I first used a pressure cooker to make chicken soup on a Jewish cookery course.
The teacher swore by it, as we could make a great soup in around two hours rather than the several needed over a hot stove – but it packed in as much, if not more, flavour.
Pressure cookers, which use a build-up of steam and pressure to cook food more quickly and economically, and lock in nutrients, are often considered a must-have item.
My fellow course attendee told me that in France, no self-respecting cook would be without one, so I couldn’t wait to test one out. I was sent the Instant Pot (IP) Duo 60 5.7litre capacity, which is perfect for a family of four.
A multi-functional electric pressure cooker, it also slow cooks and sautés/browns, steams, makes yoghurt and rice and keeps food warm.
It comes with a small recipe book, but there are many pressure cooker recipe books on the market, including company endorsed ones such as The Essential Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook by Coco Morante.
So far, I have made: Beef stew, Moroccan chickpea soup, risotto, one-minute quinoa, three-minute steel cut oats and different types of rice, all of which were fabulous and very quick, although the times on some of the recipes are somewhat misleading as they don’t include the time it takes for the pot to reach and release the pressure.
I also made chicken soup and, using the slow cooker function, beautifully-tender beef, as well as beef broth.
The IP instructions could be clearer – I’m confused by the natural and quick release and also got the burn error message a couple of times – but potheads (as they’re known) advocate persevering, and I’m using trial and error and recipes online to work it out.
For those with space for another appliance, I’d definitely recommend it, if only for reducing midweek meal cooking times.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make some yoghurt…