And the pressure is on

Pressure cookers that is, yesterday while surfing the internet, I ran across an article on Mother Earth News about cooking with pressure cookers. It reminded me of how much I love mine, I have a 6 quart stainless steel Presto pressure cooker. Some of my favorite meals to cook in it are pinto beans, potatoes (baked potatoes), chicken soup, other soups, stews, rice, veggies… lots of different foods.

One of the benefits of using a pressure cooker, is it takes so much less time and fuel to cook with, the fuel factor is big with me since we have limited fuel (propane), I just can’t afford to let something simmer on the stovetop all day. Foods cook faster, retain more nutrients and just flat out taste better.

Some folks are afraid of pressure cookers, who hasn’t heard the horror stories of someone’s grandmother (or aunt, or neighbor, you fill in the blank) who was cooking in a pressure cooker and it exploded, beans all over the ceiling? Well I’m here to tell you the pressure cookers you buy today have many safety features built in, you’d have to try pretty hard to get one to actually blow on you. I had a “worst case scenario” happen to me when using a friend’s older aluminum pressure cooker. I was cooking chicken and didn’t put in enough water, it wouldn’t come up to pressure, then it made a loud BANG! Sounded like someone shot a gun off in the kitchen, I went over to it, the seal had blown out. No big deal, the pressure was relieved, so I opened it, reseated the seal, added more water, put the lid back on and continued cooking, lesson learned, make sure you add sufficient liquid for the time you will be cooking.

The other things you can do is make sure the vent hold is clear-not clogged, make sure the rubber parts are in good shape and properly placed, make sure you add enough liquid, don’t overload your pot, just use common sense and you will be perfectly safe using a pressure cooker.

One dish I love making in my pressure cooker is chicken soup, here is my (more or less) recipe…

2-4 raw chicken breasts
enough water to come up at least an inch or two in the pan
2-4 carrots, chopped
2-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped

I put the chicken in the pot, add enough water to bring it up at least one or two inches, I bring it up to pressure then time it for about 15 minutes. I let the pressure off, remove the chicken, shred it and place it back into the pot, then I add the veggies, you add what you like, I put in enough water to bring it to the top of the veggies, replace the lid, bring it back to pressure and time for 15-2 minutes. I relieve the pressure, then I season it, salt, pepper, whatever you like, I taste it for seasoning and add more as necessary. At that point I might add some milk or cream to give it a creamier texture and taste but it’s not necessary.

I be sure to make enough to have leftovers, the following day I turn it into chicken and dumplings, I prefer Bisquick dumplings, some might prefer a chewier dumpling, you could also add noodles or rice, make it your own :)

Do you have a pressure cooker? If so, do you use it? Why or why not? What are your favorite dishes to make in a pressure cooker?

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2 Responses

  1. Would you recommend buying brand new or used? We are just kind of getting used to the idea and want to go off-grid in the next few years. Our home will be paid for in less than 3 years which will be awesome, because whatever we sell it for will be ours to turn around and purchase land. We aren’t sure if we are going to stay in Texas or go to Oklahoma or Arkansas. Loved your article.

    1. Thanks for your question Michelle, for a cooker, if you can get a stainless steel version used, then go for it, I wouldn’t get an aluminum one no matter how good the deal. For canning, aluminum is fine, but not for cookers. New stainless steel ones are pretty inexpensive.

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