Under Pressure — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, How-to, February 1st, 2012

pressure cooker
Come cold weather, praises abound for slow cookers. I never got on that bandwagon. While I love low-and-slow cooking, when it comes to barbecue, I prefer my meals to come together more quickly on a daily basis. Why wait that long for a tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef stew when a pressure cooker can do the same job in less than an hour?

Back when I was a personal chef, I only had four to five hours to spend at each client’s house, to get five meals for four prepared from start to finish. Using a pressure cooker allowed me to not only multitask, but to prepare short ribs, pot roast and even soups in record time. It was just the primer I needed for feeding my own family years later.

Forget all your fears and the stories you’ve heard about pressure cookers in the past. In the 15 years I’ve been using mine, there’s never been an explosion. I started with a stovetop pressure cooker in the beginning, and in the last few years my electric one has become my new best friend. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll realize from the first bite that is one “fast food” busy parents can feel good about serving their kids.

Related Links:

How to Use a Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker How-Tos With Alton Brown

Emeril’s Best Beef Stew

The Ultimate Cuban Sandwich

Risotto With Winter Vegetables

Jennifer Perillo is a recipe developer and food writer living in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her recipes and tips for feeding families homemade meals are a regular feature in Working Mother magazine, where she’s the consulting food editor, as well Relish Magazine, Parenting, Kiwi and her blog, In Jennie’s Kitchen.


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Comments (5)

  1. I never spent so much time with an instruction manual as I did when I first used my pressure canner. Scared the crap out of me. Having that experience under my belt, I was a little less reticent with the pressure cooker. Thus far, I've only made beans in it. I'll have to try some of these others.

    • jeri says:

      Hang in there. I was scared you know what at first. I've been using my cooker for years now, with no blow-ups, and love it!!! My favorite use is pressure frying for chicken, just like the old colonel! Yum!

      • Debra says:

        Seriously you are teaching me something new. I thought you had to have a totally different pan than that, because of watching a show cloning the colonel's chicken. They told of some pressure fryer that was designed for their chicken exclusively. Wow that's great. We don't eat fried chicken hardly but when we do that would be the way to go. Thanks for sharing the info!

    • Barry Tuggle says:

      I just bought one and I have tried to cook my grandma's flat "pole" beans in it but can't get the texture correct! Do you have any ideas for me? Thanks!

  2. Janet H. says:

    I love, love using my pressure cooler! I recommend it to many of my slow cooker friends. I’ve got enough things to do in the morning; prepping for tonight’s (overcooked and de-textured meal) is the last thing I want to do. Fresh ingredients + super fast cooking = yummy, tender, flavorful and healthy.

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