Tips And Tricks For Making The Most Out Of Your Pressure Cooker

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Photo by Didriks (CC-BY)

When it comes to getting a quick and delicious meal on the table, more and more people are turning to pressure cookers these days, and for good reason. These appliances are safer and more convenient than ever, often producing impossibly tender and tasty meals in 30 minutes or less. Our guest discusses tips and tricks for getting the most out of your pressure cooker, and shares some great recipes along the way.

Featured in this Show

  • Author Provides Tips For Fast And Delicious Dishes Using A Pressure Cooker

    Do you want to make a good, home cooked meal but just can’t seem to find the time? You might want to consider investing in a pressure cooker.

    “You can have meltingly tender lamb shanks or short ribs of beef that take just a half hour to cook, compared with five times that long in the oven or 10 times that long in a slow cooker,” said Ellen Brown, author of the book “The New Pressure Cooker Cookbook: 150 Delicious, Fast, and Nutritious Dishes.”

    And the gravy has a richer and more concentrated flavor, she added, because the pressure cooker squeezes every bit of flavor out of the bones.

    Pressure cookers have been around for hundreds of years but had fallen out of favor in the past few decades because they had a reputation of being dangerous, Brown said. The new electric versions and traditional stove top cookers have many built-in safety features that make them convenient as well as fast.

    A pressure cooker works by locking in steam, which raises the cooking temperature, so food cooks faster. Despite cooking at higher temperatures, pressure cookers reduce the loss of nutrients, she said.

    “You’re cooking faster and you’re saving nutrients. It’s a win-win,” Brown said.

    In addition, using a pressure cooker saves energy because cooking times are so much faster, she said.

    Pressure cookers can be used on any type of stove top or plugged in like a slow cooker, Brown said.

    “I tested hundreds of recipes in both electric and stovetop pressure cookers,” Brown said. “Hands down I prefer the stovetop models.”

    She pointed to faster cooking times and ease of removing the inner pot of the cooker as reasons for her opinion.

    Brown recommends pressure cookers for all kinds of food – from stews to soups to sauces and desserts, but she said it’s not for everything. Quick cooking foods like peas or filet mignon are not a good choice for the cooker.

    “Anything that would take less than 10 minutes to cook conventionally you can do in the pressure cooker,” she said.

    Pressure Cooker Marinara Sauce

    Courtesy of Brown’s cookbook

    Makes: 4 cups
    Use 6-quart or larger pressure cooker
    Time: 25 to 30 minutes at high pressure; then allow the pressure to release naturally

    3 tablsespoons olive oil
    1 large sweet onion diced
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 large carrot
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    1/2 cup dry red wine
    1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree (she recommends San Marzano)
    1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes, undrained
    1 teaspoon granular sugar

    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Heat olive oil in the cooker over medium heat or use the browning function of an electric cooker. Add onions, garlic, carrot, and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Stir in the wine and boil for 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and sugar.

    Close and lock lid of the cooker.

    For stovetop cooker, bring to high pressure and cook for 25 minutes, allow to return to normal pressure.

    For electric set machine to cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes unplug pot, allow to return to normal pressure.

    Season with salt and pepper, serve hot.

    Sauce can be refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for up to three months.

Episode Credits

  • Joy Cardin Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Ellen Brown Guest

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