The Pressure Cooker: Just Another Trend
Or is it? For what feels like decades the hot kitchen gadget has been the slow cooker. And why not?! The slow cooker has been every busy adult’s saving grace by basically giving us another hand in the kitchen. Just throw some ingredients into a pot in the morning and dinner is ready by the evening. However, the slow cooker has had some misgivings. 1. It’s slow. Yeah, that’s kind of the point, but sometimes we haven’t planned a meal. Sometimes we need something we can pick up on the way home from work or school and throw together–quickly–to feed our families; 2. not all models of slow cookers are created equally which sometimes leads to failure via too much evaporation of cooking liquid or, even worse, burning of dinner; and 3. all that evaporation = loss of valuable nutrients.
This is where the pressure cooker comes in. Pressure cookers work magic by trapping in the moisture in your food via a very tight seal. Since the moisture, or more accurately, water can’t leave, it’s forced to stay inside the pot as the heat rises and the water molecules get very excited building up heat. This brings the temperature in the pressure cooker to skyrocket beyond the boiling point even within the food itself. Because of all this, pressure cookers are one of the fastest methods for cooking out there. Imagine an 8-hour braise taking just 20 minutes or less. The science behind pressure cookers is not as simple as all of that, but that’s the general idea of them.
The modern marvel: the Instant Pot
And, if you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the Instant Pot, the multitasker electric pot that has a resume of skills most of us can’t boast. In fact, NPR just ran a piece on the sudden rise of popularity of this new kitchen gadget. For full disclaimer, I don’t own one of these and honestly, don’t know that I would. I wouldn’t tell this to Instant Pot fans, though–they recently tore into America’s Test Kitchen for giving it a meh review on Facebook (I can’t find the thread, or else I’d link it for your viewing pleasure). But I have been cooking with a pressure cooker for years and definitely can tell you it is worth the hype.
Just don’t take grandma’s secondhand one. These things haven’t always been perfectly safe.
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Resources for Pressure Cooking
If you’re one of the many who received an Instant Pot over the holidays, I’d like to share some resources with you:
- Hip Pressure Cooking is probably one of my favorite websites all about this tool. I’ve used their recipes and their resources for converting some of my favorite recipes from other methods to pressure cooker recipes. The best thing is that this is a free resource.
- Pressure Cooker Perfection by America’s Test Kitchen was my favorite cookbook when I first started working a lot with pressure cookers. I gave my copy away when a friend asked me for a resource.
- Another free resource is to join a Facebook group for pressure cooking or, specifically, the Instant Pot. I haven’t just found invaluable tips in these groups, I’ve actually made new friends. Fancy that, social media being used to be social.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo
Whether you use a stove top pressure cooker like mine or an Instant Pot, this Pressure Cooker Chicken Adobo should move up to your must-make list. Chicken Adobo is probably one of the Philippines most beloved dishes (along with lumpia…mmm, lumpia) and for good reason. It’s so easy and so delicious. Simmered onions come together with a magical sauce and super juicy chicken legs. Give it a try!