Your Burning Questions

What to Cook in Your Pressure Cooker

By • February 15, 2014 • 29 Comments

86 Save

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Plunk in your ingredients, seal the lid, apply pressure, produce dinner.

If you aren't already a loyal devotée of the pressure cooker, chances are you hold it at arm's length, confused and skeptical of its magical powers. A machine that cranks out slow-cooked meats and chilis in a fraction of the time must surely be sinister -- a science oven that sucks all the goodness out of your food. Besides, everyone knows that half the pleasure of a braise is the sense of having earned it after an interminable wait.

Yet, throughout human history, certain too-good-to-be-true gadgets have proven to be, well, true. There was fire, the wheel, and the long-awaited portable watermelon fridge. Now, we're (re)discovering our pressure cookers. Plunk in your ingredients, seal the lid, apply pressure, produce dinner. Cara Rosaen was just gifted one, and she turned to the community for cooking inspiration:

  • MTMitchell's pressure cooker is a kitchen workhorse: "I make anything that requires braising or a long time to cook -- our favorites are short ribs, lamb shanks, and chili with dried beans." She finds she needs little to no tweaks from the original cooking instructions, but did point us to some good-lookin' pressure-cooker recipes.
  • Flirty Foodie uses hers to make everything from rustic minestrone and pasta e fagioli to octopus salad, and sfmiller seconds the perks of pressure-cooking tough cuts of meat, risottos, and stews.
  • Pressure cookers are great for more than just one-pot meals -- you can also follow sfmiller's lead and use them to prep ingredients like "dried beans and grains that take forever to cook in a pot (unsoaked pintos to tender cooked beans in about 30 minutes, start to finish), and especially for making stock (really good chicken stock in about 35 minutes, start to finish, and beef stock in about 2 hours, including bone roasting time)."
  • For everything else, sfmiller recommends Hip Pressure Cooking as "a good resource for all things PC."

What do you like to cook in your pressure cooker? Tell us in the comments!

Tags: how-to & diy, hotline, best question, pressure cooker, slow cooker, recipes

Comments (29)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

about 1 month ago beekeeper

Another great resource is Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass.
It has been out long enough that you can probably find it used at a good price.

Default-small

about 1 month ago Emily Odza

To add to the 'artichoke' suggestion, I discovered that adding homemade preserved lemon, and a bit of olive oil, to the cooking water for artichokes in my Fagor pressure cooker, made for tender artichoke leaves that were flavorful just as they were, without any added butter or mayonnaise.

Default-small

about 1 month ago cookinalong

Once you've made beans in the pressure cooker, you'll never use canned again! Other great dishes: rice pudding, cheesecake, garlic confit (Dad Cooks Dinner), Lorna Sass's Curry in a Hurry, just about any stew, braise, or soup is ready in half the time. Also always make stocks and broth with the PC. I LOVE my Kuhn-Rikon PC. Does is show?

Default-small

about 1 month ago Jessica

I just inherited my mother-in-law's Kuhn Rikon and armed with the best pressure cooking cookbook by Lorna Sass, I now cook with it weekly and everything is easy and so amazing. Curried Chicken and Lentils with Spinach is particularly delicious.

Default-small

about 1 month ago robbie

the link to the recipes dont work, I'm afraid..

Default-small

about 1 month ago Eileen

Love, love, love my Fagor pressure fryer. I generally use it as a regular pressure cooker but have been known to make killer pressure fried chicken when I am feeling naughty! DO NOT attempt to make pressure fried foods in a regular pressure cooker....you are taking your life into your hands. The pressure cooker makes the best pressure cooked corn on the cob in 3 min. In addition to the regular things like stocks, soups stews, braises and grains it does a nice job cooking fresh veg. Quick and retains the vitamins. Couldn't live without it. Mine is able to can fresh veg, jams etc but haven't ventured that far. Perhaps next harvest season. Anyone have luck with that? Happy pressuring!

Default-small

about 1 month ago GregoryBPortland

Shrimp Risotto--I haven't really written as a recipe, so let this just be a template. Over medium high heat, I start by sautéing 1 pound of medium-to-large shrimp, peeled and deveined, in about 2 tablespoons of grape seed or canola oil and one tablespoons of unsalted butter in a 6 quart pressure cooker (frankly, I think it is a lot easier to sauté the shrimp in a sauté pan because the pressure cooker is deep and has a smaller cooking surface for sautéing--see notes below). Stir it around for about two minutes until the shrimp turn a bright pink color. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. In the same hot pan, add five or six anchovies, drained and patted dry (with paper towel), two large leeks, trimmed of all dark green leaves and the root end, cut in half lengthwise, and thoroughly washed and shaken dry and then cut into half moons about 1/3-inch thick or about 1 1/2 cups of diced onions and stir that around over medium heat, until the leeks/onions soften and begin to turn golden, and the anchovies melt--about five minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, about four large garlic cloves, finely chopped and cook about a minute. Add 1 1/2 cups short grained rice (Arborio is the most commonly available), and stir an additional two minutes, making sure the rice is throughly wet from the fat and vegetables in the pot. Add about 3 1/4 cups good quality vegetable broth, a fresh bay leaf or two (or two dried), and bring the pot to high pressure. Once it is at high pressure, set a timer for five minutes. When the time is up, move the pressure cooker to the sink and bring the pressure down quickly by turning cold water onto the lid of the pot. It will take less than 15 seconds. Move the pressure weight at the top of the cooker to indicate all the pressure is expelled and then open the lid, being careful to keep the direction of the opening away from you. You will note a lot of steam under that lid. Return the pressure cooker to the stove and under medium heat, stir the rice. If soupy raise the heat, stirring until the most of the broth has been absorbed by the rice. You want a slightly soupy consistency. To the pot add the zest of a small lemon, 1/4 cup of minced chives, freshly cracked pepper to taste, and the shrimp. Stir until the shrimp are heated through--about a minute and a half or so. Then add two tablespoons of softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, turning off the heat after you've added the first tablespoon of butter. Pour into a warmed bowl. Sprinkle more minced chive if you like and serve. Yield about 3-4 servings.

Notes: As I indicated above, I find it easier and more practical to use a large sautee pan for the prep work, and deglaze the pan with some white wine, rose or vermouth after all the vegetables and aromatics are sautéed.

Resist the urge to add grated Parmesan.

The anchovies are incorporated to add flavor to the shrimp dish, or use a tablespoon of Thai fish sauce instead.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy it.

Default-small

about 1 month ago Christina

Thank you sounds delicious! Funny you added the note about the cheese. I was thinking....where's the cheese? Love that you used anchovies, they are so good for you and a perfect way to incorporate them into a dish.
I will let you know how it goes! Thank you very much!

Default-small

about 1 month ago Can't live without

I make everything in pressure cooker--plain rice, rice pilafs, risottos, veggie and meat stews, curries, cooking dried (& soaked) beans, soups. I even make pulled chicken for enchiladas...and much more. Flavors penetrate the meats so much better...anything calling slow cooking is perfect for pressure cooking in a fraction of a time. The list is endless!!

Default-small

about 1 month ago Christina

GregoryBPortland. I never had the old original pressure cooker, so i don't know the difference. For me it's an awesome quick way to make meals as a working wife. I love Risotto, would you share a recipe with me so I can try it out? We love the basic Mushroom version.

Default-small

about 1 month ago GregoryBPortland

I probably use my pressure cooker for Risotto more than any other recipe. Butternut squash, shrimp and other seafood, vegetables of all kinds--the pressure cooker can do it all. I love braises too, but for Risotto, it can't be beat. For Christina below--I had been thinking of retiring my 30-year-old pressure cooker (one of the first of the new generation of stainless steel, safer pressure cookers) and started to read about electric versions. I read so many negative comments, I simply abandoned my decision. Don't fix what ain't broke.

Default-small

about 1 month ago cwplunkett

Risotto, Risotto, Risotto!!! It is as good as anything you labor over all in under 5 minutes cooking. For me a good risotto start to finish in the Pressure cooker takes 10 minutes! Oh so good too!!!

Default-small

about 1 month ago Christina

Would love your favorite recipe!

Default-small

about 1 month ago cookinalong

Check out the websites Dad Cooks Dinner and Hip Pressure Cooking. Both have wonderful recipes. They are a little different, but I've had great success with both. They also both have lots of good recipes and tips for using the pressure cooker.

Default-small

about 1 month ago Christina

Thank you. I will check it out. We bought a slow cooker book, but I am not crazy about it.

Default-small

about 1 month ago Christina

We just bought an electric pressure cooker. Unfortunately we had a problem the first time out with beans not cooking. We were careful to follow the directions with no luck :( Next time we will soak beans overnight. We made amazing asian short ribs in 35 mins, plus release time. They were just as tender as if we had cooked them all day. We look forward to making corned beef for St. Patricks Day.

Default-small

about 1 month ago BakerMary

The link in the first bullet point didn't work for me. Just as well, as I've hit my limit for the NYT this month.:-(

Food_critic_kiiiid

about 1 month ago rémy robert

Hi Mary, I'm so sorry to hear that! Not sure what's going on -- I, too, got a "Page not found" when I clicked the link, but when I dug up the article, it had the exact same URL. If you want to revisit it next time your NYT re-ups, it should be the first result when you search the site for "Apply a Little Pressure."

Default-small

about 1 month ago BakerMary

Thanks!

Default-small

about 1 month ago Nancy Weihsmann

Pot roast, corned beef, lamb shanks, any braise comes out fabulous.

Stringio

2 months ago Sara Calvosa

Artichokes

Default-small

2 months ago Malinda Barrett

Thank you THANK YOU!

Default-small

2 months ago Karenmwaters

How would one do the short rib chili by lastnightsdinner in the pressure cooker?

Sunflower_profile

2 months ago Burnt Offerings

Beans and grains. I have two vegetarian clients that I cook for - and it's a life saver on days in which I have to make multiple meals for them.

Default-small

2 months ago Rebecca Guralnick

oops - meant unsoaked chickpeas!

Default-small

2 months ago Rebecca Guralnick

Just cooked up some unslaked chickpeas in 14 minutes plus natural release. Awesome! Will be dining on fresh falafel this evening:)