Category Archives: Pressure cooker

More experiments with my pressure cooker

pressure cooker

Regular readers will remember that I got a pressure cooker from my lovely sister for my recent birthday.  All I can say is  – it’s amazing.  If you haven’t got one, go and order one right now!

Seriously, before I got it, I was SO nervous about using it (all I’d read online was how scary they are and how it sounds like they might explode and my kitchen is just so small that if it did explode I’d die.  So you can imagine the fear.), but it’s just not that scary.

Maybe it’s because mine is a new one and by all accounts they’ve improved over time, but it’s not even that noisy and it just didn’t seem likely to explode.  So, yay.

No only is it totally unscary, but I’ve already used it a few times and I’ve had it less than three weeks.  You might remember that I successfully made soup with it when I first got it.  Last weekend I decided to try something different and cook both my ham and chicken in it.

ham

First up, I did the ham.  I basically made it this way (boiling then glazing and roasting) but instead of boiling in a normal pan, I did it for 15 minutes under pressure, which was so much quicker and left me with a lovely stock to use (I made lentil soup to use this up – so tasty!).  The ham did us for dinner and then there was enough sliced and frozen for 15 sandwiches – icovering Dave’s lunches for about a month!

After the ham was done, I used the pressure cooker to poach a whole chicken, which I’ve never done before.  I was inspired by Economy Gastronomy (another birthday present), because one of the ‘basics’ they use as the building block for several meals is a whole poached chicken.  In the book they make a pie, coronation chicken and then a spicy Asian broth, and while I didn’t want to use all their recipes this time, the basic idea is clearly brilliant.

I followed the directions in the pressure cooker manual which suggested cooking whole chickens for 5 mins per 450g, and the meat was just perfect.  After picking everything off the carcass, I had a pot of stock (which I reduced down to really concentrate) and around 650g meat – enough for at least 3 meals for the two of us, so not bad at all!

chicken pie 4

I used about 2/3 of it to make a pie, along with some sliced mushrooms and sweetcorn, and, since we only ate half of it, the other half is in the freezer for another day, along with the remaining 1/3 of the meat (I’ll probably stick this in some curry or a pasta sauce, or I might try the coronation chicken recipe from the book).  Not only that, but I still have the bones (also frozen) which I can make another pot of stock with.  Since it was a free range chicken it cost about £6 even though it was on offer – makes me feel a bit better that we’ve got so much eating out of it though!

I could have done both of these without the pressure cooker, but they saved so much time – bearing in mind that I was making bread, soup and other stuff at the same time, it was great to get pots off the hob much more quickly.  So let me know your pressure cooker experiments – and any suggestions for the next thing I can try welcome in the comments!

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Butter bean and cabbage soup

pressure cooker soup

I was so excited to get my new pressure cooker going at the weekend (yes I know this is a tiny bit sad) and I decided to make some soup as a nice, easy trial recipe.  I have loads of soaked and cooked beans accumulating in the freezer (my experiment of soaking and cooking the whole bag at once is working out really well – I currently have butter beans, cannellini beans and chickpeas in stock) so decided to make a butter bean soup to use some of them up.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this, but when you make soup – you don’t need to follow the recipe exactly!  So if you want to make this, do what I did – rummage around in your fridge and pull out veg that’s getting limp, wrinkly or just needing used up soon.  The only things that are essential are the beans and cabbage, I guess.

This recipe makes six small lunch portions (or serves, say, three or four for dinner with plenty of bread) and took hardly any time to cook in the pressure cooker.  I’ve given directions below, but please do check your own pressure cooker’s guidelines and make sure you know how to use it before following them (I’m hardly an expert given this was the first time I’d used mine!).  If you don’t have a pressure cooker, fear not – you can easily make this in a normal pot by simmering away until all the vegetables are tender (adding the cabbage half way through cooking is probably a good bet here).

pressure cooker soup 2 header

Serves 6 (22p per portion)

  • 1 tins-worth butter beans, cooked if dried or rinsed and drained if tinned 22p
  • 1/2 savoy cabbage, chopped 50p
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and chopped 12p
  • 1/4 swede, cut into small cubes 15p
  • 1 onion, chopped 12p
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed 6p
  • 1 1/2 litres vegetable stock 15p
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 2p

Heat the oil in the pressure cooker and gently cook the onion, carrot and swede for around 5 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the stock (I added one litre here but then had to add extra at the end to thin it down) and the cabbage, put the lid on and bring to pressure.  Cook for five minutes at full pressure and then use the quick release method (run cold water over the lid for mine, but check your pressure cooker instructions).

Remove the lid, add the beans (and top up with more stock if too thick) and return to the heat for a minute or two until the beans have warmed through.  Season well, especially with pepper, and serve with bread.