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What to Cook in Your Pressure Cooker

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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: This year we're resolving to put all of our cookware to good use. We're starting with pressure cookers, and revisiting just how easy they are to use: Plunk in your ingredients, seal the lid, apply pressure, produce dinner.

Pork Stew with White Beans

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.

White Beans

  • 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!

First photo by Alpha Smoot, second photo by James Ransom, and third photo by Canal House

Tags: Community, Advice, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Hotline, Best Question