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Cooking with a pressure cooker

post #1 of 18
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I recently bought a pressure cooker and have tried it on a couple of roasts (Beef and Pork). Both were tender but dry. Wondering what I am doing wrong? Any help is appreciated.
post #2 of 18
Sounds like you are overcooking and they are not meant for roasting meat. Almost impossible to get rare,med,or well. Better for pot roast types of cooking
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post #3 of 18
Overprocessing is one possible problem. Another is that your choice of meat was not suited to pressure cooking. Generally speaking, the "better" , more lean, cuts of meat will come out less juicy than the cheaper ones. Also, it is important with meats to allow the pressure to drop on its own, rather than engaging the rapid release. This allows the meat to retain its juices. The time it taks for the pressure to go down is considered as part of the cooking time, so it is very important that cooking time be observed carefully. Unlike conventional stovetop or oven cooking, a couple of minutes extra in the pressure cooker can make a huge difference in the results.

Below is a wonderful website, where you may post and receive answers to all your pressure cooking questions. Vickie Smith also has a book, available at Amazon.com (use the link from Cheftalk if you decide to make a purchase). The name of the book is "miss vickie's big book of pressure cooker recipes". It is is a big book, the first 100 or so pages of which deals with all sorts of information, from FAQ's, to time charts for meats, vegetables and fruits. Well worth the Amazon price. (disclaimer: I am not Miss Vickie, and my only interest is in promoting proper pressure cooker information)

click here-----> Miss Vickie's Guide to Modern Pressure Cookery

Pressure cooking opens up a whole world of culinary experiences. I use my Prestos several times a week, for many things, not only main dishes such as stews and pot roasts, chicken, swiss steak (a personal fave) but also for desserts (rice pudding, bread pudding, egg custard, flan, cheesecake, apple cake...endless list, I could go on forever). Probably the single most common mistake is over-processing. At 15 psi, the internal temperature reaces 250 degrees, so cooking times are dramatically reduced. Don't get discouraged. Like any other technique, it takes a while to get the hang of it. Happy Cooking.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #4 of 18
I agree - if you cook a lean meat in the pressure cooker, it can spoil it. Need something with some fat, lots of connective tissue, like a piece of chuck steak or a breast/shoulder of lamb, so it all melts down and moistens the meat around it.

When we were growing up, mum had a pressure cooked meal for us a couple of times per week, and so we learnt how to deal with the whistling devil :) My parents both worked long jobs so quite often it was our job to put on the meal and turn it down once it whistled, then cook till done. It was always a bit of guess work, but it was a great time saver, and some entertainment to top it off. Stand there with a wooden spoon and tip the cap to let the steam out - better than TV any day.

Persevere with it - hey, mistakes will happen, as with learning anything new, but it really is well worth it.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #5 of 18
Oh, boy. You are correct, it can make for some interesting fun, but it can also be dangerous unless you know what your're doing. This method does work with the 'jiggler' type cookers [the ones with the pressure regulator that rocks]. However, it is not mentioned in user manuals as a recommended way to release pressure. Sitting the cooker in cold water, or running cold water over the lid [but avoid running water over the pressure valves or safeties] are the recommended methods for rapid cool-down of cookers without the quick release the newer ones have. And as mentioned before, fast release of pressurized meats produces undesirable results. Read and follow the user manual, and call the manufacturer or go to the website posted earlier if you have questions. Happy Cooking.
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post #6 of 18
The pressure cooker can be very handy for a lot of things. I often cook potatoes, stews, steamed squash (put a steamer basket inside), carrots - anything that has a long, WET cooking time - but never roasting. Roasting is dry cooking and the pressure cooker makes meat come out as if boiled.
I also don;t lioke to use it for vegetables that need to be cooked just so, like string beans, broccoli. It's too easy to overcook them. Boiled potatoes, if you're not specially fussy about the just rightness, are quick and good.
Ah yes, and legumes - beans, chick peas, etc
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #7 of 18
Actually, the pressure cooker is wonderful for steaming all sorts of vegetables to perfection. The key is to be sure they are raised above the liquid, and it is very important that the timing is precise. I have successfully steamed nearly every vegetable you can name, although I do admit to some sad failures in the beginning. Now that I know that timing begins the moment full pressure is reached, and when the timer sounds I must be prepared for the next step, which is often [but not always] to depressurize immediately, my veggies come out perfect every time. This does require some discipline.

Think of your pressure cooker as a pot on steroids. Everything happens super fast. Often, the longest time is waiting for pressure to build. Green beans were mentioned, so I'll go with them. Put them into the steamer basket over a 1/2 cup of water, sprinkle with a little salt & lock the lid in place. Turn the burner heat to HIGH. It may take 5 or more minutes for the chamber to become pressurized with a full head of steam, depending on the size of the cooker. As soon as this happens, set timer to 2 min for slightly tender, or up to 3 minutes for more doneness, and back off the heat to where it is just maintaining full pressure. When that timer sounds, immediately remove the pot from the heat and sit it into ice water in the sink. Remove the lid as soon as the pressure drops to zero. These will have perfect texture, and you will be amazed at the brilliant color and the vibrant taste! Times vary according to the vegetable being cooked. Also some vegetables, such as potatoes, call for letting the pressure drop naturally, rather than the cold water rapid drop.

These instructions are for steaming your vegetables. However, I do not "boil" any vegetables in the PC, even my potatoes get the steam treatment. Perfect every time. :lips:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #8 of 18
I got a pressure cooker on Aug, 26th 2008 (my birthday). Until this time I had considered them a novelty item. This coming from somebody who thinks guar gum is a pantry item. The other day, as I was de-pressurizing a parmesan cheese rind extract my wife asked if a day had gone by where I hadn't used the thing. It really has changed the way cook (at home, at least).

--Al
post #9 of 18
It's great, isn't it? Have you done hard cooked eggs? I never do them any other way now. :) Fast, easy & perfect every time.
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post #10 of 18

Hello All! I am new to ChefTalk and I have a question about pressure cooking. Has anyone pressure cooked octopus? I have eaten octopus salad at a few different restaurants and the octopus is extremely tender. I currently boil my octopus and it tastes great, but i can't seem to replicate the tender texture that that I have experienced in the restaurants. Would pressure cooking lead me to this result? Thanks in advance. 

post #11 of 18

Miss Vickie has a different address now: http://missvickie.com/

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post #12 of 18

Allan-

 

Would you be kind enough to describe your parmesan rind extract? I save my rinds, and that sounds interesting. What do you with the extract... just drink it?

 

I have only used a PC for making stock, using a recipe passed along by my MIL, probably from the 1930's.  We use it so much I went from the little 4-qt Mirro to a 10qt unit.

 

Thanks for any info.

 

Mike

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post #13 of 18

There is going to be a huge change in your kitchen and cooking possbilities of having a pressure cooker if you live on a vey high altitude area.

 

dcarch

 

 

 

post #14 of 18

Octopus: I would hazard a guess that your problem is what happened before the octopus was cut, not how it's being cooked. Octopus really ought to be beaten, hard, a lot. Helps a lot with tenderness. But cooking at extremely high (but gentle) heat in a pressure cooker is an excellent idea. I suggest that you try it, if you have a cooker: just crank it to maximum pressure and cook the octopus the normal length of time you would for boiling. It'll be cooking at about 250F instead of 212, and that's an enormous difference. Could work. Let us know.

 

Incidentally, the pressure cooker is a fabulous way to make stock. Very high heat, but the liquid doesn't roil so you don't emulsify fat into it. Just be sure not to fill the cooker more than a very scant 2/3, crank it to maximum pressure, and let it process for 2-3 hours. Let it depressurize by itself --- no quick-release. Your stock will be clear and very gelatinous.

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLehrerView Post

 

Incidentally, the pressure cooker is a fabulous way to make stock. Very high heat, but the liquid doesn't roil so you don't emulsify fat into it. Just be sure not to fill the cooker more than a very scant 2/3, crank it to maximum pressure, and let it process for 2-3 hours. Let it depressurize by itself --- no quick-release. Your stock will be clear and very gelatinous.

2-3 hours is overkill.  Even though there seems to be no apparent harm in extending the time, you will get excellent, full-flavored & gelatinous stock with just 30 minutes under pressure, providing you do the proper prep work before beginning the pressure process...that is to say, brown the bones first in 400 degree oven, and while that is happening,  sweat the veggies right in the pressure pot.  Add the bones and water to cover (yes, please do observe the 2/3 full rule).  Once full pressure is reached over high heat,  reduce the heat to just what is needed to maintain the pressure.  Use the natural pressure release (pressure goes down on its own). 

 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #16 of 18

Grace, I don't agree. I agree if you're doing brown stock, with chicken (why? brown stock should be meat, and then 2 hours is scant!!!) but for white stock I find that it takes a while to really suck everything out of the bones. For me, the perfect result shows when you can crush the bones to paste in your fingers because all the collagen has been converted to gelatin. Now, it should be said that classical French stock-making would say that this is not desirable, but unless you are using really full-flavored chicken --- truly pasture-raised, free-range, organic, not the fakery that "free-range, organic" usually means --- you won't get the full chicken flavor without using every hint of collagen. Doesn't make me happy, but it seems to be the case.

 

Now, on the other hand, if I have a really terrific bird to put in the pot, I'll do precisely the same thing --- 2 hours and all --- but use a good deal less water and chop the bones to tiny bits in advance. The result is a very powerful stock, much too powerful in fact for soup --- you've got to dilute it. But I can make twice as much in one go and it stores very easily.

post #17 of 18

Hi Chris...i appreciate your reply! I have a 23 qt. PC...do you think i should submerge the 3 lb octopus in the PC or should i just add a few cups of water (maybe 2 cups)?

post #18 of 18

I guess I'd try submerging it as a first try. Boiling rather than steaming is usual with octopus, I'm pretty sure, yes? I'd want to try simply changing the temperature and leaving the technique as is --- easier to figure out what's going on when you only change one factor, right? Let us know how it comes out!

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