Monday, February 10, 2014

How Not to Use a Pressure Cooker

Dried beans are one of our pantry staples. They are a good source of protein (especially when paired with rice,) cheap, and crockpot friendly. I pop them in the slow cooker with a bit of extra water and the rest of the recipe's ingredients - poof! - 8 hours later we have lazy budget (and gasless) dinner.

I keep a couple of cans of backup beans in the pantry, just in case Husband or I are Iron Chefing dinner and didn't think about starting a slow cooker full of beans that morning. This happens quite a bit, especially when you find way too many unopened packages of beans in what you thought was an organized kitchen. Cough.





So when foodie friends were raving up and down about quickly they could cook an entire roast, mashed potatoes, and such in 15 minutes in their pressure cooker I totally pulled a Jr. high school if-my-friends-have-it-I-need-it-too. Fair's fair. They have a DIY soda maker because we raved about ours.

I think this is some sort of sign that we are turning into our parents and their friends. Um, is it?

I'll make an appointment with a shrink about that later. Long story short, Husband and I bought a stainless steel pressure cooker from Amazon as one of our family Christmas gifts. It sat for a bit in the cupboard because I while I wanted those 20 minute chicken meals, I was leery of the whole 'spodey thing that could happen if (when) I messed up.

There is nothing like Cabin Fever as incentive to try not only a new recipe, but making it in the new pressure cooker.

The first night, I filled the pressure cooker with the dried beans and ingredients, locked the top, and put it on the stove. What I didn't realize until afterward (and reading the directions more carefully) that the reason the food didn't cook because I didn't turn the burner up high enough to build pressure in the pot.

We had Leftover Smoregesboard for dinner that night.

The following night, I was determined to try again. I cranked the burner as high as it was go per the instructions and saw the indicators I didn't know my pressure cooker had to tell me yes, it was working as it should.

Then I forgot the crucial step of turning the burner down while the food cooks. 15 minutes later, I opened the pot to find this:



High speed pressure formerly dried beans turned charcoal stuck to the bottom of the pot hot mess.

We had pizza for dinner that night.

It took several days to soak and scrub the burn bean carnage from the bottom of the pot. I am willing to try using it again. Do you have any pressure cooking tips for me?

Other than have the pizza guy on speed dial just in case. I have that one covered.

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