November 2018. Winter is creeping in on Colorado. It’s time again for hearty stews and soups. Back in January 2017, I started a draft of this post “Electric pressure cooker recipes”, and now it’s time to finally finish it!
I have been using pressure cookers since the 1970s, when I got my first stove top version. (See my 250 Cookbook post, the Presto Pressure Cooker Recipe Book.) About 4 years ago I got an electric pressure cooker, sometimes called an “instant pot”. I tend to neglect it since I store it down in the basement. So, I carried it upstairs for convenient storage.
The focus of this series of posts is to find lots of pressure cooker recipes, test one from each website, and then keep all my references and notes in one convenient spot. I want to become very comfortable using my pressure cooker with foods from beans to grains to meats to vegetables.
I am not going to discuss how to use a pressure cooker in this section. But for myself, I wanted a good reference book on pressure cooking, and I chose Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass. (I bought the e-book.) I learned about Lorna Sass while working on my Grains posts, and purchased and reviewed her book Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way. I made a good choice with Pressure Perfect – I love the book!
The first website I am covering is:
The Serious Eats Team has put together a page of 29 Pressure Cooker Recipes for Quicker, Easier Dinners. I became “acquainted” with one of this team, J. Kenji López-Alt, when listening to a podcast. After listening, I bought the hard copy of his 2015 book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. (This book is past my 250 cookbooks era.) It’s a fascinating, scientific-style cookbook that totally appeals to me. The Food Lab book is huge and comprehensive and has lots of great photos.
The pressure cooker recipes on the Serious Eats site range from traditional beef stew to chicken stew with lentils to Thai green chicken curry to black beans with chorizo to French onion soup to beef barley soup to Texas style chile con carne to rissotto to tomato sauce and chicken stock. Interesting flavors from Asia and India and America and Mexico and more are often woven into the same recipe. No borders in the cooking of the Food Lab Team!
I like that the pressure cooker recipes on this site that call for black beans have you add the dry beans directly to the pot. A recipe with pinto beans calls for them to be soaked overnight, then added directly to the pot. A recipe for chick peas calls for canned beans. Why do I have a preference for adding dry beans directly to the pot? Because it lends a lot more flavor than adding precooked or canned beans, and it saves the cook (me!) from having to plan a meal by soaking the beans the day before.
What I don’t like about the Serious Eats site are a couple of irritating ads: one keeps showing a video that distracts my eyes.
The first recipe I want to try is 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Chorizo. This recipe was created by J. Kenji López-Alt. He writes about the development of the recipe on another page. He states that, as per my own preference, he tried dried garbanzos first, but it took so long for them to cook that he used canned garbanzos first. Gosh, I love his photos! I could learn more than cooking from J. Kenji López-Alt!
I gather ingredients for this dish. I can’t find fire roasted tomatoes at the market, so I will use a can of Cento peeled Italian tomatoes. The chorizo is supposed to be the type that can be cut into chunks; I can only find ground fresh chorizo and a 3 ounce package of dried, cured chorizo precut into thin slices. (I added a small amount of the ground chorizo, cooked, and the entire package of cured chorizo, chopped into small pieces.) I do have smoked Spanish paprika in my spice rack. Garbanzos? I cooked dry garbanzo beans in my pressure cooker and stored portions in my freezer, so I will use those, but I don’t have quite enough so I will supplement with one 14-ounce can of garbanzos (chick peas). I have my own homemade chicken stock. For the chicken, Kenji may be able to cut one into serving pieces quickly, but not me – I choose packaged thighs and drumsticks.
Yes, my pressure cooked chicken with chickpeas, tomatoes, and chorizo was wonderful. Even my husband liked it a lot. He thought the chicken was cooked to perfection, juicy and tender. He even ate the garbanzos. I thought the flavoring perfect. I advise anyone trying this recipe to be sure to use smoked paprika. Yes, the chorizo lent great flavor and heat, but what sets this dish apart is the smoky flavor of the paprika. One whole tablespoon – don’t skimp!
I will try more recipes from this Serious Eats site. They keep adding pressure cooker recipes: the first time I visited the site there were 15, now there are 29. So keep checking back.
(Aside: I use one of the Food Labs pizza doughs when we make our outdoor pizza cooker.)