Modern Pressure Cooking for the Home Chef

Modern Pressure Cooking
for the Home Chef
The new modern pressure cooker is a game-changer for the time-challenged home chef

The slow food movement is wonderful. I love watching, smelling, and knowing my dinner is gently simmering in the oven.

That being said, time is an issue in my life, how about for you? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to save time in the kitchen. A chef friend of mine asked if I had considered the art of pressure cooking. My head did a few rotational turns as my voice got loud as I not-so nicely asked her if she was crazy.  The last thing I need in my life is a mean angry machine in my kitchen spitting up and exploding risotto all over my kitchen.

Sitram Sitra Pro

Smiling knowingly she told me I could have the same satisfaction and delicious outcome of a slow cooked dinner in a fraction of the time, only one pot to clean, save energy and money, improve the flavor, texture, and nutritional value of my food by using a quality pressure cooker – preferably French, preferably cordless. That certainly grabbed my attention. She quietly explained the new modern pressure cooker is a game-changer for the time challenged cook.  Apparently anyone can make a brown glazed roast, tasty Brussels sprouts, a pot of chile, sweet potatoes, zesty brown rice, mouth-watering bisque’s and stews every night of the week… so easily and quickly that the pressure cooker becomes a new BFF.

As it happened, not long after my conversation, I was invited to a cooking demonstration and lunch buffet at Melissa’s Produce in Vernon, CA.  The class featured a vegan menu by Jill Nussinow, author of the cookbook, Vegan Under Pressure .  The dishes were cooked in a Sitra Pro, Sitram’s  popular pressure cooker (about $278), which is made in France.  How’s that for synchronicity?

By the end of the class, I was a believer. As my chef-friend promised, it was all rather easy, safe and non-threatening.  Where had this sleek beauty been all my life? I can highly recommend it to devotees and non-believers.

Did you know?

By cooking your pot roast under pressure for 35 or 40 minutes, instead of the 3 plus hours using conventional methods, you’re not only preserving vitamins and minerals, you’re also preserving flavor. Pressure cooking also makes grains and beans more digestible by reducing the amount of those vexatious anti-nutrient unscrupulous guys (like lectins and phytic acid). As you get older, you will thank me for pointing out that fact.

A few Tips

Now that you are surely sold on the benefits of pressure cooking, here are some tips and guidelines to set you up for immediate gastronomic success.

  1. Invest in a quality, stainless steel device that has at least 6 to 8 liters capacity—anything smaller will be very limiting.
  2. Use recipes specifically designed for pressure cooking, especially if you’re new to it. Pressure cooking isn’t difficult, but it requires accuracy. The Vegan Under Pressure cookbook is a great staring point. It’s most attractive quality (besides great recipes) is the time table that comes with each recipe and the generic At-a-Glance time tables for various food groups.  Trust me – the “art” of pressure cooking is wrapped up in the correct cooking time.
  3. Don’t overfill. Half full is the recommended amount for beans or other food that expands as it cooks, and two-thirds full for everything else—any more and the food won’t cook properly.
  4. Brown and Caramelize. Usually, you can do all the browning right in the cooker, over medium heat with just a bit of oil.
  5. Different ingredients require different times. Follow the instructions to the letter. Modern pressure cookers like the Sitram line allows you to quickly reduce pressure so you can add your potatoes in after your meat has been cooking for a while.
  6. Finish it like a pro. A brief turn under the broiler can make your dish shine. When you’ve already achieved falling-off-the-bone, moist and delectable meats a little quality time in a hot oven is where the next-level taste comes from.

Sitram has graciously provided a “try-me” recipe.  It’s a classic. Bon appetite to you all.

Beef Bourguignon Recipe
SITRAM Blog – 25 February 2017

Beef stew with vegetables

One of the most famous French recipes in French gastronomy can be easily prepared with a Sitram Pressure Cooker.

Ingredients:

2 straw onions

6 carrots

½ cup of small Paris mushrooms

4 cloves of garlic

2 ½ cups of beef (cheek, roast, chuck) cut into large cubes

1 cup bacon cut into small pieces

1 bouquet garni with a celery stalk

1 tbsp. coarse salt

10 peppercorns

1 tbsp. with 4 spices (Rabelais spices)

1 bottle of structured red wine

3 cups of homemade chicken stock or tablet

1 cup peeled baby onions (frozen)

¼ cup of Fleur de Sel butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Preparation

  • Pour the wine into a saucepan. Reduce to ¾ and flambé.
  • Peel and chisel the 2 onions “straw”.
  • Peel and dice 3 carrots and the remaining 3 into sticks.
  • Cut the flat ventrèche into small bacon pieces.

In the pressure cooker, heat the oil and sear the meat, then add chopped onions, diced carrots, unpeeled garlic, the 4 spices and the reduced wine as well as broth.

  • Close the lid (1) and cook. When the steam escapes, lower the heat and cook for 40 minutes.

Garnish

  • In the meantime, cut the mushrooms in four after having removed the stems and sauté tin a pan with butter. In a frying pan, fry the onion rings with butter, water, salt, pepper and sugar. When the water evaporates, caramelize the onions.
  • Cook carrots in sticks in salted boiling water.
  • Out of the heat, depressurize (2) the pressure cooker and open.
  • Decant (remove) the meat.

Put the meat in a deep dish, drizzle with the sauce and gently put the vegetables in the center. Add a little fleur de sel and enjoy!

Recipe:   Chef Pascale Salam Jaubert

 

 

 

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Note: A copy of Vegan Under Pressure  was provided to the reviewer by the author.  Sitram provided a Sitra Pro pressure cooker to the reviewer. The gifts to review were wonderful and generous, but did not in any way influence this review.  The book and the pressure cooker were just plain brilliant, gift or not.

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