Next Iron Chef: Under Pressure

by in Shows, October 15th, 2010

In Episode Two's diner challenge, Chef Dumont used a pressure cooker for the first time to cook her one-hour pot roast. What went wrong?

Because of the crazy time constraints on Iron Chef, pressure cookers get used more there than on possibly any other show we do. (And definitely more than in your average restaurant kitchen—chefs tell us all the time that they’d never used one before ICA.)

Pressure cookers let you cook food (especially tough cuts of meat, like the short ribs Chef Dumont was working with in last week’s diner challenge) almost three times faster than you can on the stovetop—and they’ve come a long way from the oft-exploding models of yesteryear. In fact, most modern pressure cookers come with serious safety features, among which—and this is where Chef Dumont erred—is a locking lid that won’t release until the pressure inside the cooker has dissipated.

There are three ways to unlock the lid—the fastest, and therefore the one you always see on Iron Chef, is to hose the entire cooker down with cold water, cooling everything inside and forcing the pressure down. The other two ways: Either manually (and carefully) release the pressure from the pressure valve, or just wait for the contents to cool on their own. The latter two? All fine and good (and, in fact, ideal) when you’re cooking at home, but not terribly compatible with the time constraints of Kitchen Stadium.

For more on pressure cookers, check out this guide from Food Network Kitchens.

Already have one at home? Try one of these recipes:

Who’s feeling the pressure this week? Catch The Next Iron Chef on Sunday at 9pm/8c.

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