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.
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.)
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.
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!