Adventures in Pressure Cooking

I am a complete cooking geek. I love learning how to use new methods, and I am obsessed with gadgets. After watching a friend prepare dried black beans in a half-hour with no soaking, I decided I simply had to buy a pressure cooker.

After weeks of deliberation and comparative shopping, I settled on a “Fagor Futuro” 5 piece stainless steel pressure cooker set. When this gorgeous set of cookware arrived, I was thrilled.

Since I had never used a pressure cooker before, I invested in 2 of Lorna Sass’ well-reviewed cookbooks: Cooking Under Pressure and Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.

Risottos:
My first dish was a mushroom & blue cheese risotto. Start to finish it took about 30 minutes, and it was rich, creamy, and delicious. The next risotto I tried was a butternut squash one seasoned with fresh sage. It took about the same amount of time and got rave reviews from my boyfriend. I used fresh peeled & cubed butternut squash, and that saved a lot of frustrating prep time. (If you’ve ever struggled with trying to peel a whole butternut squash, you know what a time-saver this is.)

Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

Beans:
The rapid preparation of beans is what drew me to pressure cooking in the first place, so I decided to try an Indian-inspired chickpea recipe. Cooking dried chickpeas in the pressure cooker took significantly more time than risotto, but not having to pre-soak was pretty amazing. I couldn’t get over how much better the texture of dried beans was compared to canned ones.

Pot Roast:
Since my first attempts at cooking with the pressure cooker had been so successful, I decided to be brave and invite my parents over for a classic pot roast dinner. A local, grass-fed pot roast is no small investment, so I was understandably apprehensive.

Well, I followed Sass’ detailed recipe, and the meat was cooked to tender perfection in under an hour. The vegetables cooked in 5 minutes under pressure, and the gravy was a cinch. It was a success all around, and gave us enough time to actually enjoy our day at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden before dinner.

All in all, I think my pressure cooker was a good investment, and since mine came with a regular glass lid and doubles as a vegetable steamer/stockpot, it justifies the space it occupies in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen.

Also, since my boyfriend and I committed to a farm share this year, I’m anxious to try home-canning fresh produce this summer in the pressure cooker. I’ll report back when we start putting up jams and pickles!

-Larissa

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2 Responses to Adventures in Pressure Cooking

  1. I love pressure cookers and teaching pressure cooking. You bought yourself a wonderful cooker in the Fagor Futuro. I hope that you keep on using it and writing about it. Lorna Sass is my mentor. I’ve taught thousands of people how to pressure cook over the past 15 years.

    Regarding canning, if you don’t use those really nice canning jars with the French clips, you might want to look into BPA-free Tattler lids. I haven’t yet used them because it’s just starting to be canning season but I think that I am going to like them.

    Good luck with all your food projects.