Pressure Cookers aka "hissers"

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Pressure Cookers aka "hissers"

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1BONS
Jun 6, 2010, 4:10pm

After reading the post from favorite kitchens gizmos, I bucked up, held my chin high, threw shoulders back, got the said PC out of closet and set out to become friends!

Placed pre-soaked lima beans, ham & onions in and was amazed at how quickly the beans were cooked. "I'm a believer"! = ) The hissing was really nothing once I understood it. I have looked at a few online sites with receipes and placed a pressure cooker receipe book on my book mooch wish list. I am ready to have a go at a roast on something next week-end. (remodel has me without ovens for a bit).

2dajashby
Jun 6, 2010, 6:59pm

A roast? You can't cook a roast in a pressure cooker. I mean, you can cook a chicken or a joint of meat in one, but it will turn out quite different from an oven roast. I have tried pot-roasting a chicken in the PC, but the chook more or less fell apart. You don't have the degree of control you do when you can take the casserole out of the oven to check.

Especially while you're getting the hang of it, I advise you to stick to stews and braises. Anything that you would do in a slow cooker that takes three times as long as normal. If you really want to do a big piece of meat, the best thing is corned beef.

As to recipe books, apart from the one that always comes with the PC and which is useful for explaining the basic principles, you don't really need one. Just adapt existing recipes and reduce the normal cooking time by two thirds.

3Thrin
Jun 6, 2010, 7:30pm

I'm slowly coming around to the pressure-cooker idea, but I have a question:

Does, for example, the casserole dish which normally takes about 3 hours very slow cooking in a conventional oven come out of the pressure cooker (after, say, an hour - or whatever is recommended) tasting just as good?

I have to say that I think I'd miss the occasional look-taste-stir of conventional cooking methods.

4BONS
Jun 6, 2010, 11:19pm

#2 dajashby, would this not work in the pc?
http://recipes.1000text-messaging.com/recipe/17232

it's calling for 3 lbs boneless brisket of beef.

5dajashby
Jun 7, 2010, 3:26am

#4
Oh dear, looks like it's the old divided by a common language thing! Yes that recipe would work very well, but it's a pot-roast, which seems to be the common American term for a braise. To me a roast is when the meat is not enclosed, but sits in an open pan and is exposed to the heat. The outside browns, which is particularly nice with a chicken. What do you call that if not a roast?

#3
Oh yes, it tastes just as good, sometimes better. The flavour seems to be a bit more concentrated, if that's the word I'm lookiong for. I never stir oven cooked casseroles anyway - just put a wetted sheet of baking paper over the top and leave alone. The one exception being baked beans, which I stir at half time when checking if more water is needed. With the PC I suppose you have to have confidence in your cooking time. As I said before, I found it overcooked a whole chicken, so I stick to pot-roasting in the oven, which also means you can take the lid off at the end and brown it.

6justjim
Jun 9, 2010, 10:01pm

I've got some beans in the dreaded hissy machine right now.

They are un-soaked and the packet says boil then simmer for 1-2 hours. I figured 90 minutes was median so I've set a timer for 30 minutes.

I haven't added anything else. I have skilfully de-constructed (read - hacked to pieces) a nice smokey ham hock and will then bake the beans with the ham, onions, chillies and some treacle (can't get molasses here) and later top with some grated cheese.

Unless I die in the resulting explosion!

7justjim
Edited: Jun 10, 2010, 1:01am

And we're done! And alive.

Half an hour in the pressshhhhure cooker took the beans to the same state they would be after an overnight soak. Softened but not cooked through.

Then into a casserole dish with the above ingredients. Also with half a doz anchovy fillets which will totally dissolve away leaving behind their complex salty flavour. Much better than just adding salt which goes straight into the beans not the sauce. The ham will also add its own complex salty flavour as well. Beans need salt. Two cans of chopped tomatoes and a good splosh of balsamic vinegar.

Then, and here's the silly part, an hour in the oven with the lid on to cook and half an hour with the lid off to thicken the sauce. Why did I not just put the whole darn lot back into the hissy pot for another 30 minutes?

I plead idiocy.

Edit: Oh, and I was using Barlotti beans, in case anyone was following closely.

8dajashby
Jun 10, 2010, 3:04am

Yes, but what do they taste like?

I'm a bit worried that you missed the first step. After you soak the beans you're supposed to drain them, then bring them to the boil again and rinse them again. This prevents them giving you wind. Oh well, you'll find out soon enough...

As for idiocy, if the cap fits. You've missed the whole point of the pressure cooker, you dope.

I use Stephanie's recipe for baked beans, only I think she specifies too much liquid (it was way to much in the first edition, made lovely soup) and I use Golden Syrup, from the start not at the finish. If I'm using a ham hock I get it cut into three pieces and just bung them into the pot. The meat falls off at the end. Never thought of using anchovies, I must say. You are right not to cook the beans with salt, it toughens them apparently. You may need to add some at the finish, of course and I like a good grind of black pepper.

I usually use a mixture of beans, borlotti, red kidney, navy whatever is there.

9justjim
Jun 10, 2010, 3:36am

Munching a bowl as I read your post. They taste yummy. I'm glad I only went with two birdseye chillies and the one jalapeño. More would be overkill†. The smoky flavour of the hock came through nicely and the texture of the (fairly large hunks) matches well with the slight chewy texture of the beans.

We shall see if I explode from flatulence later.

I agree, and I admitted, that I should have done both operations in the scary hissy machine. It would have to be one after the other if I was using dried beans though. You wouldn't just dump everything in and let 'er rip, would you?

Be kind.

† In the time that it has take me to type this, I realise that the chillie factor is spot on. A nice bite at the front of the palate and a long warm after-taste.

10StunnedTuna
Jun 10, 2010, 5:45pm

All y'all sound like you know your way around a pressure cooker and a kitchen, I look forward to learning from you. Thought I'd poke interest at Julia Child's recipe for Potato Leek Soup done in a pressure cooker. It is easy, tasty, easy on the waistline.

11cmbohn
Jun 10, 2010, 7:59pm

What affect does high altitude have on timing for a pressure cooker? I've only used mine once and that was to can tomatoes.

12dajashby
Jun 11, 2010, 3:26am

#9
I didn't mean to be unkind. I wouldn't be doing the first bit in the pressure cooker at all. I soak overnight and do the first little boil-up in a saucepan. It's not to cook the beans, it's to stop them causing flatulence. But after that you do whatever the recipe says and basically you do let 'er rip. You can't stir it at half-time, of course, but you don't need to.

This weekend I'm using Old Faithful for pea soup (got a ham hock this morning), and a beef with Guinness braise from The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book. I have not tried this before but it sounds promising. And we're having mulled wine on Sunday arvo. God Bless Her Majesty!

13sarahemmm
Jun 11, 2010, 3:40am

You guys are making me want to get one! Shame my mother got rid of her Prestige, which was great.

14digifish_books
Edited: Jun 17, 2010, 5:50am

>12 dajashby: How was the Beef with Guinness? I too have The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book and can recommend the Beef Goulash recipe. You'll need to adjust the total cooking time depending on your Pressure Cooker. I use a Tefal Clipso Vitamin Something-or-other and find I need to add 10 minutes onto most of Gibbs' recipe times.

Edit to add: Don't try Gibbs' Creamy Rice Pudding recipe in a Tefal PC or similar, unless you want to spend the rest of the day dismantling the mechanism on the top of the lid to clean out hot milk which sprays out during cooking!!

15dajashby
Jun 18, 2010, 3:04am

#14
The Beef with Guinness was delicious (I used oysterblade), but I ignored her cooking times and gave it 35 minutes on high pressure. I think her cooking times are generally not to be relied on. Times are too short and she seems to cook just about everything on low pressure which hardly seems right for beef dishes. And yet I see she tells you to use high pressure for the rice pudding!

Mine is a Scanpan, bought some years ago without conducting any sort of product survey - there are more makes on the market now, and I must say I lust after one of the little 25cm frying pan models shown in the book but I've never seen one for sale. The instruction booklet says never have less than two cups of liquid in it, which makes me nervous of many of Gibbs's recipes.

I have concluded that you don't need a special cookbook full of recipes for ridiculous things like bread and butter pudding that you would only resort to if your oven was on the blink. You just use normal recipes and reduce the cooking times.

BTW you can find me on Cookbooker calling myself Bunyip. It's annoying that you can't contact other members direct.

16justjim
Jun 18, 2010, 3:18am

I'm not giving up after the mockery I received for my beans!

They were tasty, but there were "side effects".

Having consulted with my seventy-something year old mother I will be undertaking one of my favourite dishes that she used to do in the scary hissy machine - savoury mince.

Results to follow for your further amusement.

17dajashby
Jun 18, 2010, 5:35am

What was that about a bad workman blaming his tools?

Try the beans again, but this time do the overnight soak and preliminary boil-up - in an ordinary saucepan.

Good luck with the mince. Why not give Slumpie a try?

18justjim
Jun 18, 2010, 6:00am

Slumpie? Next you'll suggest the Carrot and Oyster* Pie. Oh, wait, Slumpie is a real dish. I grew up (to age 8) in Glasgow, and I never knew that. It is surprising just how close the recipezaar recipe is to the Nanny Ogg's Cookbook recipe. Next on the list.

*Carrots so you can see in the dark, and oysters so you've got something to look at.

19dajashby
Jun 18, 2010, 8:51am

Well, Scots wha hae, I'm Glaswegian on my father's side. My mother's side are from Inverness and Perthshire. Mum was actually born in Scotland, but she never made Slumpie, just ordinary mince. And Stovies - I loved Stovies as a kid, made with dripping.

I've just checked out recipezaar. Frozen spinach? Very traditional, that... I never knew Slumpie was a real dish either. Where do you reckon recipezaar get their recipes from, hmm?

20justjim
Jun 18, 2010, 9:38am

Are you suggesting some invidious form of collusion between recipezaar and Sir Terry/Nanny Ogg? Wouldn't surprise me a bit, now that I think about it.

Savoury Mince was a complete success, by the way. The same mouth feel as Mother's dish, and that was what I was looking for. Mum didn't have jalapeños or risoni to call upon, but I bet she would have used them if she had.

And now to adapt the Chocolate Delight with Special Secret Sauce to a pressure cooker recipe.....

21Thrin
Jun 18, 2010, 8:16pm

I have very nearly decided to purchase a hisser, but I'm not sure what to look for when comparing brands. Can anyone advise me? Are there any I should actually avoid? I assume one could sauté in the hisser prior to battening down the hatch, so should the thickness of the base be a consideration?

22dajashby
Jun 18, 2010, 8:40pm

#20
I'm not suggesting collusion, I'm suggesting appropriation. There is no copyright in recipes so Pratchett would have no comeback. But can you imagine what it would look like if recipezaar described the recipe as a traditional Lancre dish?

#21
About the only good thing to be said for Gibbs's book is her description of various makes of pressure cookers. I'm actually thinking of replacing mine with a Tefal Clipso with automatic timer. They come in various sizes - I've got a 6 litre one and that's quite big enough for an ordinary family.

You'll find they all have good bases and certainly you do the browning in them first, though if you are vertically challenged you may have trouble seeing what's going on at the bottom! The thing doubles as a very large saucepan.

It occurs to me that there's bound to be some instructional videos on YouTube.

Today Old Faithful will be producing lentil and tomato soup adapted from a conventional recipe which takes well over an hour.. Rinse 1 cup of red lentils, add to 4 cups stock and 1 cup water with a bay leaf, 10 mins on high pressure. While this is cooking, finely dice an onion and cook it in oil in the microwave until softened. Peel and finely dice a potato. Add potao and onion and a tin of chopped tomatoes to the lentils and give the lot another 15 mins on high. Add chopped parsely to serve.

23StunnedTuna
Jun 20, 2010, 6:00pm

#21
Our local butcher carries Fissler, his price was 'better than the internet'...
It's been fantastic so far. It comes with a steamer tray/internal trivet gizmo.

24Thrin
Jun 20, 2010, 6:12pm

22 & 23: Thanks. Are pressure cookers OK for cooking things like lamb-shanks; i.e. meat on big bones?

25StunnedTuna
Jun 21, 2010, 2:33pm

Based on reading an entire sentence on the subject, I've decided cooking meat in a pressure cooker is as good an idea as using a microwave.

On the subject of lamb shanks I am equally well prepared: have the butcher saw them.

26dajashby
Jun 21, 2010, 10:26pm

Bones are no problem in the pressure cooker. You don't have to have shank or hock bones sawed, but it may make them easier to fit in the pot. Basically it's suitable for anything you cook in a casserole, just so long as there's enough liquid involved.

Breaking news. Old Faithful has now been joined by Young Faithful, a dear little 4.5 litre Silit. It's the Sicomatic t-plus, to be precise. The pressure selection set-up is much more convenient (just slide the thingy on the handle) and the size means I can see over the top - it's quite big enough for most of the things I do, though I'll still use the big one for soup and stock.

#25
I'm not sure what you mean about cooking meat in a microwave, whether you think it's a good or a bad idea. I never cook any sort of meat in the microwave, but the pressure cooker is ideal for anything that needs long cooking - corned beef, oxtail, beef cheek, braised anything. I think it's overkill for chicken, unless you're cooking a boiler and when did you last see one of them?

27StunnedTuna
Jun 21, 2010, 10:49pm

Thanks, I've avoided cooking meat in the hisser, I'll look to give it a try. Maybe a beef short ribs cooked under pressure and then finished in the oven?

Congrats on the second pressure cooker.

28Thrin
Jun 21, 2010, 11:01pm

That's interesting dajashby. My favourite large saucepan is a 4.5 litre, so I'll definitely have a look at the Silit, although, like you, I use a much larger pot for stock-making. Perhaps I'll continue to make stock the non-pressure way. I'm becoming lazier as the years go by and find myself reaching for the stock-powder more and more often (but always being disappointed in the result when I think how much better most dishes would taste using the real thing).

I'm thinking of purchasing the pressure-cooker mainly for casserole-type concoctions: I think that's what you mean by 'braised'.

Glad you seem to have understood about the lamb shank bones: I don't want to have them sawed as I like the l o n g look of them.

As for microwave ovens I'd never cook meat in one but find mine very useful for cooking most vegetables, and of course for re-heating.

29marietherese
Edited: Jun 25, 2010, 11:06pm

Very much agree with dajashby regarding the usefulness of pressure cookers for long braises, stews, etc. I've made osso bucco very successfully in my Fagor pressure cooker, and have also found it works well for short ribs, blanquette de veau, chicken paprikash and other meat and poultry dishes that do not require browning at the end* (although, for dishes that do, all that need be done is to tip the mixture into an oven-safe casserole and run it under the broiler for a minute or two).

For those using prepared stocks and broths, you can really improve the flavor of these by infusing them with fresh herbs and other aromatics using the pressure cooker. Just throw a bay leaf or two, a few peppercorns, some sprigs of parsley and thyme, a shallot or garlic clove (doesn't even need to be peeled) and some celery tops into your prepared stock in the pressure cooker, bring to pressure and let simmer at low pressure for a couple of minutes. Release the pressure, strain and use in your recipe. You can vary the flavors and uses greatly just by changing the aromatic ingredients. For instance, I make an "Southeast Asian" flavored chicken broth for noodle soups by adding ginger, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro stalks, chilies, and sometimes kaffir lime leaves and turmeric root slices to a basic chicken broth. Goes great with rice noodles. For a Japanese style broth, leave out all the above except ginger, add some scallion tops, some mirin or sake, a dash of soy, some dashi and dried seaweed or some miso and serve with udon. The possibilities are really only limited by your local grocery.

*I should note that I brown most beef and some chicken in oil or butter in the pressure cooker pan over direct heat at the start, before adding the liquid and proceeding with the recipe. Pretty much just like I'd do for any dish meant to be braised by any method.

30Thrin
Nov 28, 2012, 8:16pm

Well, it's been over two years since I began thinking of purchasing a pressure-cooker, and now I think I'm ready to act.... I've recently moved from a cool-climate location to Sydney and its steamy summers and reckon using a 'hisser' instead of long, slow cooking on stove-top or in oven is the way to go (taking some heat out of the kitchen). If you can't take the heat.... get a pressure-cooker?

Am considering purchasing a Silit 4.5L as recommended by dajashby. Is it still producing the goods daj?

Would also love to hear of any further adventures you all have had with your own hissers.

31dajashby
Nov 29, 2012, 8:33pm

My word, you don't make hasty decisions, do you?

Perhaps it's just as well. We got rid of the Silit earlier this year. It kept on being reluctant to seal. It has been replaced with a Tefal Clipso (on special from Peter's of Kensington because there was a new model coming) which is very satisfactory. It has a built in (well, you clip it on) timer which starts when the valve seals, and buzzes so you know to turn the heat down. Saves hanging around listening for the hissing to stop. It buzzes again at the end of course.

I agree with Marietherese about stocks. I make basic chicken stock in the PC and it produces an excellent result really quickly. I have heard the opinion that PC stocks are cloudy, but since I'm not using them for consommee I don't care.

32Thrin
Nov 29, 2012, 11:29pm

Thanks daj.... I could say that he who (does something or other) repents at leisure, but that would be rude. Funny you should mention Peter's of Kensington because that's where I had just checked the price of the Silit. I'll hop across to their site now to check on the Tefal Clipso as it does sound good (what with all that buzzing as well as the hissing).

I'm very grateful for your advice.