In this article, my focus will be on describing the different techniques you can use to prepare meals with the pressure cooker.
Don’t be comfortable with learning how to use the pressure cooker in only one way. There are so many techniques that will amaze you. The modern pressure cookers have been improved to make it easier for you to use these techniques in different circumstances. The pressure cooker is notably one of the best options for cooking foods in moist heat. The pressure generated in the vessel can cook foods in different ways to achieve so many outcomes.
Pressure cookers are excellent for boiling, stewing, roasting, or poaching foods, to mention a few cooking methods. Thankfully, a wide range of foods can be cooked in a pressure cooker.
Pressure Cooker Techniques and Methods
Here are some of the common cooking techniques you should learn to maximize benefits when pressure cooking;
Boiling should be easily tagged as one of the most common cooking methods in these times. You can boil a wide range of foods in the pressure cooker. However, it is a cooking method mostly used to make tough foods tender. Some recipes such as making corned beef, stews, or processing foods for canning require the use of tenderized foods. You can boil tough meat cuts and other whole legumes such as peas in pressure cookers. In a few minutes, these foods will become remarkably tender. Boiling is also used to eliminate fats in some meat cuts. For example, you can boil smoked ham cuts, bones from pork neck, feet, or beef heart. During the boiling process, these meat cuts or parts lose fats and salt. Some recipes for stews and broth taste have a better outcome if you can enhance the flavor of your food. You can do this by retaining the broth from boiled meats, which have strong and delightful flavour, to improve the taste of your stews or soups. To reduce the fat content, ensure the broth from your cooked meat is skimmed.
Instead of avoiding tough meat cuts, you can braise them to a desired tenderized state. Braising should be the preferred choice of pressure cooking for meat cuts with tough tissues attached. When tender, these meat cuts taste so nice. Braising is done by first browning your meat cuts. This can be done with fats, then add the liquid of your choice; in my case, I use either wine or broth. You should look out for the gravy that forms after cooking; it has a rich flavor and can improve the taste of the meal. Braising can be used to cook meat cuts such as the shanks, and cuts from parts where the animals’ muscles are frequently used.
You can prepare the best-tasting stews with a pressure cooker because it is suitable for cooking thickened broths that add more flavor to stews. The ingredients added to stews are considerably large so you will need enough liquid in the stew. Stewing is also adequate for cooking tough meat cuts which become tenderized under pressure. Stewing is a favorite moist cooking method, it is convenient, and your foods will be ready quicker. Other foods that can be cooked by stewing include grains, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. The cooking times for these foods will depend on your recipe; always follow the specific indications to avoid overcooking your food. It is common knowledge that the best stews are thickened. Thankfully, stewing is a great way to make the broth thicker; you can also thicken gravy, with the addition of some flour. When stewing vegetables and meat in a recipe, considering that meat will need to cook for a longer period, you can first cook the meat for a while before adding your vegetables. Stewing enhances the flavor from herbs and spices, so look out for these ingredients when selecting your next recipe.
Some people regard poaching and braising as the same cooking methods because of their similarities. The difference is that when you are poaching, it is necessary to cover your ingredients with your choice of stock or broth. It is also not necessary to add fats when poaching. The best choice of foods for poaching includes tender foods such as vegetables, chicken cuts, eggs, fruits, and seafood. With the pressure cooker, you can poach foods and have them ready in a very short time without discoloration or losing the texture you want.
In these times, when we need to cook and eat healthy foods, steaming is a favorite cooking technique, and it is best done with a pressure cooker. Steamed foods retain all nutrients, and there is no need to add fats or gravy to enhance flavor. Foods that can be cooked by steaming include fruits, fish, vegetables, and other seafood.
6. Steam Roasting
The size of a pressure cooker makes it adequate for steam roasting. This is a cooking method suitable for large meat cuts from beef or pork. You can also cook a whole chicken in a pressure cooker. If your goal is to remove a large part of the fats from meat, you should steam roast the meat cuts. The fats and juices that are produced can be used to thicken your stews and add flavor to soups. Before steam roasting, it is best to brown the meat. Then add some water into the pressure cooker after deglazing. If you know how to make a foil helper handle, make one, it will come handy when you need to place the meat on a rack above the water. Meats that are steam roasted are ready when the skin turns brown; chicken skins can also become crispy. The duration of cooking will depend on your recipe.
It is amazing to know that the pressure cooker can also be used to bake foods such as fruitcakes, bread, and some desserts. Baking with the pressure cooker is faster than the traditional baking process. The pressure cooker is also preferred for baking because it can be used to achieve great results without generating too much heat in the kitchen.
Feel free to try any of these pressure cooking techniques; you can also experiment with foods that require moist cooking. A quick search online should provide some recipes other people have tried with those foods.