This past Tuesday was a big day for me. I purchased my first pressure cooker. I had never used one before, much less thought about buying one. After reading Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet’s book, “A Modernist Meal at Home,” I felt that I had to take the plunge.
Neither my mother nor my grandmother cooked with a pressure cooker. I came into this with no experience. My husband, on the other hand, knew something about them. He literally held my hand through my first meal.
The model I purchased in the Fagor 6-quart Duo Pressure Cooker. I read favorable reviews online. I chose the French-Style Pork Stew from the American Test Kitchen for my maiden voyage.
Looking back, it was probably an ambitious recipe. I had to convert a regular recipe to one in a pressure cooker. It involved releasing pressure on the pot not once, but twice. The recipe included meat and several vegetables.
My Pressure Cooker Adventure
I must admit to a bit of trepidation because of the Boston Marathon. I never considered bringing something into my home that could harm if used improperly. I insisted on my husband sticking close by as I cooked.
I was first struck by how well the meat sauteed in the heavy pot. The pork browned nicely. I prepared the rest of the ingredients, then got ready to kick up the pressure. I had practiced several times opening and closing the lid. I put it on and double-checked it. Then, we waited.
The deceptive thing about a pressure cooker is that yes, it cooks quickly, but it takes time to heat stuff up. It seemed like forever before the pressure indicator popped up. The steam puffed, and the contents simmered. It wasn’t long before we were smelling the lovely aroma of pork and ham cooking.
The first release scared me a bit, but went well. It steamed longer than I expected. I’ll definitely have to plan for protecting the stove area if I release it again on the stove top. I added the vegetables and began the second round. By the third round, I was confident enough to do it on my own.
We were both amazed at how tender everything turned out, even the kielbasa. I worried that the meat might be tough. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything was cooked to perfection like I had been cooking all day. The 2 ½ hour recipe took me less than 45 minutes.
I’m a believer. It doesn’t replace a slow cooker or Dutch oven; it’s just another option for different foods. I was thrilled with the results. I can’t wait to try it on something else. Caramelized carrot soup, anyone?
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Image by Chris Dinesen Rogers. All rights reserved.