Pressure Cooker Techniques

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Most people never go beyond learning one or two basic techniques when using their pressure cookers, but there are a wide variety of different cooking techniques and methods availble using today's modern pressure cookers. Naturally, the pressure cooker excells at any type moist-heat cooking such as poaching, stewing, braising and boiling, or steam for roasting and steaming. By combining the various methods and techniques available, most foods can be cooked in the pressure cooker.

What's on This Page?

Boiling

Braising

Stewing

Poaching

Steaming

Steam Roasting

Baking

Boiling

Boiling is cooking by immersing food in boiling water, and contrary to what you may think, there are few foods that need to be boiled when using the pressure cooker. In general, boiling under pressure is reserved for the toughest cuts of meats, or those that have been salt cured, brined, pickled or smoked. Corned beef or hams might be fatty and salty, and boiling may help leach out some of the fat and salt. Smoked or pickled tongue, beef heart, smoked ham hocks, pork neck bones, and pigs feet etc, are examples of meats that do quite well when boiled. If it suits your taste, the broth from some cured and smoked meats can be quite rich and flavorful, and provide a much needed hearty flavor in recipes for dried beans, stews and soups. The broth should be skimmed of fat before using, or freeze for later use.  Another instance where boiling may produce satisfactory results are game meats like venison and fowl which may be tough, or have a strong flavor. The broth may be discarded or skimmed of fat and then frozen, according to your taste preference. Boiling is also the preferred method of cooking when the resulting broth is more important than the foods cooked in them.  The pressure cooker excels at soup stocks made from root vegetables, beef bones, or poultry carcasses. Find out more about Boiling and Poaching using the Infusion Cooking Technique.

Braising

Braising is a good method for cooking cheaper cuts of tough meats in the pressure cooker because it converts the connective tissue, called collagen, into gelatin and making the meat tender. Use the pressure cooker to first brown the meat in fat, and then add wine, stock, broth, other liquids or combinations to barely cover the ingredients. This will form the basis of a delicious sauce or gravy to accompany the dish. The popular Italian dish, Osso Buco, braised veal shanks, is a good example of braising done in the pressure cooker.

Stewing

Stewing is another method of moist heat cooking. Typically, more liquid is used to cover the ingredients. Stews differ from soups in that the pieces of food are usually cut larger, and the broth is thickened before serving. Just about any food can be stewed in pressure cooking recipes including meats, vegetables, grains, fruits and seafood, are popular. Stewing not only tenderizes tougher cuts of meat, but also allows the flavors of ingredients to blend deliciously. Whether a French ragout, a Hungarian goulash, or an Indian mulligatawny, stews are a universal favorite and the pressure cooker makes an excellent stew in just a few minutes. After browning the meat, pour off excess fat and add the liquid, herbs and spices. Vegetables and other ingredients with shorter cooking times are usually added after the meat is partially cooked. The gravy is thickened with a small amount of a flour paste after pressure cooking has finished. Try my Beef Stew Recipe that uses the Phased Cooking Method.

Poaching

Poaching is similar to braising, except there is no added fat and the food is covered by a well-flavored stock, broth or bouillon. Poaching is best used with foods that are naturally tender or delicate, such as eggs, fruits and vegetables, chicken cuts, fish or seafood. The modern pressure cooker can be used to cook perfectly poached dishes in record time while retaining the vibrant color and texture of delicate foods. Find out more about Boiling and Poaching using the Infusion Cooking Method.

Steaming

Steaming is one of the best and healthiest ways to cook. Steaming requires no added fat, preserves more nutrients, and retains the natural taste, texture and color of foods. Steam is used for tender fish and seafood, fruits, and vegetables and even reheating. Use a rack, trivet, a steamer tray or basket, an inserted pan or foil packet, and you'll maximize the full potential of your pressure cooker. Find out more about Steaming and Steam Roasting.

Steam Roasting

Steam Roasting you won't believe how easy it is to cook a large beef or pork roast, or a whole chicken in the pressure cooker. Steam roasting has the added benefit of draining the fat away from the meat, and producing lots of flavor rich broth that can be used for gravy or defatted and used in stews and soups. Meats should be browned first to develop taste, color and aroma. The pan is deglazed, and enough water is added for the length of the cooking process, plus an additional amount equal to the quantity of broth or gravy desired. Use a foil Helper Handle to place the meat on an elevated rack that is well above the water level when steam roasting. As an alternative to pan browning, meats can be popped under the broiler after pressure cooking. Add a glaze if desired, basting until the skin begins to brown and crisp. Find out more about Steaming and Steam Roasting.

Baking

Yes, you can bake breads and cakes in your pressure cooker too. Traditional holiday fruitcakes are a well-known pressure cooker specialty, but other cakes can be cooked quickly, and they are just the right size for a either a snack cake or an elegant dessert. Use a decorative mold or mini bundt pan to uplift a plain cake into a fancy dessert, or use small ramekins make delightful little cupcakes without heating up the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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