Thousands of people received an electric programmable pressure cooker for gifts during the holidays, or purchased one during the black Friday sales. Dozens of social media groups offer recipe exchanges and tips. One frequent question that I see on a daily basis is “How do I convert my slow cooker recipe for the _________(insert brand name of electric pressure cooker)?”
As a veteran pressure cooker cook, I feel qualified to address this question. I hope my recommendations help you. Here’s an example: A favorite slow cooker recipe of ours is slow cooker chili, based on Hurst’s HamBeens brand Slow Cooker Chili. I substitute ground turkey for the beef and Rotel for the diced tomatoes. I also use 1 quart chicken broth and 3 pints water instead of using all water, but otherwise I follow the recipe on the package.
First I turned on the pot and browned the onion and turkey. Then I added all other ingredients and sealed the pot. I cooked the recipe on high pressure for 40 minutes, followed by natural release. The beans were tender yet not too mushy, and the chili was delicious. However, the finished product was a little soupy for our preference.
However, it’s always better to err on the side of caution (that is, too much liquid) when cooking dried beans. Also, reheating the leftover chili evaporated any excess moisture. Therefore, the only conversion I suggest is cooking time. Each pot differs in buttons and settings, so you’ll have to consult your own manufacturer’s manual or website to know how to set high pressure for 40 minutes.
Where did I get the 40 minutes? I consulted the cooking chart for dried beans (without soaking) and used that time. Since beans take the longest cooking time, that’s what you should choose. If you’re a Crockpot veteran, you already know there’s a range of cooking time when slow cooking. There’s also a range with pressure cooking, so if I tell you 40 minutes and someone else tells you an hour, cook for the minimum time. It’s easy to check for doneness and bring the pot back to pressure to add cooking time. The contents are already hot, which means your pot returns to pressure quickly.
Note: If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, reduce cooking time to 35 minutes followed by natural release. The electric models take a tad longer to cook.
Safety first. The new cookers are the safest yet, but you have to follow the rules. Don’t overfill (2/3 pot for most dishes, 1/2 pot for bean dishes) and always use liquid. Even the shortest cooking time requires a minimum amount of liquid to reach pressure. Read your manual. If instructions are missing, either visit the manufacturer’s site or contact them.
Final word of advice: Cook! Don’t leave your new cooker in a box in a closet. Use it. Experience is the best teacher. Also, join a group or two on Facebook and read through their posts. You’ll find answers to your questions, and you’ll learn there is no one way to cook a dish.
We love chili around our house, any variety. Beef or turkey, with or without beans, with or without pasta, with or without corn, Cincinnati-style or Tex-Mex chili, mild or mouth-blistering, we’ll eat it. I like to make chili with a cooked-all-day flavor that takes only an hour. It can be done! All you need is a pressure cooker.
I’m currently at work on my new cookbook, HASTY TASTY MEALS UNDER PRESSURE, experimenting with all our favorites using a pressure cooker. Mine is twenty years old, and has all the safety features missing from earlier models. But newer cookers are available now, including the electric models that have push-button selections and timers. I haven’t tried one yet, but my friend swears by hers.
Here is my latest version of chili using the pressure cooker method. You certainly can use canned chili beans and cut the cooking time, but cooking from dried gives me more control over my ingredients. However, I use canned corn if fresh is out of season (after rinsing and draining).
Don’t want to use a pressure cooker? No problem. Adapt the recipe for your slow cooker and cook on Low for 6 hours, or until beans are tender.
Hasty Tasty Chili
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 pound ground lean meat or turkey
- 1 pound dried pinto beans (I make an assortment of pinto beans, black beans, kidney beans, and red or pink beans)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon chili seasoning (I use Bloemer‘s brand)
- 1 10 oz. can Rotel® diced tomatoes and green chilies (Pick your heat level)
- 1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 15 oz. can whole kernel corn or 2 cups fresh corn kernels (Optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 32 oz. filtered water (or replace some of the water with a bottle or can of beer)
- Kosher salt
- Spray inside of a six-quart/liter pressure cooker pot with cooking spray. Preheat over medium.
- Add meat, stirring occasionally to brown. When meat starts browning, add the onions and garlic.
- Stir in chili seasoning.
- After rinsing and inspecting dried beans for any debris, spread the beans over the browned meat mixture.
- Cover the beans with the contents of the can of corn (optional). Add the filtered water and bay leaf (be sure beans are completely covered with liquid).
- Close pressure cooker, increase heat to medium/high, and watch closely for it to reach pressure. When pressure valve jiggles, lower heat to the lowest setting possible while maintaining pressure. (Most models emit a low hiss when at correct pressure. If your cooker makes a lot of noise, lower the heat)
- Once cooker reaches pressure, time for 40 minutes.*
- Remove from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own, approximately ten minutes.
- Carefully open the cooker (watch that steam!) and check beans for tenderness. They should be a bit firm at this point. Add the contents of the cans of Rotel and tomato sauce. Stir, close cooker, and bring back to pressure.
- Cook an additional 10 minutes under pressure. After pressure drops on its own for 10 minutes, release pressure and open the cooker.
- Test for seasoning and add salt to taste. Stir and serve with your choice of toppings.
*Pressure cookers vary by model. You may need more time if your cooker is 10 psi instead of 15 psi. As you use your cooker, you’ll learn to judge its cooking time. Just remember, it’s easy to quick-release pressure, check your food, and then return to pressure for additional cooking time. Also, the new electric cookers take the guesswork out of timing.
(For my readers who live in higher elevations, keep in mind my elevation here in Florida is about 100 feet. You will need to add cooking time if you live above 2000 feet.)
Butternut squash has vitamin A, vitamin C and beta-carotene . It is a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. I realize butternut squash is healthful, but it was a hard sell to my family. I finally developed a recipe even they will eat. I know by putting a southwest spin on a dish, my family will eat almost anything. Including my newest recipe, Southwestern Butternut Squash Soup. Enjoy!
• 1½ pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into equal size chunks
• 1 Tbsp. safflower oil (or spray generously with Pam®)
• ½ cup onion, sliced
• ¼ cup sweet pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper to preserve that lovely orange color)
• 1 tsp. Kosher salt or pink Himalayan salt
• 1 Tbsp. Chili seasoning mix (I use Bloemer’s brand)
• 1 quart vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
• 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
• (optional) Cilantro for garnish
• (optional) sour cream for garnish
1. Heat the oil in the bottom of a 4 quart pot.
2. Add onions and peppers. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat.
3. Add squash to the pot. Salt.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and steam until squash is fork-tender* (approximately 30 minutes)
5. Remove from heat. Stir in half of the stock and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.
6. Ladle the squash into a Vitamix (or food processor). Puree until smooth. Don’t overfill container. If necessary, process in batches.
7. Return squash puree to the pot, add the chili seasoning mix1, and stir.
8. Return the pot to medium heat and add the remaining stock. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally to combine. For a thicker soup, simmer until soup reduces.
9. Remove pot from heat. Stir in the lime juice and serve with a sour cream and cilantro garnish with tortilla chips on the side.
Kick up the heat level by adding a seeded and thinly sliced jalapeño pepper garnish.
1Vitamix users: During the pureeing of the squash, add the chili seasoning. Then to rinse the container, Add the rest of the stock to the container, run just enough to remove the stuck on squash, then pour into the pot.
*If your cookware isn’t waterless, add one cup of the vegetable stock to steam the squash.
There is a growing trend of going meatless on Mondays. I’m no vegetarian or vegan, but I certainly see the advantages to “Meatless Mondays.” Choosing one day a week to enjoy meals without meat, seafood, or poultry gives me the opportunity to stretch my creative cooking muscles. I look for ways to boost fiber and nutrition while saving a buck (meatless meals almost always cost less). Black Bean Chili is my contribution to this week’s “Meatless Monday.” If you make this chili, don’t skip the fresh herbs. Chopped fresh cilantro (or if you prefer, parsley) brightens the flavors. You won’t miss the meat!
BLACK BEAN CHILI
There’s no need to presoak beans if you’re using a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, substitute a large (15.5 oz.) can of black beans for the dried in the recipe. Cook over low heat in a covered saucepan for an hour.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 onion
- 2 – 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups (1 pound) dried black beans
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies
- 1 quart + 1 cup liquid (broth, water, beer—your choice)
- 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
- Salt and pepper (optional—taste before adding)
- Juice of one lemon (optional)
- Spray the inside of a 6-quart pressure cooker with the nonstick cooking spray.
- Chop the onion and garlic (I use the Vitamix).
- Over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic. Add the chili powder.
- Rinse beans and remove any hulls. Add beans to the pressure cooker pot.
- Add tomatoes and green chilies, stir to combine, then pour in all the liquid.
- Secure lid to the pressure cooker and bring to pressure.
- Cook under pressure for 35 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and allow pressure to drop on its own for 5 minutes.
- Carefully release pressure and open pot according to your manufacturer’s instruction.
- (Optional step) Scoop out a cup of the beans and puree then stir in to thicken chili.
- Stir in chopped cilantro (or parsley), the juice of a lemon (optional but good!), and then serve topped with a tablespoon of your favorite topping, such as sour cream, shredded cheese, or salsa.
Yield: 6 1-cup servings
If you prefer chili that’s more soup-like in consistency, increase the liquid to 1½ quarts. Vary the recipe with different kinds of beans and flavorings. Caution: Do not decrease the liquids as they are necessary to pressure cooking safety.