Tag Archives: pressure cooker

Converting Recipes for Pressure Cooking

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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 

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Filed under beans, Chili and Stew, Healthful Eating, kitchen equipment

HASTY TASTY STEEL-CUT OATS

I like my grains whole and my food fiber high, so I decided to try steel cut oats for my morning oatmeal. Steel cut oats take a long time to cook. There are even recipes for slow cooking them overnight so they’re ready to eat the next morning. That isn’t my idea of a Hasty Tasty Meal.

Then I read an article about pressure cooking steel cut oats. I’ve been a pressure cooker enthusiast since the early 1970s, so this article got my attention. Now I eat steel cut oats for breakfast, and my oatmeal cooks in minutes. From start to finish, my oatmeal is ready in half the time it would take to cook stovetop, and I don’t have to stand over the pot and stir.

Here’s my recipe for a single bowl of oatmeal. (Note: Do NOT use the directions on the box of steel

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cut oats. You need only a 1:3 oats/water ratio when cooking under pressure because steam is trapped and there’s no evaporation.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup steel cut oats
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup water for the pressure cooker

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooker pot.
  2. In a microwave-oven-safe bowl (my old Corelle works just fine), combine steel cut oats, water, and salt. 
  3. Place bowl on a rack or trivet (Most pressure cookers have either a trivet or steaming basket accessory you can use to keep the bowl above the water)
  4. According to your manufacturer’s instructions, close the lid and bring to pressure. After it reaches pressure, lower heat just to maintain pressure and time for 5 minutes. (If using an electric model, select 8* minutes on the timer)
  5. Allow pressure to drop naturally (approximately 15 minutes).
  6. Quick-release remaining pressure according to your pot’s manufacturer’s instructions, carefully remove the lid, and then lift the bowl from inside the pot (I use silicone mittens for this as the bowl will be hot).
  7. Stir the oatmeal until thickened. 
  8. Sweeten as desired. Enjoy!

To make 4 servings, use the pressure cooker pot and combine 1 cup oats with 3 cups water. Add 1/4 tsp. salt. Also, add a teaspoon of butter, if desired. Follow the same time and pressure as for one serving. Stir and then serve directly from the pot. Makes 4 one-cup servings.

For creamier grits, cook 12-15 minutes under pressure. Allow pressure to drop on its own. It’s not faster than traditional methods, but it’s easier because you don’t have to babysit the pan. 

*The pressure is slightly higher in stovetop pressure cookers, which is why I suggest a longer cook time for electric models.

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Perfect Carrots

Carrots are a root vegetable. Carrots are nutritious, delicious, and inexpensive (even the organic ones). They typically are colored orange and contain carotenes (B, A, Z), lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carrots are rich in fiber, too.

If you think carrots are tasteless, perhaps you’ve been served carrots boiled to death in water. My mother-in-law says my carrots are the best, better than any restaurant. What’s earned me such high praise? Want to know my secret? 

Two rules: One, buy good carrots. Pass up those baby cut carrots and buy whole organic carrots. (Bunny Love is available where I shop, and they are organic) Second, don’t let your carrots touch water while cooking

Three methods I use to cook carrots, depending on time restraints: One, I steam over low heat in my waterless cookware (KitchenCraft, 360 Cookware by Americraft, or similar brands). No water. Just gentle, slow cooking. Takes about twenty minutes. Two, pressure cook for four minutes under pressure in a basket above the water. Do not submerge carrots in water! Water leaches out flavor and nutrients. Occasionally, I stir-fry carrots with other vegetables in very little oil in a hot skillet.

Preparing carrots takes only a little time. Peel or scrub, depending on your preference. I let appearance be my guide. If the peels look fairly clean, I scrub them with a vegetable brush and leave them on. If not, I peel. 

Slice in similar size pieces for even cooking. I like cutting diagonally but any slice style works. The smaller the size, the shorter the cooking time. 

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Bean Soup under Pressure

Who says you have to presoak beans and then slow cook them half a day to have delicious bean soup? That’s not the hasty tasty meals way. You can have bean soup in about an hour if you use your pressure cooker. Also, if you use a small bean (navy, Anasazi, pink, etc) there’s no need to soak first.

Here’s my recipe, inspired by my friend Beverly Summitt who first introduced me to navy bean soup years ago, for bean soup in a pressure cooker.

RECIPE

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound navy beans, rinsed
  • ¼ pound smoked pork or ham
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded or thinly sliced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you like a little heat)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Spray bottom of pressure cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray and place over burner set to medium heat.
  2. Saute onions, celery, carrot, and potato.
  3. Stir in garlic and pork.
  4. Add beans, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and water. Close lid.
  5. Bring to pressure. (It takes a while to bring ½ gallon of water to a boil, so be patient)
  6. Once indicator jiggles, time for 40 minutes for a 10 psi cooker or 35 minutes for a 15 psi cooker.*
  7. When time is up, remove pot from the burner and allow the pressure to drop on its own. This can take about 15 minutes.
  8. Carefully open pressure cooker, remove bay leave, and serve. For extra thick soup, blend or mash two cups of the soup mixture and stir it back in.

*Check your manufacturer’s information for pressure rating. Most cookers are 15 psi.

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Filed under beans, cooking, Healthful Eating