Cooking under pressure

Electric pressure cooker lidA pressure cooker is one of those kitchen appliances I thought could be useful, but it was never an item on my wish list. To me it seemed complicated and vaguely dangerous.  Weren’t the older pressure cookers noisy and prone to explosions?  Didn’t they require you to monitor them closely to prevent too much pressure from building?

So when I received an electric pressure cooker for Christmas this year, I was both intrigued and a bit worried.  Sure, these new fangled ones are pretty much idiot proof, but I’ve been known to test that theory.

In actual fact, it is idiot proof, and very easy to use.  And extremely wide ranging in its uses.  Not only does it pressure cook, but it is also a slow-cooker.  Seeing how I got rid of my inherited-from-a-roommate ‘70’s era Crock-Pot a few years ago, that versatility certainly justifies its size.

Navy beans were my first experiment, and not only did they cook in a mere 22 minutes (with no pre-soaking!), but they turned out far tastier (and softer) than any stovetop attempt.  Next up was half a bone-in turkey breast off a 20 pound bird, which took 15 minutes, followed by a turkey broth made from the other turkey parts.

The manual came with a few recipes, including rather ambitious projects like cheesecake.  I’m not sure I’ll go there just yet, but I think I’m ready to try wheat berries or something like risotto that typically takes more time than I have during the week.

Next up is finding a few good recipe books.  I hear the ones by Lorna Sass are good, but if there are other recommendations, let me know!

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