following menu suggestions are for one person and can be cooked in the smaller cookers but a 5 litre pressure cooker is required to cook a complete meal for two. Remember that the pressure cooker should be no more than 2/3 full.
- Check that the basin or mould to be used will fit comfortably on the trivet in the cooker.
- Steamed puddings should be cooked without pressure for the first 15-20 minutes to allow the mixture to rise properly.
- Cover the top of a steamed pudding or cheesecake with foil or waxed paper to prevent condensed steam falling on the top of the pudding.
To lift puddings into and out of the pressure cooker: Prepare a long strip of triple folded foil approximately 9cm wide. Stand the pudding basin or dish on this and carefully lift it into the pressure cooker. Leave the strip in place during cooking so that the pudding can be lifted out when it is ready.
The pre-steaming stage is important as it allows the raising agent to work correctly. This may be done by substituting a plain lid for the pressure lid. Alternatively, you can fit the pressure lid and not lock it down or adjust the heat so that the pressure does not begin to build. As soon as the steam begins to escape from around the bell shaped valve housing, immediately reduce the heat to a minimum so that the water simmers but does not raise the black valve cap. If the cap rises slightly at this stage, the pressure cooker should be briefly taken off the heat in order to stabilise the temperature.