11/9/09

Cooking with an Electric Pressure Cooker

In several of my past posts, I have made reference to my Electric Pressure Cooker and it always generates a bit of interest. I decided to use it again to today to power out some Chicken Breasts that we will be using for this week's menu.

This is actually my third electric pressure cooker. The first two turned out to be - well - crap in comparison, even though they definitely made me a fan of pressure cooking. So far, the one I have now has been the easiest and most reliable one to date. It is a Cuisinart and I purchased it at Bed, Bath and Beyond this summer.

The previous two that I had were purchased from QVC. One was a Cook's Essentials, which was problematic from the get go, and the other was a Technique, which worked great right up until about a month after the Manufacturer's Warranty expired, then it kicked to bucket. Fortunately, QVC has great customer service, so I was able to get a credit back for the Cook's Essentials, which I used to purchase a very nice new set of pots and pans with :)


Pressure cookers and canners sound scary, I remember an episode of Anthony Bourdain No Reservations where he expressed a fear of pressure cookers. I admit, when we got one, my first inclination was to put on a ice hockey helmet and protective eye goggles. But, I didn't, and here I sit, my head still on my shoulders and both eyes still in place. Even the Pressure Canning experience I had this summer wasn't any where near as terrifying as I had imagined it would be.


Here is how it works:


You place the food that you want to cook in the pressure cooker, lock the lid on, set the pressure level, set the time and hit the start button. Easy. The nice thing about electric Pressure Cookers is that they don't actually start counting down the cooking time until the correct pressure has been reached.


Here are just a few things that you can cook in an electric Pressure Cooker and how long it takes:


  • 1 - 4 lb. whole chicken = 24 to 28 minutes
  • 2 lbs. of boneless chicken breast = 5 to 6 minutes
  • Beef Stew = 10 minutes
  • Acorn Squash = 6 to 8 minutes
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower = 2 to 3 minutes
  • Dry Navy Beans = 22 to 25 minutes ( if soaked over night) or 30 to 35 minutes otherwise.



So, as I said earlier, I had some chicken breast that I wanted to cook for this week's dinners. There were 6 on the bone all together. They didn't all fit into the pot together though so I had to break it up into 2 batches.


I did the first batch using the smaller breasts, which were still a bit frozen so I set the pressure for high and the time for 23 minutes. Done.


The second batch were the 2 largest breasts, set again for high pressure and the time was set for 13 minutes. Done. I know they look a bit red in the photo, but that is actually the seasoning I put on it. They are done, trust me.


So, in a total of 36 minutes, I cooked 6 bone in chicken breast. I know for a fact they would have taken twice as long in the oven.

4 comments:

JoDee said...

can you also use this pressure cooker to can meat?

Leah said...

I think so, it does have a small section in the user manual about canning but the pressure cooker itself is not very large, I think it is a 6...maybe 8 quart, so you could only do maybe 3 or 4 small jars at a time. I also have a 23 qt. pressure canner (that I am still learning to use), and we plan on canning some meat in it later this season, I will try to remember to take photos and notes for everyone :)

Michele said...

What great information! I have never used a pressure cooker myself but now you have peaked my interest.

Leah said...

With as busy as you are Michele, this would be the perfect kitchen appliance for you :) It also has slow and rice cooker functionality.

Bed, Bath and Beyond does not keep these in stock at the store, you have to order it, but if you order from the store you can still use the 20% off coupons. The 6 qt. is actually on sale for $99.00right now! I paid about $120 this summer...

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=14463330