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Old 08-16-2005, 01:30 AM   #1
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Pressure Cooker - Yes or No

As a kid (back in the olden days when Noah coached the Jerusalum Juggernauts) I can remember Nan & Mum using pressure cookers as an everyday thing.

Their cooking was always better than mine (today) but DW is a real good cook (I wanna get fed).

Is a pressure cooker a worthwhile purchase?

Does anyone use one with monotonous regularity?

I am looking at purchasing an 8 litre pot, but DW keeps hitting me when I deviate down that particular aisle.

Should I bite the bullet & purchase or forget it?

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Old 08-16-2005, 10:39 AM   #2
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I do not use it with monotonous regularity but, still, i adore mine.

I use it mostly to quick cook things that ordinarily take a long time (the anti-crock pot, I guess). Dry beans, brisket, stews ... stuff like that.

I have a couple of pressure cooker cookbooks that basically say you can cook anything it in (broccoli, eggs, chicken soup) but frankly I can probably cook those things faster and easier just on the stove top.

I had a friend who was an au pair (sp?) in Europe about 15 years ago and she came back to the US wedded to her pressure cooker for almost everything, so i know that it's probably more versatile than I give it credit for.

It's onle of those things (like a rice cooker) that I am very happy to have.
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Old 08-16-2005, 11:01 AM   #3
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I am so glad this question came up. We have been waffling on the same thing - and think it would be great for tougher cuts of meat.

But a few weeks ago, our niece sent over a stew in one and when I dumped the stew there was this huge mess in the bottom that took me an hour to dig out. Burned on goop about half-an-inch deep. That kind of turned us off the whole thing for the moment.

If you all tell me that was not normal (and how to prevent it), then we'll probably spring for one, too.
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:17 PM   #4
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I've never had anything burn in a pressure cooker. The moisture stays in (which is how the pressure gets built up) making it hard to burn something.

Maybe not enough liquid? Such that all the liquid turned to vapor, allowing the burning?

Could it have been "precooked" and burned before you made it?

HMMMMMMMMMMM .... ??
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:24 PM   #5
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It was pre-cooked before we got it. And the stew had plenty of liquid and didn't taste burned. That's when I started to wonder if this was a lovely side benefit of pressure cookers or just the "cook." (I also had to wonder if it was a leftover from "stews past and present." Surely not.)

Our favorite BBQ joint always does a combo of pressure cooking/smoking (as I'm sure many do) and that's what we talk about duplicating at home.
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:56 PM   #6
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My only other guesses are:

1. Your pressure cooker does not have a good thick base to transmit heat. Just like cookware, you are more apt to burn food with a thin bottom.

2. You didn't build up pressure fast enough. If you don't get the temp up in the sealed cooker fast enough maybe the food could burn.

Still ... hmmmmmmm.....
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:01 PM   #7
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I love my pressure cooker. As jennyema said buying the cheapest one will expose you to the risk of food getting possibly burnt. My pressure cooker was picked up by a friend in Paris. It is 250 dollars and it is extremely heavy duty. I use it regularly (it's been 3 years now) for meat stews and for dahl (beans). It works extremely well. The food is moist, tender and cooks in 1/4 of the time that it would take to cook in a normal pan.

In today's day when gas is so expensive it makes all the more sense to use it to cut back on your gas consumption (that is if you have a gas stove) and to get a meal quickly on the table.
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:11 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your replies, I've enjoyed reading them immensely, but, ................

Yakuta: you've virtually sold me to put up with the pain and purchase

Jennyema: great stuff and thank you - yes, a rice cooker does more than cook rice, when the stove top is full, out comes the rice cooker.

TexasBlue: scary stuff. You've now opened up another can of worms. Pressure + smoking.

I have looked at some dedicated PC recipes & found one for a stew where the meat was sealed in the cooker, then the pot was deglazed with cola, meat & veges returned to the pot & cooked. Perhaps if the bottom of the pot wasn't deglazed properly this could lead to sticking & burning.

I haven't finished exploring http://www.recipezaar.com/r/16/229 but this appears to have some nice starter ideas.

Looks like I have to buy rather than fry.

Once again, thank you all for your time, very much appreciated.
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:48 PM   #9
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Get a pressure canner-cooker (usually in the 12-23 qt size) and you can use it for both cooking and canning!

I can see the pressure+smoking thing working ... smoke a tough cut of meat for an hour (for the flavor) and then pressure cook it the rest of the way.

I'm still a little confused about the "gunk" in the bottom of the pan.
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Get a pressure canner-cooker (usually in the 12-23 qt size) and you can use it for both cooking and canning!
Oh cool, I did not realize this. I have wanted both of these things, but could not justify buying either as I do not think I would use either a whole lot and certainly do not want to take up that much space, but if one does the job of both then that pushes me that much closer to buying a pressure canner
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