Technique: Pressure Cooking
Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit vapor or large amounts of liquid to escape below a preset pressure - usually 15psi for stove top models (some are adjustable for less) there is no set standard for electric models. The increased pressure reduces cooking time (sometimes by 70%%), the sealed vessel keeps vitamins and minerals and thusly flavor from escaping (sometimes 95%%), and the added efficiency can save cooking gas (one recipe usually spends only $0.01 of gas).
With a pressure cooker you can:
• Brown – this is the first step in many recipes, like risotto, and can be done before or the lid is placed, or after it is removed.
• Boil – just add enough water to cover the food by half.
• Steam - insert the accessory, or a metal-foldable steaming basket with 1/2" of water.
• Braise – brown the food in the pan, and then add cooking liquid (wine, milk, broth, water).
• Stew - throw everything in and close the top.
• Roast – place the meat and vegetables inside with just 1-2 cups of cooking liquid.
• Reduce – after the lid is removed, cook on high flame to reduce liquids if desired.
• Water Bath – place a heat-resistant bowl (ceramic, Pyrex, stainless steel), covered in aluminum foil on steamer basket inside pressure cooker with 1 cup of water on the bottom.