My husband and I visited some friends in West Virginia a few summers ago. They live in a beautiful home with many acres of land in the country side. We spend a whole afternoon catching up and admiring their gardens and farm land before we enjoyed a lovely dinner. One of the topics of conversation that evening was cooking with a pressure cooker. They used this method almost exclusively. They had raving reviews about the meals and the time savings that can be achieved using this method of cooking. They were proudly on a mission to convert others, as they truly believed it was a great way to cook.
I filed that idea in the back of my mind until a couple of months ago, when it was time to provide suggestions for what I might want for Christmas. One of the things I suggested was a pressure cooker, and Amazon delivered it promptly!
I had never used a pressure cooker before, and I had never observed anyone use it. I picked up the instruction booklet a couple of times, but I couldn’t sit and focus on the details. One of the reasons we did’t already have one is because they are pretty scary to me. Even though I didn’t know that much about them, I have always thought that they are too complex and dangerous.
My husband ran out of patience and decided to read the instructions and test it out himself. He has already used it twice. The first time, he cooked a whole chicken using a basic recipe he found on line. The chicken was good, but he was not too impressed. The second time he did some serious research on the brand’s website. It turns out, the brand collaborated with Jaime Oliver. He found a Jaime Oliver Professional Series by Tefal cookbook, subtitled Quick and Easy Pressure Cooking with Jamie Oliver. There are several copies of the book on line, but I could not find an official site for it, so here is a link to similar recipes.
He did a good job, and we were both impressed. The description provided by the recipe book matched exactly to the meal he prepared. He cooked the recipe on page 10, Pot Roast Chinese Pork Shoulder with Five-Spice, Plums, Chilli and Ginger. He substituted an anaheim pepper for two red chillies, but other wise, he followed the original recipe.
This dish transformed the meat just as it was described….”a lowly piece of pork shoulder into something rich, decadent, meltingly soft and full of amazing flavors”. It was really good.
My husband placed two whole potatoes on top of the meat and those cooked very well. The picture shows the potato with no added toppings, but the meat juices were so good, and served as gravy for the potato.
If I had prepared the meal, I probably would have eliminated the honey. I think the recipe picture shows cherry tomatoes, but the recipe does not call for any.
Pressure cookers are either stove top or electric, and according to the little that I have read, the stove top provide the most value. Among some of the advantages is that it heats up faster, and allows for the pressure to be released faster as well. There is definitely a lot to learn.
One of the reasons I requested the pressure cooker is so that I could cook more varieties of beans more often, and in less time. I like to make bean salads, but I do so infrequently because cooking beans takes too long.
I look forward to learning how to use the device and to experiment with other recipes. I will not focus on finding recipes for beans at first. I want to focus on cooking basic beans until I can get the consistency right, and then worry about spicing them up.
There are mega articles on line on the subject. What strategy do you use to do research on the internet?
If it is product related, to help me select a product, I use Amazon to my advantage. I find several products that seam more favored by people. I read product reviews with a critical eye. After I read plenty of reviews I start to get a better picture that will help me make a decision. Once I decide on the most likely brand that I will choose, I research the specific brand’s site to confirm my choice. If I go into the wild to look for additional sources, I search for very specific criteria, otherwise the research will last forever.
Luckily since this pressure cooker was a gift, I didn’t have to do any work to make a selection. It seems to work well, and we are happy with it.
It will take me while to learn how to use this new device, but I hope to be able to expand my meal options with this new kitchen toy!
Below are a few pictures I took during that trip to West Virginia.
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