Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pressure cooking for beginners

Pressure cooker tips for beginners

You don’t need all new recipes when you buy a pressure cooker. 

Many things you currently cook you can simply cook more quickly in a pressure cooker. Some things you love but don’t cook because they just take too long you can do very easily in the pressure cooker.

To adapt your existing recipes:

Don’t over fill the cooker. Don’t fill more than 1/3 full of pulses, ½ full of soups, stews, or rice or 2/3 full of solid foods such as large joints of meat. 

Don’t coat meat in seasoned flour before browning, instead thicken sauces at the end if needed, either with corn flour and water, or a mixture of butter and flour beaten together (Beurre Manie).

To make Beurre Manie mix 1 tbsp plain flour into 2 tbsp soft butter and blend well. When your sauce is cooked, and pressure is released remove the lid and whisk Beurre Manie into the mixture a little at a time, simmering until thickened.

For general cooking:
Allow a minimum of 250ml of liquid for the first 15 minutes and a further 125 ml for each additional ¼ hour.

Search for pressure cooking recipes that are similar to your recipe, for example look for a pressure cooker recipe for a beef casserole that uses the approximately the same amount of meat and veg as your regular recipe, then borrow the liquid quantity and cooking time. Try it and if it works then you have the “formula” for a pressure cooker casserole that suits your family.

The liquid can be anything that produces steam – water, stock, milk, beer, wine, tinned tomatoes, soups...

Cooking times are determined by the size of the piece not the quantity. 450g of spuds takes the same amount of time as 1.5 kg of spuds if they are all cut up the same size.

For large joints of meat the time is calculated by the weight – a 450g topside roast will require 250ml liquid and take 15 minutes, 1.5 kg topside roast will require 500ml liquid and will take 45 minutes.

If using canned soups or tinned tomatoes as sauce bases you may find they catch on the bottom as they are quite thick so add an additional ½ cup of water to the mixture.

Add thickening ingredients at the end.

A rough guide for timing pressure cooking: 

Pot Roast chicken – whole, 8 minutes per 450g, Brown first, stand bird on trivet

Portions or drumsticks – 10 minutes per 450g – brown first

Breast, boneless – 5 minutes per 450g

Chicken casserole -15 minutes + 5 minutes to thicken and adjust seasoning

Corned beef -20 minutes per 450g

Beef casserole with 750g diced beef and 375ml liquid + veg – 25 minutes

Lamb curry with 750g diced lamb and 375 ml liquid – 15 minutes

Meatball casserole with 750g meatballs – 8 minutes after browning