It all started off with a simple question on my Facebook page – if you had a tiny kitchen (I had my “someday” tiny house in mind) what are the things that you would absolutely have in it?
People talked about coffee machines, stoves, fridges, and crock pots. Several people mentioned pressure cookers. This came as a bit of a surprise to me because I had always equated pressure cookers with grandmothers and personal injury. But so many people mentioned a pressure cooker that I decided to look into it. (Never met a challenge I didn’t like.)
Apparently I need to get out more, it seems that pressure cookers are the new black in the kitchen. But today’s pressure cookers are not your grandma’s cookers. Now they are electric and programmable.
And people RAVE about them.
The book arrived first and then a few days later I got the Instant Pot. Let’s just say it was a good suggestion to order a cookbook, the Instant Pot comes with some recipes but they are written in Chinese. Although they do offer translations of the recipes, I’m not sure my family is going to eat Turnip Cake or Purple Yam Barley Porridge any time soon.
First time out of the gate, did I make an easy vegetable soup or cook frozen meatballs in red sauce? Nope, I went for it and made “Perfected Pot Roast” with carrots, potatoes and onions.
Confession here, I have *never* made a pot roast in my life. I seriously don’t know what I was thinking. “Don’t worry mom,” said my son. “I’ve got you covered. The pizza delivery place is on speed dial.” Funny guy.
After reading the recipe, my first question was – what’s the difference between fast and slow release. The recipe said that I needed to do both and the user guide was not helpful. After asking on Facebook and then watching a few YouTube videos I found out that fast release is when you open the vent (make sure you use a pot holder) and the steam whistles out (be very careful to have the steam point away from you.) Slow release is when you let the contents cool off at their own pace – you’ll know when the pressure decreases because the little pressure valve releases.
In a nutshell, to make the pot roast, you first need to brown the meat. Once that’s done you add the liquids and cook it all in the pressure cooker for 85 minutes (my roast was more than 2.5 inches thick.) When that’s done you perform a quick release (I did it, but I was very nervous), add the vegetables and cook on High for 10 minutes. Let it stand (slow release) for 10 minutes, transfer the meat and vegetables and then make gravy from the juices. A snap, right?
When the meal was finally served, the kids could not get enough of it and my meat eaters were in heaven. At the end, not a sliver of meat was left, the vegetables had been scarfed up, and all of the gravy had been sopped up with bread.
Definitely a success.
Thoughts on using the pressure cooker:
- Although much of the time spent on this meal was just “waiting around.” I didn’t feel like I could leave the kitchen “in case something happened.” I assume the more I use the pressure cooker, the more comfortable I’ll be with it, but I did tell my son who was doing dishes to RUN! if he heard a funny noise coming from the cooker.
- The only pan I used to cook in was the pressure cooker pot. That meant that I only had to clean that one pan when we were done. High points for that!
- The meat was grey. Although incredibly tender and flavorful, it was grey. Apparently I was the only one who cared about this, but still I couldn’t’ get over the fact that I was eating grey food.
- For me, part of cooking is filling the house up with yummy smells. A major part of a good meal is the anticipation of that meal. Although there were times when you could smell this meal (when steam was released) we never got that “Sunday afternoon dinner” smell.
Would I use it again? Absolutely (You knew I would.) I’m looking forward to making casserole type dishes and soups. Will keep you posted.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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