This is not your grandmother’s pressure cooker. And it can’t put your eye out. And it is the latest version of a steam digester that was invented in 1679 by French physicist Denis Papin. It is my newest toy and I am besotted.
I had not even considered getting another pressure cooker. My first one could put your eye out. But then I was watching Iron Chef America and Alton Brown or someone said the chefs who compete all use them for slow-cooking meats like pork butts and briskets in under an hour.
So King Daddy and I bought a pressure cooker. And read the instruction manual thoroughly. Even though it’s not the deadly weapon it used to be, I had some concerns about the average pressure cooker user. The booklet had a lot of warnings. YOU SHOULD NEVER ATTEMPT TO OPEN THE LID WHILE PRESSURE COOKING. Yes, it was in all caps. Why would you do that? What person does not understand the concept of pounds of pressure trapped in a pot? Or: “The Keep Warm setting should not be used for more than 12 hours.” Twelve hours? Is that the pressure cooking version of the Viagra warning to call your doctor if you have an erection that lasts more than four hours? And: “Do not operate your appliance in an appliance garage or under a wall cabinet.” What’s an appliance garage? I want one. But not for my pressure cooker. I’ve been warned.
So beautiful food photo alert. One is coming. Even though King Daddy and I completely botched my first attempt in 30 years at using a pressure cooker. I made beef stew. Browned the meat in the cooker, added onions and garlic, red wine and beef stock. Closed that baby up, hit “high pressure” and waited for the magic to happen. There was a tremendous amount of steam coming out of the top. We did not question that until 40 minutes had gone by and we realized we had the pressure limit valve in the wrong position. The possibility of completely burned beef stew was there. But it wasn’t. It was lacking a little moisture since all the broth had evaporated, but we just added more broth and wine and pressure cooked it again.
It was utterly delicious, incredibly tender and moist. I love this thing. I am my very own Iron Chef. And I am going to be out of control, I can tell. Tonight, smothered pork chops. Tomorrow, carnitas. I am going to have to start taking meat presents to the neighbors.