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Old 09-14-2006, 10:51 AM   #1
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Slow stewing vs pressure cooking?

Does simmering a stew for 3-4 hours versus pressure cooking the same ingredients result in the same taste? Or does slow stewing integrate more flavor into the meat than pressure cooking?


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Old 09-14-2006, 10:55 AM   #2
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i honestly never use pressure cookers, but in my family they swear by them, and i have to admit that their cooking is just as flavorful... one of the biggest mistakes however, is that sometimes the cooker is so **** fast that it may overcook the meats in the stew... if i was more comfortable with that thing, i would probably start out with it to cut down some time in the beginning, but remove the meats and liquid earlier in the process and finish on regular simmering until done - best of both worlds?

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Old 09-14-2006, 11:29 AM   #3
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I have really "struggled" with this question because I have a new love--pressure cooker. And I really think that the results are VERY comparable.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:17 PM   #4
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I like pressure cookers for certain things, and I have two Kuhn Rikon PCs, which I very highly recommend. A PC might turn out dishes that are slightly different from the same dish prepared in a regular pot, but the results can be equally good, sometimes better (e.g., Indian food prepared in a PC has more intense flavors, IMO).

There are some differences between cooking in a PC and a regular pot, and recipes must be adjusted. For one thing, the liquid requirement is often much different. Also, many spices MAY need to be adjusted. Timing is obviously different, not only the total time but when certain ingredients are added.

I suggest that you get a couple of cookbooks devoted to pressure cookers:

Pressure Cookers for Dummies is full of good information and is especially helpful because it provides both regular and PC versions of several recipes.

Express Cooking by Barry Blustein and Kevin Morrissey is good, as is Pressure Cooking for Everyone by Rick Rogers and Arlene Ward.

Anything written by Lorna Sass is worth having -- she's the queen of the PC.

Finally, if you like Indian food, look for books by Madhur Jeffrey -- she likes to cook everything in the PC.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:44 PM   #5
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apc is great for many recipes, and when time is short AND when cooking at altitude! But to really get the flavor and texture of a multi ingredient stew from a pc, requires lots of small steps. the joy of slow cooking is no rush, 5 minutes too much here? no problem. It's just less hectic.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:54 PM   #6
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I feel the flavors in a pressure cooker are just as intense as flavors of something cooked slower. I LOVE my pressure cooker - it's my "microwave".

Most times you can't really over-cook meats or chicken - they simply get more tender and are prone to just fall apart/off the bone. That's the beauty of it IMHO. I have made some GREAT soups (Minestrone, Black Bean), stews, chicken (for chicken and dumplings or chicken soup), beans (you just have to add some oil when you cook beans to keep down the foam so it doesn't clog the steam vent).

I really can't say enough good things about a pressure cooker.

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Old 09-15-2006, 04:10 AM   #7
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I am a slow cooker fan, I have a pressure cooker that I use when time is short, but, I truly think slow cooking (IMHO) gives a better flavorer.

I can already hear the clatter of pressure cookers being hurled in my direction, and shouts of "RUBBISH", but I stand by my stall . and just to make amends here is a slow cooker recipe I love in the winter, it may sound fiddly but it is well worth the effort.

"Shambles" slow cooked beef with button closed cap mushrooms

1 1/2 lbs of stewing beef Cubed,
150g Approximately 150g closed cap button mushrooms
2 large carrots large dice
2 medium onions quartered
1 stick of celery fine diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 large sprig of rosemary
2 Tbs of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups of beef stock ( you could make this up with a stock cube )
3 tbs Cooking oil as needed about 3 tablespoons.
Two Tbs of plain seasoned
Flour in a bowl
1 dash Salt
1 dash Pepper

1 Method
2 Pour some of the oil (about a tablespoon) into a large skillet and heat.
3 Dredge the cubed beef in the flour and put enough into the skillet so that it is not over full and steams rather than fries. When the beef is sealed and brown all over add to the slow cooker. Treat the rest of the meat in this way until it is all sealed.
4 I at this stage like to fry the onions and carrots until slightly browned, Add them to the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients . Give it all a good mix and slow cook for 4 hours on high and 2 hours on low.
5 Now for the messy bit
6 I put a large sieve over a bowl and tip the contents of the crock pot into it, pick all the beef and mushrooms out of the sieve and put to one side, remove the sieve along with the its contents and save for now. You are now left with a bowl full of sauce.
7 Add a tablespoon full of the contents of the sieve to the sauce and blend well with a stick blender continue doing this until you have a smooth sauce to the desired thickness. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed .Return the meat and mushrooms to the sauce and throw away, eat, or whatever the remaining contents of the sieve.
8 You now have a delicious beef and mushroom stew with a great sauce . Use in Pie’s or served with creamed potatoes.

Servings: 4

And for those who are weight watching

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serving
Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Fat Carbohydrates Protein Alcohol

Amount Per Serving
Calories 401.19
Calories From Fat (45%) 181.97
% Daily Value
Total Fat 20.98g 32%
Saturated Fat 5.34g 27%
Cholesterol 46.49mg 15%
Sodium 252.43mg 11%
Potassium 871.79mg 25%
Carbohydrates 43.36g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3.67g 15%
Sugar 8.58g
Sugar Alcohols 0.00g
Net Carbohydrates 39.69g
Protein 44.52g
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Old 09-17-2006, 12:04 AM   #8
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Thanks folks! I can't tell the difference between stewed and pressure-cooked myself...
'Never eat more than you can lift.' - Miss Piggy
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Old 09-17-2006, 06:42 AM   #9
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The other day I made the beef stew Romany posted. I browned the meat first, added the ingredients and cooked it in 20 minutes. It was delicious.
One reason I got the PC was the prediction of high natural gas prices last year. I started using my countertop toaster oven for more things (they bake potatoes, roast peppers, etc.) and using a PC for long cooking things like bean soups and some stews. I LOVE long braises--have wonderful enamel cast iron to do them in. But sometimes it is nice to just get it done. I honestly see no difference in taste. With some braises, however, the PC is not large enough. I did two mammoth lamb shanks the other night and it took my 7qt. LC to do them!! It is all a matter of what you are cooking and the time you have.
I find the crockpot changes the consistency of food MUCH more than the PC. It can turn things to mush.
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Old 09-17-2006, 07:52 PM   #10
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A completely amateur thought:
The pressure cooker is sealed, so all the flavour stays in. so do all the salts, minerals, chemicals, colours, etc. Food cooked under pressure must be similar to food cooked in a microwave, ie. there's no escape. Every molecule gets zapped.
"Slow" cooking, however, is bound to release some chemicals, salts, minerals, blah, blah, as vapour. Does it make it better? Or worse? I really don't know. I think the bottom line has to be flavour.
Has anyone tried doing the same dish in a pressure cooker and slow-cooked? Good experiment for you Food Scientists.
I can tell you that the only dish I make that faintly resembles a "pressure cooker situation" is something called "Dum Aloo" - potatoes cooked with spices and yoghurt ( an Indian dish) where the food is heated from below AND from above. Hot coals are placed on top of the pot, whose lid is sealed with a ring of pastry dough.

So give it a try, someone! It's too hot over here to eat casseroles!

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