I’m a big fan of pressure cooking because I can make an entire meal in just a few minutes. Pressure cooking is crazy fast which means I save a ton of time—and energy, too. I do find this fact rather amusing as I am equally fond of slow cooking.

I have come to love and adore my 5-quart Kuhn Rikon Duromatic pressure cooker and I wanted you to see it.

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I don’t know how I could manage my busy life without my pressure cooker. There are cheaper models out there, but this Duromatic stands head and shoulders above the rest. This cooker comes with an excellent manual and recipe book. Totally safe and idiot-proof, this pressure cooker is known as Einstein in my house. That’s because it makes me feel like a genius.

Pressure cooking saves me time and money helping me to prepare delicious meals that retain nutritional values often lost in other cooking methods. Pressure cooking does require some adjustments, however. Follow these tips for the best pressure-cooking results:

Brown meats, poultry and even some vegetables like chopped onions, peppers or carrots in the pressure cooker first. This is the secret to producing intense flavors and beautiful color. In a stove-top model (like my Kuhn-Rikon) add a small amount of oil then heat uncovered over medium-high heat. Remove the food to a bowl and set aside. Now loosen up and remove those delicious cooked on juices and bits by eglazint eh pot with a small amount of wine, broth or water. Return the food to the pot and you’re good to go.

Go easy on the liquid. Because food cooks in a closed pressurized atmosphere, your liquid will not reduce. You must use some liquid however, so a good rule of thumb is to at least 1 cup of liquid. Never fill the pot more than halfway with liquid.

Start off high and finish up low. When making a recipe that contains ingredients that cook at different times, begin by partially cooking slow-to-cook foods, such as meat, first. Then use the quick-release to stop the pressure cooking. Now add the faster-cooking ingredients like green beans or peas to the meat. Bring the pot back up to pressure again and finish everything up to ether at the same time.

A word of caution: If you have an older pressure cooker—by inheritance or acquisition at a garage sale or other—please make sure it is in safe working condition. Unlike my Kuhn Rikon which has built-in safety features (there is no way I could get the top off until the pressure has all dissipated), older models are not so foolproof and may present issues if the seal is worn or the pressure value no longer fits well.  A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Here’s how I prepare rice in my Kuhn: Place 2 cups water and 1 cup raw basmati rice in the cooker along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Apply cover and lock it into place. Heat over high heat until it reaches 15 lbs of pressure. Turn heat to simmer and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from stove and allow pressure to release naturally. Done. Perfect rice every time. Hint: You can prepare brown rice in the same way, increasing the cooking time to about 10 minutes.

While the owner manual and recipe book that came with my Kuhn-Rikon is great, most of what I know about pressure cooking I learned from Pressure Cookers for Dummies. What a fantastic resource. It has an entire section of all vegan recipes, one for desserts (you heard me), stews, stocks and vegetables, too. But the best thing of all in this fab book? The Cheat Sheet!

Here are two of my favorite pressure cooker recipes.

Pressure Cooker Potato Salad

  • 6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  1. Place potatoes in pressure cooker with water. Cook on high pressure 3 minutes. If potatoes are larger, cook for 4 minutes. Let steam release for 3 minutes. Then quickly release pressure and open cooker. Peel and dice potatoes when they are cool enough to handle.
  2. Alternate layers of potatoes, onion, and celery in a large bowl. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Top with the chopped egg and sprinkle with dill.
  3. Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and cider vinegar in a small bowl. Gently fold the mayonnaise mixture into the potatoes. Chill at least one hour before serving.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 3-pound beef chuck roast (more or less)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1-ounce package dry Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 1 ounce package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 1 1.2 ounce package brown gravy mix
  • 1 14.5 ounce can beef broth (or 2 cups homemade)
  1. Heat oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat with the lid open. Brown the roast on all sides in the hot oil.
  2. In a small cup or bowl, mix together the Italian salad dressing mix, Ranch dressing mix, and gravy mix. Sprinkle them evenly over the roast. Pour in the beef broth and add the chopped onion.
  3. Seal and lock pressure cooker, and cook over high heat to build pressure until the indicator sounds (mine whistles). Turn heat down to medium, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Run under cold water to help release the pressure before unsealing the lid. You can use the juices as an au jus, or thicken with flour or cornstarch to make a yummy gravy.
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