Electric pressure cookers

I bought one, It is kind of cool, but we’re still discovering each other. Anyone have any words of wisdom or advice to share? Great recipes? Things to avoid?

I’d love to get a pithy discussion going on this. I work from home but I need to make easy meals and I’m hoping this gadget will help.

Thanks!

Kukla

Sure, I never used a pressure cooker til I had a need about a year ago to limit cooking times and avoid histamine accumulation in foods. I got an InstantPot and used it constantly during colder months when I’d normally do slow cooking.
I’d rather be doing that still, but the pot is great for making short ribs in an hour, pulled pork stocks and soups, etc.

My best advice is to ignore most of the cooking times in the book that comes with it; they’re too short for me, usually. Also, they say you need at least a half cup of liquid minimum, but i’ve found that foods containing water, meat and veg, add quite a lot and less is often more desirable. A good bit of liquid from your ingredients will come out prior to the pressure going up high.

The saute function on mine is the perfect temp for speedy and even browning prior to the pressure cook and additon of other ingredients. Can’t say I’ve done much more than meat, stocks and chili in mine, but it’s a great convenience and fast clean up.

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I’ve been using pressure cookers off and on for about 50 years, and the honest truth is that they do some things very well, but other things not so much. For example, there are “recipes” on the web for making legume dishes such as baked beans and split pea soup that say you don’t have to soak the dried beans or peas, and that you’ll have great results. NOT!

Keep in mind that my personal “style” of cooking is based on an era where ALL food was organic (because there wasn’t any other kind, and even produce farmers used steer or cow manure), and ALL land dwelling animal protien in grocery stores was “grass fed.” That said, for me the problem with pressure cookers (ALL pressure cookers!) is that despite all of the printed and electronic words to the contrary, the compound flavors of stews, soups, Boston baked beans, split pea soup with ham hocks – the list can be endless – just do not marry if you cook it “all the way” in a pressure cooker. What I do to compensate is go ahead and make the dish in a pressure cooker, then allow it to simmer for at least a half hour with the lid off while the flavors “marry” and you achieve the natural reduction and concentration of flavors you would with regular slow cooking methods. Oh, and for soups and stocks, this is critical because there is NO evaporation/reduction of stocks and broths (or anything else) in a pressure cooker. It’s a closed system.

My best advice is to experiement. See what you and your family like. Every family’s cooking style and preferred flavors are individual, so here’s hoping you get what you’re looking for in a pressure cooker! Good luck.

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I recently bought an Instant Pot EPC after reading about it in eGullet. So far I’m very happy with the purchase. It’s a very versatile and convenient machine.

Check this eG thread, we are having a very active conversation about the Instant Pot with lots of helpful information:

About the no soak beans I have to say that I have seen my mother soaking the beans the night before cooking them and that is the way I do it, never bother to try the no soak method on the Instant Pot nor in my stovetop presure cooker. I’ll quote something I have said about this in the eGullet thread:

In my experience with beans and pressure cookers it’s true that you can end with a really thin watery stock sometimes. The open lid extra time helps with that but another thing I like to do it’s take out some of the beans and vegetables puree, and put them back in the pot to thicken the broth.

(I hope you can excuse any grammar mistakes, English is not my first lenguage.)

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Kukla,

I own an Instant Pot and am shocked at how much use it gets (cooking for two). Avoid lean cuts of meat, as they’ll only dry out. When possible, use the natural release method for meats, to avoid having the proteins seize up during a quick pressure release.

Tough, marbled meats like brisket, pork butt (Carnitas, mmm), chuck roast and ribs are just begging to be pressure cooked. Fall of the bone pork ribs in less than1 hour. Arrange them vertically or in a teepee shape. If you’ll be shredding meat or breaking into small pieces (chile colorado is so good) you can cut time even more by starting with about 2" chunks. Remember that time is more dependent on thickness of the cut than on total weight. Chuck steaks will cook faster than a chuck roast, but if you stack the steaks one on top the other, use the timing for a roast.

Use natural release or a controlled release (let the steam out slowly) for beans and other starchy foods that can foam up, like oats and pasta. Adding some oil to the pot helps, but frankly, I don’t bother with pasta as it’s not much faster than cooking it on my induction range, because I use only enough water to cover the pasta and induction boils water so quickly. But beans! Yup.

Homemade stock, better than stovetop or slow cooker. See Kenji’s explanation: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/01/ask-the-food-lab-can-i-make-stock-in-a-pressure-cooker-slow-cooker.html

Steel cut oats, beans, lentils, wild rice, all are much faster in your PC. Easiest-peeling steamed eggs with never any guesswork.

One of my favorite things is cream pies and cheesecakes. Perfect every time, with zero cracking and no overcooked edges. Get a 7" springform pan and try one of these recipes or vary the fillings. It’s the technique and timing that matter most. I made my first cheesecake without a crust, no problem. I cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the pan.



I cook these so often that I now dry and re-use my foil sling. BTW, this is the pan I use. No leaking! http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000237FS0?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

Split pea soup. I used to slow cook it, but not anymore. I use Lorna Sass’ recipe (it’s nearly identical to mine) from Pressure Perfect (excellent reference book for techniques). It’s also on her website: http://lornasass.com/recipes/appetizers-and-soups#splitpea. Can’t beat it for a last minute dinner. I use a box of chicken broth and 2 cups water, adding more at the end if needed. I flavor it with ham base and some liquid smoke when I’m out of ham. Caroline wrote above that peas need to be soaked, but I found they don’t, cooking up tender and ready to be stirred into oblivion in 10 minutes, followed by a natural release. I get better beans after an overnight soak.

Mashed potatoes (7 mins, quick release) are much better than boiled b/c they sit in a steamer basket and don’t soak up all that water. Whole baby Yukons (1.5-2" dia.) also cook in 7 minutes. For potato salad, cook the eggs and potatoes together, with the eggs on top of the potatoes. Genius.

Risotto is as good as anything cooked on the stove and so much faster and easier with minimal stirring. http://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooker-risotto-in-7-minutes/

I mostly use 2 websites for inspiration and tips, http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com and http://www.hippressurecooking.com. I can almost always find something that’s similar to what I want to cook.

My favorite cookbook is ATK Pressure Cooking Perfection. Here’s my detailed review: https://smile.amazon.com/review/create-review?ie=UTF8&asin=1936493411&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&ref_=cm_cr_dp_wrt_summary&store=books#

Duffy

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For those who haven’t taken the plunge yet, there is an amazing price on this InstantPot today: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FLYWNYQ/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

Thanks for the heads-up - I took the plunge! Mom always used a basic old pressure cooker. The one I have now is about 40 yrs old so the seal’s not great and I am a little leery of it.

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Glad you got a bargain!

Be sure to buy an extra silicon sealing ring; they don’t last super long, and it won’t get up to pressure when it goes. One day it works, next day it’s too flabby.

Like so much else in life. :wink:

I bought one as well. I’ll see how it goes. Thanks for the tip on the ring.

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What was the price?

When I posted, it was $74 or $78. I got mine this time last year for $134, which was a good price at that time.

[quote=“StoneSoup, post:11, topic:222”]
$74 or $78
[/quote] Yes, that’s what it was when I ordered, but later that day it was over $100. It came Monday but I have yet to unpack it. Amazon shows the list price at over $200 but they tend to go high on those figures.

Welp, mine was the 6 in 1, not smart, no yogurt button, though lots of folks use one of the other settings for yogurt successfully. It’s also at $104 today.

Mine arrived yesterday (along with a new tinned copper stewpot – sort of an old world/modern duplication of the same problem). I think I’ll be trying some legumes in IP first.

OMFG, WHY O WHY have I never used my IP for hard boiled eggs before?

Perfect peeling every time, lemony yellow, tender yolks.

I keep loving this thing more and more, unlike most gadgets that I end up giving away.

Thank you for this observation!

I think I agree with this assessment. I love my PC but I prefer to do long braises stove top or the oven. There is more depth of flavor

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I think I’ve solved that problem and with very little extra effort. For pot roast as example; I cook it less than done so I can make really neat slices while I put the pot on saute to let the liquid reduce til it’s really tasty and add the slices back in. If I feel like having thick gravy, I stick a blender stick in there to puree the mushy veg. Add slices and pressure cook a short time longer til tender.

Last week, I added a pile of browned mushrooms in with the slices for warming.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold