Monday, October 4, 2010

Pressure without the stress...

I prefer to eat my crow warm, so here goes.  For the last few years I've been a big ol' pressure cooker naysayer—I just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.  Plus, they're just so dangerous.  All that bad mojo changed Monday night when I test-drove the new Fagor Duo pressure cooker.  I was 100% wrong about all my preconceived, negative pressure cooker notions.  I've now seen the light.  I've seen the value.  I'm hooked. (That chewing sound is me taking another bite of my crow sandwich.)
Duo 6 qt_sm

This all started a few weeks back when my buddy and Test Kitchen pro Norman King was RAVING about how he knocked out a batch of black bean in less than 30 minutes (using dried black beans!).  Norman was pacing the kitchen, waving his hands, and talking like an evangelist.  Then I tasted his black beans and, sure enough, they were sublime.

Following manufacturer's instructions for his Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker stock pot, Norman explained that he did a "quick soak" in the pressure cooker for about 5 minutes.  Drained and rinsed the beans, then cooked them 8 more minutes on high pressure, and voila!

I had to see for myself.

I used the same "quick soak" approach with my Fagor Duo pressure cooker.  After draining off the liquid and the rinsing beans, I sauteed a little onion and garlic, threw in some seasoning (no salt until AFTER beans are done or they'll be tough!), a bay leaf, and some leftover ham.  Next, I tossed in the beans and just covered them with chicken broth.  Back on with the lid, then brought it up to full pressure. 8 minutes later the beans were done...and perfect.  I honestly stood back and smiled.

Takeaways:  Today's pressure cookers are very safe and easy to use (the owner's manual tells you everything you need to know—many even include instructional DVDs); pressure cookers open a whole new world to effortlessly cooking beans, potatoes, risotto, chicken, roasts (most cookers also include recipes to help get you started).  Go for it!


Here are a few recipes from
- Barbecue Brisket Sandwiches
- Lemon-Basil Risotto
- Bean and Pasta Soup

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1 comment:

  1. Scott, I'm one of those pressure cooker naysayers. Guess I'll have to take another look at the idea now. But, really, part of the pleasure of cooking is enjoying the aromas all day long as something wonderful does a slow braise in the oven for hours.