Archive for the ‘Pressure cooker’ Category

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Pressure Cooker Chicken, Bacon, and Lentil Stew

February 20, 2018

Although I’m usually hesitant to acquire new kitchen gadgets, our 10-year-old crockpot has been living with a broken lid hinge/handle for a few years now and has generally seen better days. My husband had expressed interest in pressure cooking a few times over the past couple years, so when Amazon offered the Instant Pot Duo Plus at an excellent price on cyber Monday, I made a rare impulse buy with the justification that I could replace the crockpot and also have a pressure cooker/rice cooker/yogurt maker all in one appliance. (I’ve since learned that many people think the Instant Pot’s slow cooker function is sub-par, so I’m going to test it out for myself before finally getting rid of my trusty old crockpot.)

The only experience I’ve had with pressure cookers is watching my parents cook rice and beans in their old stovetop “jiggler” style cooker, which always made me a bit nervous. But the new electronic countertop cookers have a lot more fail-safes built in, so after reading through the manual to learn more about the pressure cooking process, I started out with a simple batch of plain basmati rice. Success!

My next step was to find some good recipes for actual meals. Although I generally prefer to cook out of cookbooks from sources that I know extensively test their recipes (versus just searching the internet for recipes), my current cookbook collection didn’t include any pressure cooker books. So I turned to¬†Serious Eats, one of the few online sources I trust to produce great recipes. I already had all the ingredients for this chicken stew, so it seemed like a perfect recipe to get started. It turned out perfectly, and I’ve since fallen in love with pressure cooking as a way to prepare easy meals that I can throw together while the kids are napping and still have time left over to get other things done.

Depending on what you’re making, pressure cooking isn’t always faster than stovetop cooking, but the advantage is that with an electronic model, you don’t have to monitor it once the cooking starts. So far I’ve made mostly stew-type meals (including a lot of Indian curries), which is what this type of moist-heat cooking excels at. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more pressure cooker recipes to share over the coming months! Enjoy!

Pressure cooker chicken, bacon, and lentil stew

See recipe

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Pressure Cooker Chicken Congee

February 4, 2018

I’d never tasted congee until I made it for the first time a few weeks ago. Initially the description of this Chinese rice porridge sounded unappealing and bland – rice cooked to mush in lots of water? But I kept seeing it described as the ultimate homey comfort food, perfect for cold winter nights or nursing a cold. Basically the Chinese version of how western culture uses chicken soup. I decided to give it a try, and I’m so glad I did!

So when a mild stomach bug made its way through our house this weekend, hitting me first on Friday and my husband Saturday, I cooked up another batch. It was the perfect food for our unsettled stomachs, filling but not too heavy.

This pressure cooker version, adapted from Two Sleevers, includes chicken thigh meat for protein, and garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce for just the right amount of savoriness. Depending on how long your pressure cooker takes to pressurize, the congee can be ready from start to finish in under an hour. Enjoy!

Chicken congee

See recipe