PRESSURE COOKING PROPERLY EXPLAINED

Advantages of Pressure Cooking

Speedy

If you have never used a pressure cooker before, you will be amazed at the short cooking times. Cooking under pressure generally takes roughly one quarter to one third of the conventional cooking time. In some recipes the time saving is even greater and can be quicker than in a microwave. For example, a beef stew that normally takes about 1½ hours to cook conventionally can be pressure cooked in 15–20 minutes.

The speed of pressure cooking means that those traditional well-loved recipes, often neglected because they need hours of cooking or close attention, can be prepared quickly and easily. Old favourites like Steak and Kidney Pudding, Steamed Suet Pudding and Lemon Curd are good examples. Dried pulses (peas and beans) can be cooked in a fraction of the normal time too.

Economical

The shorter cooking times inevitably result in fuel savings. Remember too that, once the required cooking pressure has been reached, the heat is usually turned down to minimum setting for the remainder of the cooking time.

Even greater savings can be made if you cook more than one kind of food in the pressure cooker at the same time – a great advantage if you cook mainly for one or two or if you are keen to economize.

Pressure cooking can be economical when cooking for crowds too, or when bulk cooking for the freezer. It is often worthwhile cooking double the amount you need and freezing half (the additional time taken to prepare extra ingredients is negligible). Remember that increasing the quantity of ingredients (particularly in soups and stews) does not usually result in a longer pressure cooking time. The time only needs adjusting if you increase the size of foods such as meat joints or steamed puddings. The main point to remember is never to over-fill the pressure cooker.

Savings don’t stop with fuel either. A pressure cooker will quickly cook cheaper cuts of meat – the ones that are packed with flavour but normally need long slow cooking to make them tender. Dried beans, usually a cheap source of protein, can be pressure cooked in just 20 minutes.

Improved Flavour, Colour and Nutrition

We all recognise the welcoming aroma of a delicious casserole bubbling away gently in the oven or on the hob, but it’s easy to forget that, along with the steam, some of the flavour is also escaping. A pressure cooker is designed to seal in the steam and, as a result, retain most of the flavour.

Pressure cooking also helps to prevent the loss of colour that occurs in long, slow cooking – particularly in vegetables.

No matter how food is cooked, it’s inevitable that a certain amount of nutritional value will be lost. Nevertheless, the short cooking times in a pressure cooker, combined with the small quantity of liquid and the absence of light and air, help to retain vitamins and minerals which might normally be lost.

Less Steam and Reduced Cooking Smells

A pressure cooker allows only a small amount of steam to escape, which enables you to cook steamed puddings and stews without the windows running with condensation. Cooking smells in the kitchen are reduced for the same reason.

A pressure cooker is invaluable on self-catering holidays where time and space for cooking are at a premium.

Pressure Cooking Explained in Brief

When cooking in a saucepan, heat is lost as steam escapes from under the lid. A pressure cooker’s lid fits so closely that an airtight seal is formed, trapping in the steam and allowing pressure to build up inside.

When water boils in a saucepan it is impossible for it to become hotter than boiling point (100°C). If water is heated under pressure, it is possible to increase that temperature and therefore cook the food more quickly.

Today’s popular pressure cookers operate at three different pressures: Low (5 lb per square inch), Medium (10 lb per square inch) and High (15 lb per square inch) pressure. At Low pressure, water reaches 109°C; at Medium 115°C; and at High 121°C. Since most food is usually pressure cooked at High pressure, you can appreciate how that extra 21°C helps to speed up cooking significantly.

Choosing a Pressure Cooker

All pressure cookers work on the basic principle described above. How they usually differ is in the way they operate. Some pressure cookers have a choice of three different pressures (see above), some have two, while some older models have only one fixed pressure.

A pressure cooker with a choice of three pressures is very versatile and will cook a wide variety of food. For example, Low (5 lb) pressure is ideal for cooking a pudding that contains a raising agent (this ensures that the pudding rises before it ‘sets’) or for bottling fruit. Medium (10 lb) pressure is recommended for softening fruit for jam or jelly making. High (15 lb) pressure is ideal for everyday cooking of soups, vegetables and casserole-type dishes.

Pressure cookers that have two pressures usually cook at 6 lb and 12 lb. This means that cooking temperatures are a little lower and cooking times are slightly longer.

Pressure cookers with a single fixed pressure tend to operate at just 7½ lb. Again, this means that cooking temperatures are lower and cooking times are longer. At 7½ lb pressure, recipes that recommend High (15 lb) need twice the cooking time.

Before buying a pressure cooker, decide which size you need. Even the smaller models will cook a stew for four people but might not be large enough for a big joint of meat, bulk cooking for the freezer or for fruit bottling. On the one hand, pressure cookers can last 20 to 25 years, so it might be worth looking ahead and planning for the future when you buy. On the other hand, do not be tempted to choose the largest pressure cooker you can find if you don’t cook in large quantities on a regular basis. Remember too that you will need a convenient place to store it.

A typical pressure cooker with weight. Some models offer a choice of three pressures while others have two.

Assess the weight of the pressure cooker by lifting it and imagining it with the additional weight of the food. Make sure the pressure cooker has a thick base because, as you will see later in it needs to withstand sudden drops in temperature when it is taken hot from the hob to stand in a bowl of cold water to reduce pressure. Without a sturdy base, in time, the bottom of the pressure cooker might bow, causing the pressure cooker to become inefficient.In some models, a clockwork timer activates an automatic pressure-reducing device at the end of the chosen cooking time (you will need to remember to switch off the heat immediately, otherwise the cooker would eventually boil dry).

Accessories vary from model to model but basically every pressure cooker has a removable rack or trivet, which is used to hold food that is to be steam cooked above the water level (necessary with vegetables, for example, particularly when more than one type is cooked at the same time). Baskets are often supplied and these are designed to keep foods separate so that their different flavors do not intermingle. The baskets are usually perforated to allow the steam to circulate. Sometimes, an unperforated basket is provided for cooking food such as egg custards, rice or stewed apple. Additional accessories might include separators or a basket for blanching vegetables for the freezer.

fected over the years and are utterly safe to use. They are fitted with several devices, each designed to release pressure in the unlikely event that a vent has become blocked or the pressure cooker has been allowed to boil dry and over-heat.

Make sure your model has a well-written instruction book from the manufacturer.

Using a Pressure Cooker

Before using a pressure cooker for the first time, read the manufacturer’s instruction book carefully – it will tell you all you need to know about its operation (an obvious point, I know, but important nonetheless). In the meantime, here is a brief outline of how to use one.

A pressure cooker must contain a small amount of liquid in order to produce the steam to raise the pressure. The longer the cooking time, the more liquid is needed. Generally, the minimum recommended by manufacturers for cooking times up to 30 minutes is 300ml/½ pt. This liquid can be water, stock, beer, cider, wine, soup, or any combination of these. (Do not attempt to use oil as the cooking liquid – it’s dangerous because it cannot create steam.) It is important to use the correct amount of liquid recommended for the recipe – too little could cause the pressure cooker to boil dry and overheat.

When cooking soups or casseroles, the trivet isn’t needed as the flavours should intermingle during cooking. Some recipes require vegetables and meat to be softened or browned first and this can be done in the open base of the pressure cooker before adding the liquid and remaining ingredients. When you use the trivet, it is a good idea to put the water into the pressure cooker first – the water can’t always be seen below the trivet and this way you avoid the risk of forgetting to add it.

After adding the ingredients to the pressure cooker, the lid is fitted carefully, making sure that it is locked tightly in position before allowing the pressure to rise. For pressure cookers with long, saucepan-type handles this means that the lid handle should lie directly over the base handle.

Once the lid is in position, the pressure cooker can be brought to pressure. The method depends on the type of pressure cooker.

1. Visual Pressure Indicator

The visual pressure indicator weight is a neat device which contains a plunger that rises and falls as the pressure rises and falls. It is marked with two or three rings and, as each ring appears, it shows which pressure has been reached.

A visual pressure indicator weight, in which a plunger rises and falls as the pressure inside the pressure cooker rises and falls.

When the lid has been fitted and the heat is turned on under the pressure cooker, the liquid inside it heats up. As it boils, it creates steam, which causes the pressure (and the plunger) to rise. As soon as the plunger shows the correct number of rings, the heat is turned down so that the plunger remains steady (without any hissing or spluttering) and pressure is maintained. If it does hiss and splutter, it means that the heat is too high. If you are already using minimum heat, you may need to move the pressure cooker gently half way off the ring (this is particularly relevant to electric hobs with solid and radiant plates). If the heat has been turned down too low, the pressure will drop and the plunger will fall slightly. Simply increase the heat a little until you have found the correct heat to maintain pressure.

2. Audible Pressure Indicator

This type indicates when pressure is reached by the noise it makes. The weight usually consists of three parts that are screwed together for cooking at three different pressures.

After fitting the lid, the weight is clicked on to the central vent, the heat is turned on, the liquid inside boils and the pressure rises. As this happens, the pressure cooker will start to hiss slightly. As soon as you hear a louder hissing sound this means that pressure has been reached and the heat should be reduced until only a gentle mutter can be heard. As with the previous type of pressure weight,

it may be necessary to draw the pressure cooker slightly off a solid or radiant electric ring to maintain the correct sound. If the pressure cooker becomes silent, it means that the pressure has dropped too far and the heat should be increased slightly.

An audible pressure indicator weight usually consists of three parts that are screwed together for cooking at different pressures.

3. Fixed Pressure Value

This type has a valve that rotates (or spins) when pressure is reached and usually operates at one pressure. Once the lid is in position, the valve is positioned on the air vent. The heat is turned on and, as the liquid inside boils, so pressure increases. As soon as the valve starts to spin, the heat should be reduced until it stops rotating.

No matter which type of pressure cooker you use, the cooking time is calculated from the moment pressure is reached – from the moment when the plunger shows the required ring, or when the pressure cooker starts to hiss loudly, or when the rotating valve starts to spin. How long it takes to reach pressure depends largely on what is inside the pressure cooker. If it contains only a few potatoes and carrots with 300ml/½ pt water, it won’t take long. If, on the other hand, 1.2 litre/2 pt of stock is to be brought to the boil, it will take longer. It is important not to exceed the cooking times because delicate foods can easily overcook.

At the end of the cooking time, the pressure can be reduced in one of two ways.

To reduce the pressure quickly:

Stand the pressure cooker in a bowl of cold water.

Use this method for food which is likely to spoil if overcooked and for food that is cooked in only a small amount of liquid.

To reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature:

Turn off the heat, gently move the pressure cooker to a cold part of the hob (or stand it on a wooden chopping board or heat-resistant surface) and leave it to cool. Use this method for foods that are likely to froth up a lot during pressure cooking – such as soups, rice or dried beans and peas.

With the visual pressure indicator, the plunger drops down and the automatic air vent in the lid falls as the pressure reduces.

With the audible pressure indicator, wait until it is silent then, using a fork, tip the weight slightly and, if no steam escapes, lift it off.

With the fixed pressure valve, reduce pressure by lifting the rotating valve slightly to release the steam.

Remember that, for the food to cook there must be room for the steam to circulate. Do not fill the pressure cooker more than two thirds full of solid food such as vegetables. With recipes that contain a lot of liquid and are likely to froth up (such as soups, casseroles, milk puddings, rice and jam) the pressure cooker should not be filled more than half full.

Looking After Your Pressure Cooker

Each time you use your pressure cooker, check that the vent pipe and other safety devices are clean and free to operate.

After use, wash the pressure cooker parts in hot, soapy water, rinse and dry. Check your manufacturer’s instruction book because some parts may not be suitable for immersing in water.

The rubber-like gasket may shrink slightly after a considerable time and so it is a good idea to stretch it (gently) occasionally while it is cold. If in time steam starts to escape from under the lid, it probably means that the gasket needs replacing. This, along with other spare parts, can be obtained direct from the manufacturer if you can’t find them at a local shop.

Store the pressure cooker with its lid upside down on the base (you may like to put a cloth between them to prevent scratching).

This way, there is no stress on the gasket and all the parts will be well ventilated. If the weight is separate from the lid, make sure it is kept somewhere safe where it can’t be damaged.

Adapting Recipes for Pressure Cooking

The easiest way is to refer to similar recipes in this book, or in the manufacturer’s instruction book, and follow the same method. If in doubt, work out which ingredient needs the longest cooking time and use that as your guide.

When the quantity of food is increased, it is only necessary to extend the cooking time if you are cooking a larger joint of meat or steamed pudding, in which case the heat has to penetrate a greater bulk.

The cooking time governs how much liquid is needed and manufacturers give instructions in their books. Remember that when pressure cooking stews and casseroles, there won’t be as much evaporation as with conventional cooking, so you won’t need quite so much liquid. All the same, don’t forget to include at least the minimum amount of liquid recommended by the manufacturer.

Stews and meat dishes can be thickened slightly before cooking but use no more than 25g/1 oz flour, otherwise the steam may find it difficult to circulate adequately and the food may burn on the bottom. Stir the thickened dish well before pressure cooking to prevent food sticking. If further thickening is required, this should be done after cooking.

About the Recipes

The recipes in this book were tested using the following pressures:

High15 lb
Medium10 lb
Low5 lb

If your pressure cooker operates at pressures different from these, here are some tips:

•   Check with a similar recipe in your manufacturer’s instruction/recipe book and use the cooking time as a guide.

  When a recipe in this book cooks at High pressure and you need to use a lower pressure (say 12 lb), add one quarter to one third of the recommended cooking time, using the ingredient with the longest cooking time as a guide.

•   When a recipe cooks at High pressure and you need to use a lower pressure (say 7½ lb), double the cooking time, using the ingredient with the longest cooking time as a guide.

•   When a recipe cooks at Medium and you need to use a higher pressure (say 12 lb), reduce the cooking time by a few minutes, using the ingredient with the longest cooking time as a guide.

•   When a recipe cooks at Low and you need to use a higher pressure (say 6 lb or 7½ lb), reduce the cooking time slightly, using the ingredient with the longest cooking time as a guide.

SOUPS

Soup making, like bread making and growing your own vegetables, has become very popular over the years. Why do people bother? If you’ve tasted bread fresh from the oven and beans fresh from the garden you will understand why people take the trouble to make their own soup. But is it trouble? Certainly not with a pressure cooker.

When making soup in a saucepan, the preparation and finishing off are often the shortest parts of the whole process. It’s the long simmering that takes the time and ties you to the kitchen. With a pressure cooker, soups can be ready in minutes.

Once you have tried home-made soup you will be reluctant to use tins or packets again. Furthermore, you will become Scrooge-like about leftovers and vegetable peelings. Well washed peelings make an ideal base for a soup so don’t waste their goodness.

When a recipe calls for stock, don’t automatically turn to a stock cube. With your pressure cooker you can prepare real stock in 30 to 40 minutes. Apart from a rather smug feeling of cooking ‘properly’, there is no doubt that the flavour is much better, especially for more delicately flavoured dishes.

When experimenting with your own favourite soup recipes, I suggest you follow these guidelines for best results.

The trivet is not needed when making soup or stock as the idea is to mingle all the flavours together in the liquid.

Don’t fill your pressure cooker more than half full of liquid as it needs room to boil up when cooking. When cooking soup for a large number, make sure that the liquid level doesn’t exceed the

half-way mark – you can always add the rest of the liquid at the end of the cooking time and bring the soup to the boil again in the open pressure cooker.

When reducing pressure, do this slowly at room temperature. Simply switch off the heat and gently move the pressure cooker to a cool part of the hob.

When converting your own recipes, remember there is less evaporation with pressure cooking. This means that you don’t have to allow for the extra liquid which normally boils away. Always remember, though, to ensure that you have in your pressure cooker at least the minimum amount of liquid recommended by your manufacturer’s instructions – usually 300ml/½ pt.

Season in moderation before pressure cooking the soup. It is always preferable to add more salt and pepper at the end rather than try to correct an over-salty soup.

Always add the thickening at the end of the cooking.

When making a basic stock, more flavour is obtained from bones if they are cut small, so ask your butcher to chop them for you. Some ingredients are not suitable for stock making, including green vegetables, milk, gravy, thickened sauces, bread and potatoes.

When preparing soup in quantity for the freezer, remember the earlier point about not filling the pressure cooker above the half-way mark (see above). Then, instead of adding the extra liquid at the end of the cooking, it is a good idea to freeze the soup in its concentrated form as it takes up less space. Add the remaining liquid when thawing and re-heating.

When calculating the cooking time for your own soup recipes, compare the ingredients with those of the following recipes. The ingredient that takes the longest to cook will dictate the cooking time.

STOCK

Makes about 600ml/1 pt40 minutes at High pressure

This stock will be more or less concentrated, depending on the quantity of bones used. As with soups generally, it is easier to dilute after cooking rather than make too weak a stock to start with. If you do not intend to use it within 3–4 days, it is best frozen.

Bones or poultry carcass (cooked or raw)

2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced

1 onion, roughly chopped

6 peppercorns

Bouquet garni

1 tsp salt

1.    Put the bones or carcass into the pressure cooker and pour over 1 litre/1¾ pt water. Bring slowly to the boil in the open pan and, with a spoon, remove the scum from the surface with a spoon.

2.    Add the remaining ingredients.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 40 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Cool slightly, strain into a container and, when cold, remove the fat from the top.

6.    Chill until needed – up to 3–4 days.

ETTUCE SOUP

Serves 47 minutes at High pressure

This soup freezes well and is a great way to use up surplus lettuce from the garden.

25g/1 oz butter

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large potato, chopped

1 lettuce, roughly chopped

600ml/1 pt chicken stock

600ml/1 pt milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Single cream, to serve

Chopped fresh parsley, to serve

1.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Add the potato, lettuce, stock, milk and seasoning. Bring to the boil in the open pan, then lower the heat to a simmer.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 7 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

5.    To serve hot, return the soup to the open pressure cooker and reheat. To serve cold, chill in the refrigerator after it has cooled.

6.    Swirl a little cream into each serving and scatter over some chopped parsley.

WATERCRESS SOUP

Serves 4–67 minutes at High pressure

Make a meal out of this filling soup by serving it with fresh crusty bread.

1 bunch of watercress, washed and roughly chopped

25g/1 oz butter

1 onion, finely chopped

450g/1 lb main-crop potatoes, peeled and diced

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tbsp crème fraîche or soured cream

1.    Reserve a few watercress leaves for serving.

2.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onion and potatoes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the watercress, stock and seasoning.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 7 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

6.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker and bring just to the boil, adjusting the seasoning to taste.

7.    Top each serving with a spoonful of crème fraîche or soured cream and the reserved watercress leaves.

CELERY SOUP

Serves 410 minutes at High pressure

For the best flavour and colour, use the whole head of celery – stalks and leaves. Try serving the soup topped with tiny pieces of crisp-grilled bacon – delicious!

1 head of celery, chopped

25g/1 oz butter

1 onion, chopped

850ml/1½ pt chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

25g/1 oz cornflour

300ml/½ pt milk

1.    Reserve a few of the smallest celery leaves for serving.

2.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the celery and onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Stir in the stock and add seasoning.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 10 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

6.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker. Blend the cornflour with the milk to make a smooth mixture and stir in. Heat, stirring, until the soup comes to the boil and has thickened slightly.

7.    Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve topped with the reserved celery leaves.

BROAD BEAN AND BACON SOUP

Serves 45 minutes at High pressure

Broad beans and bacon complement each other wonderfully. Feel free to use fresh or frozen beans.

115g/4 oz streaky bacon, finely chopped

1 onion, chopped

450g/1 lb broad beans (weighed after shelling)

850ml/1½ pt chicken stock

300ml/½ pt milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Snipped chives, to garnish

1.    In the open pressure cooker, gently cook the bacon until the fat begins to run. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Add the broad beans, stock, milk and seasoning. Bring to the boil in the open pan, then lower the heat to a simmer.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

5.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker and adjust the seasoning to taste. Reheat and serve garnished with chives.

MINESTRONE

Serves 4–68 minutes at High pressure

The ingredients for this soup can be varied, depending on what is in season, but as you can see the ideal Minestrone contains a large variety of vegetables.

2 streaky bacon rashers, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

3 medium carrots, cut into small dice

¼ cabbage, finely shredded

4 celery sticks, thinly sliced

25g/1 oz peas (fresh or frozen)

1 tbsp tomato purée

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken stock

55g/2 oz macaroni or broken pieces of spaghetti

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.    In the open pressure cooker, gently cook the bacon until the fat begins to run. Add the oil and the vegetables and cook gently for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Add the tomato purée, seasoning, stock and pasta.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 8 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Adjust the seasoning and serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

MIXED VEGETABLE SOUP

Serves 4-610 minutes at High pressure

Served with crusty bread, this could be a main course soup. Vary your choice of vegetables according to the seasons.

25g/1 oz butter

2 medium onions, finely chopped

4 large carrots, cut into 1cm/½ in slices

2 large parsnips, cut into 1cm/½ in slices

4 large potatoes, cut into 1cm/½ in slices

2 medium leeks, thinly sliced

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken, beef or vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Freshly grated Cheddar cheese, to serve (optional)

1.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Add the remaining ingredients.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 10 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve just as it is or topped with grated cheese.

FRENCH ONION SOUP

Serves 44 minutes at High pressure

I like to float the cheese-topped bread on the surface of the soup. You may prefer to put it in the bottom of the serving bowl before ladling the soup over the top.

25g/1 oz butter

1 tbsp olive oil

450g/1 lb onions, thinly sliced

1 litre/1¾ pt beef stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated cheese, such as Gruyère or Cheddar

4 thick slices of French bread

1.    Heat the butter and oil in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onions for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until golden brown.

2.    Add the stock and seasoning.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 4 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Adjust the seasoning to taste.

6.    Pile the cheese on the bread and toast under the grill until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown.

7.    Float a slice of bread, cheese side uppermost, on each bowl of soup.

CARROT AND ORANGE SOUP

Serves 4–65 minutes at High pressure

This is a refreshingly light soup that’s ideal for serving as a starter.

25g/1 oz butter

1 onion, finely chopped

675g/1½ lb carrots, thinly sliced

850ml/1½ pt chicken or vegetable stock

Finely grated rind and juice of 2 oranges

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp sugar

Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

1.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Add the carrots, stock, grated orange rind, seasoning and sugar.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Stir in the orange juice, cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

6.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker and adjust the seasoning to taste. Reheat and serve sprinkled with parsley.

LENTIL SOUP

Serves 410 minutes at High pressure

There’s no need to soak the lentils before making this soup. Make it with red or green lentils. It’s delicious served with bits of crisp-fried bacon scattered over the top. A hunk of crusty bread makes it into a meal.

25g/1 oz butter

1 onion, chopped

115g/4 oz lentils

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken stock

2 tbsp tomato purée

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bay leaf (optional)

1.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

2.    Stir in the remaining ingredients.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 10 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Remove and discard the bay leaf, if used. Cool slightly then process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

5.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker and adjust the seasoning to taste. Reheat and serve.

SPLIT PEA AND BACON SOUP

Serves 4–615 minutes at High pressure

No need to soak the peas overnight – simply cover them with boiling water and leave to stand for 1 hour.

4 streaky bacon rashers, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

175g/6 oz dried split peas, soaked and drained as above

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken or vegetable stock

Sprig of fresh mint

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crème fraîche or thick Greek yoghurt, to serve

Finely chopped fresh mint, to serve

1.    In the open pressure cooker, gently cook the bacon until the fat begins to run. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

2.    Add the peas, stock, mint and seasoning. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Remove and discard the mint. Cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

6.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker, adjust the seasoning to taste and reheat.

7.    On to each serving, drop a spoonful of crème fraîche or yoghurt and a little chopped fresh mint.

FISH STOCK

 15 minutes at High pressure

There’s nothing quite like the delicate flavour of a homemade fish stock. Chill and use it the same day or freeze it for future use.

1 fish head and trimmings

1 onion, chopped

1 celery stick, sliced

6 peppercorns

A few parsley sprigs

Bouquet garni

1 tsp salt

1.    Wash the fish head and trimmings and put into the pressure cooker with the remaining ingredients. Pour over 1 litre/1¾ pt water.

2.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

3.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

4.    Strain the stock. It’s now ready to use.

MEDITERRANEAN FISH SOUP

Serves 45 minutes at High pressure

For the most delicious result, use at least two different types of fish. You could use any trimmings (skin and bones) to make your own fish stock (see page 35). Use a potato peeler to pare the strip of peel from a lemon.

675g/1½ lb fish such as whiting, plaice, cod or haddock (weighed after removing skin and bones)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 medium carrot, thinly sliced

200g can chopped tomatoes

850ml/1½ pt fish stock

150ml/¼ pt dry white wine

1 wide strip of lemon peel

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

1.    Cut the fish into 5cm/2 in chunks.

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the garlic and the carrot and cook gently for 1–2 minutes.

4.    Stir in the fish, tomatoes, stock, wine, lemon peel and seasoning.

5.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

6.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

7.    Remove and discard the lemon peel, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve sprinkled with parsley.

SCOTCH BROTH

Serves 420 minutes at High pressure

To make this into a main-course soup, use double the amount of lamb – it will cook in the same time.

225g/8 oz middle neck of lamb, weighed after trimming off excess fat

1 litre/1¾ pt lamb stock or water

55g/2 oz pearl barley

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, cut into small dice

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 small swede, cut into small dice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.    Cut from the bones as much lamb as you can and cut it into small pieces.

2.    Put the lamb and bones into the open pressure cooker and add the stock or water. Bring to the boil and, with a spoon, remove any scum from the surface.

3.    Stir in the remaining ingredients.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 20 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

6.    Remove the bones, scraping off any remaining meat.

7.    Stir this meat into the soup, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.

MULLIGATAWNY SOUP

Serves 45 minutes at High pressure

Make this soup as ‘hot’ as you like, depending on the type and quantity of curry powder you use. It’s delicious accompanied with warm naan bread.

25g/1 oz butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, cut into small dice

1 tbsp curry powder, or to taste

1 litre/1¾ pt beef stock

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp mango chutney

2 tsp cornflour

Chopped fresh coriander, to serve

1.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker and gently cook the onion and carrot, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Stir in the curry powder and continue to cook over a gentle heat, stirring, for 2–3 minutes.

3.    Gradually stir in the stock, tomato purée and chutney.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. Cool slightly and process, liquidize or sieve the soup to a purée.

6.    Return the soup to the open pressure cooker. Blend the cornflour with a little cold water to make a thin paste and stir in. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until slightly thickened.

7.    Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve sprinkled with coriander.

COCK-A-LEEKIE

Serves 47 minutes at High pressure

This soup, based on the traditional Scottish version, takes only minutes in the pressure cooker.

4 skinless chicken thighs

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken stock

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 medium leeks, cut into 2.5cm/1 in slices

4 ready-to-eat prunes, stones removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp lemon juice

1.    Put the chicken into the pressure cooker with the stock. Bring to the boil and, with a spoon, skim the surface.

2.    Stir in the remaining ingredients.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 7 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Lift out the chicken, cut the meat off the bones and chop into small pieces. Discard the bones.

6.    Return the chopped chicken to the soup, adjust the seasoning to taste and reheat before serving.

CHICKEN SOUP WITH HERB DUMPLINGS

Serves 610 minutes per 450g/1 lb at High pressure plus 15 minutes steaming

This is substantial enough to serve as a main course.

Soup:

1 small chicken

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken stock or water

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced

2 sticks celery, thinly sliced

Bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dumplings:

85g/3 oz self-raising flour

25g/1 oz shredded suet

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Milk to mix

1.    Weigh the chicken and put into the pressure cooker with the stock or water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. With a spoon, remove any scum from the surface. Stir in the remaining soup ingredients.

2.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 10 minutes per 450g/1 lb.

3.    Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Sieve the flour into a bowl and mix in the suet, seasoning and herbs. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Divide the mixture into twelve equal portions and, with lightly floured hands, shape them into balls.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Lift out the chicken, remove the meat from the bones and cut it into small pieces. Return the chicken to the pressure cooker. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

6.    Bring the soup to the boil in the open pressure cooker and arrange the dumplings on top. Fit the lid without the weight and without bringing to pressure, lower the heat until only a thin stream of steam escapes and steam for 15 minutes.

CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM SOUP

Serves 45 minutes at High pressure

This soup is best made with fresh or home-made chicken stock so as not to overwhelm the delicate flavour of the mushrooms. I like to use basmati rice for its delicate, perfumed flavour.

1 litre/1¾ pt chicken stock

1 heaped tbsp long grain rice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

115g/4 oz button mushrooms, sliced

Snipped chives, to garnish

1.    Put the stock, rice, seasoning and mushrooms into the pressure cooker.

2.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

3.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

4.    Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve, sprinkled with chives.

MEAT

A pressure cooker is a boon for cooking meat. Not only is the cooking time less than with conventional methods, but the super-heated steam penetrates the meat to make it really tender. Very little steam escapes during pressure cooking, so all the flavour is trapped inside.

Pressure cooking is a moist cooking method, which means that it’s great for boiling, braising, casseroling, stewing and pot roasting.

Here are some guidelines for adapting your own meat recipes to pressure cooking:

The trivet: This is not used when cooking stews or casseroles.

Pressure: Use High pressure and, in general, reduce pressure quickly after cooking (unless the recipe uses a large quantity of liquid or recommends otherwise).

Quantity: Quantities can be increased but make sure the pressure cooker is no more than two thirds full.

Time: This is influenced very much by the quality of the meat, its size and thickness. You will soon get a ‘feel’ for timing but use these recipes and those in your instruction book as a guide. When increasing quantities for stews or casseroles, there is no need to increase the cooking time.

Thickening: Meat may be tossed in a tablespoon of seasoned flour before cooking to give a slightly thickened gravy, but if really thick stews are preferred, add extra thickening after pressure cooking, using flour or cornflour blended to a smooth paste with a little liquid. Too much thickening before cooking would restrict the amount of steam available for circulation, with the risk that food could stick to the base.

Liquid: Remember that there is less evaporation compared with oven or hob cooking. Consequently your adapted recipes won’t need more than the recommended minimum of liquid. As a general rule, this is 300ml/½ pt for the first 20 minutes and 150ml/¼ pt for each extra 15 minutes cooking (check with your instruction book too).

Pot roasting: When choosing a joint of meat for pot roasting, make sure that it will fit inside your pressure cooker without blocking any of the air vents. Joints over 1.35kg (3 lb) are not really suitable for pressure cooking as the outside will over-cook before the centre is done. Follow the general method for Pot Roast, and use the following table as a guide to times and liquid.

Freezing

When cooking in bulk for the freezer, bear in mind the following points:

Garlic reduces the storage time to 1 month, so if you plan to freeze the food for longer, simply omit the garlic.

Do not thicken before freezing. It is best done after reheating, using cornflour blended to a smooth paste with a little liquid.

Freeze in single or double portions for convenience.

If food is to be reheated from frozen in the pressure cooker, freeze it in shallow containers of a size that will fit inside the pressure cooker. This helps reduce the reheating time, which would be much greater were the food frozen in one large square block.

To reheat, put 150ml/¼ pt water in the pressure cooker, without the trivet. Remove the portions from their containers and place in the water. Fit the lid and bring to pressure. The reheating time will depend on the size of the portion but, as a general rule, cook for 20 minutes at High pressure. Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature. If wished, thicken before serving. If foil containers are used to contain the frozen food, these may be stood on the trivet over 300ml½ pt water and pressure cooked for 20 minutes at High pressure.

BEEF WITH VEGETABLES

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Use this recipe as the basis for a delicious stew, varying the meat and vegetables according to personal preference and seasonal availability.

675g/1½ lb lean stewing steak, cut into cubes

25g/1 oz flour

2 tbsp oil

2 medium onions, chopped

225g/8 oz carrots, sliced

450g/1 lb potatoes, thickly sliced

2 medium parsnips, sliced

2 medium leeks, sliced

600ml/1 pt beef or vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp parsley, chopped for garnish

1.    Toss the steak in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

4.    Add the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

5.    Remove the bay leaf, adjust the seasoning to taste and serve garnished with parsley.

BEEF GOULASH

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Based on one of Hungary’s best-known dishes, this version is a rich stew rather than a soup.

675g/1½ lb lean stewing steak, cut into cubes

25g/1 oz flour

2 tbsp oil

2 medium onions, chopped

3 tbsp paprika pepper

300ml/½ pt beef stock

2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1.    Toss the steak in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown.

3.    Add the steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

4.    Add the paprika pepper and cook on a low heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomato purée, herbs, bay leaf and salt.

5.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

6.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

7.    Remove the bay leaf before serving and adjust the seasoning to taste.

CURRIED BEEF

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Serve this with freshly cooked basmati rice, poppadums and chutneys.

675g/1½ lb lean stewing steak, cut into cubes

25g/1 oz flour

2 tbsp oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 celery stalk, sliced

1 tbsp curry powder

300ml/½ pt beef stock

1 large eating apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 heaped tbsp chutney, such as mango

5g/1 oz sultanas

Salt

1.    Toss the steak in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the onion, garlic and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

4.    Add the curry powder and cook on a low heat, stirring, for 1 minute.

5.    Stir in the remaining ingredients.

6.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

7.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

8.    Adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

BEEF IN BROWN ALE

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Buttered tagliatelle makes a great accompaniment here. You could make this into Beef Carbonnade by topping the cooked dish with some French bread slices, toasted on the upper side and spread with extra French mustard on the underside.

675g/1½ lb lean stewing steak, cut into cubes

25g/1 oz flour

25g/1 oz butter

2 lean streaky bacon rashers, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

300ml/½ pt brown ale

150ml/¼ pt beef stock

1 tbsp French mustard

2 tsp sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bouquet garni

1.    Toss the steak in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker, add the bacon and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the steak and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

4.    Add the beer, stock, mustard, sugar, seasoning and bouquet garni.

5.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

6.    Remove the bouquet garni and adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

STEAK AND KIDNEY PUDDING

Serves 4–6Filling: 15 minutes at High pressure Pudding: 20 minutes steaming, then 30 minutes at Low pressure

This great old-fashioned savoury pudding is perfect for pressure cooking. It takes less than half the conventional (steaming) time.

Filling:

675g/1½ lb lean stewing steak, cut into cubes

115g/4 oz lamb or ox kidney, sliced

25g/1 oz flour

2 tbsp oil

1 medium onion, chopped

225g/8 oz mushrooms, thickly sliced if large

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

300ml/½ pt beef stock or Guinness

Suet pastry:

225g/8 oz self-raising flour

½ tsp salt

115g/4 oz shredded suet

1.    Toss the steak and kidney in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the steak mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

4.    Stir in the mushrooms, seasoning and stock or Guinness.

5.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

6.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water. Turn into a container and leave to cool while preparing the pastry.

7.    Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and stir in the suet. With a flat-blade knife, gradually stir in about 150ml/¼ pt cold water, using sufficient to make a soft, scone-like dough.

8.    Reserve one third of the dough for the lid and roll the remaining dough into a circle, large enough to line a 1 litre/1¾ pt pudding basin. Grease the basin and line it with the pastry.

9.    Using a slotted spoon, fill the basin with the steak mixture to within 2.5cm/1″ of the top, adding 3 tbsp of the gravy (reserve the remainder for serving separately).

10.  Roll out the reserved pastry to make a lid, moisten the edges and crimp firmly into position, leaving a space up to the rim of the basin to allow the pastry to rise.

11.  Cover securely with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper or a single layer of foil. Put the trivet and 1 litre/1¾ pt water into the cleaned pressure cooker. Stand the basin on the trivet.

12.  Fit the lid without the weight and without bringing to pressure and steam for 20 minutes on a gentle heat.

13.  Fit the lid, bring to Low pressure and cook for 30 minutes.

14.  Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

15.  Serve the pudding with the reheated gravy.

Freezer note: The cooked pudding can be frozen. To defrost and reheat it, cook for 40 minutes at Low pressure using 1 litre/1¾ pt water.

BOLOGNESE SAUCE

Serves 410 minutes at High pressure

A classic sauce to serve with spaghetti, this is one of my favourite recipes for bulk cooking – it is so useful as the basis for many other dishes, like lasagne, stuffed peppers or cottage pie.

2 tbsp olive oil

2 streaky bacon rashers, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

675g/1½ lb lean minced beef

400g can chopped tomatoes

150ml/¼ pt beef or vegetable stock

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

Bay leaf

1.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the bacon, onion, garlic and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

2.    Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally until browned.

3.    Stir in the remaining ingredients.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 10 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

6.    Remove the bay leaf and adjust the seasoning to taste-before serving.

BEEF POT ROAST

Serves 4–630 minutes at High pressure

Relish the mellow flavours that normally develop with long slow cooking – in just half an hour! Sometimes, I like to stir a couple of tablespoons of crème fraîche into the gravy before serving.

2 tbsp oil

1kg/2¼ lb rolled lean beef, such as brisket

1 onion, sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

450g/1 lb potatoes, cut into large cubes

8 small carrots

4 small parsnips

600ml/1 pt stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp tomato purée

1.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the beef and cook over high heat, turning frequently, until browned all over. Lift out.

2.    Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Stir in the remaining ingredients and stand the beef on top.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 30 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

6.    Lift out the beef and place on a large warmed serving dish. Arrange the vegetables around the beef and serve the gravy separately.

BARBECUE-STYLE SPARE RIBS

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Choose short ribs if you can, or ask your butcher to cut them for you. I like to serve them with freshly cooked rice and a dressed green salad.

Sauce:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp wine vinegar

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dry mustard powder

½ tsp salt

Few drops of hot chilli sauce

1 tbsp oil

1-1.5kg/2¼-3¼ lb pork spare ribs

1.    Put the sauce ingredients into a processor or blender and purée until smooth.

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the ribs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned. Lift out and drain off any fat.

3.    Return the spare ribs to the pan and pour the sauce over.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

SWEET AND SOUR PORK

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

A favourite with children and adults alike, Sweet and Sour Pork is lovely served on a bed of freshly cooked rice.

2 tbsp oil

675g/1½ lb lean pork, cut into cubes

340g can pineapple chunks in syrup

4 tbsp wine vinegar

85g/3 oz brown sugar

1 tbsp soy sauce

½ tsp salt

1 medium onion, finely sliced

1 green pepper, seeds removed and finely sliced

2 tbsp cornflour

1.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally until browned.

2.    Drain the pineapple, reserving the syrup. Add sufficient water to the syrup to make 300ml/½ pt and pour over the pork. Add the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt, onion and pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

5.    Mix the cornflour with 3 tbsp cold water to make a smooth paste. Stir into the pork with the pineapple chunks. Bring to the boil, stirring, until thickened.

PORK WITH LEMON AND OLIVES

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Accompany this dish with some wide ribbon pasta. A salad of sliced tomatoes and red onion would be good too.

2 tbsp oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

675g/1½ lb lean pork, cut into cubes

300ml/½ pt dry white wine

Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

¼ tsp dried tarragon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 12 pitted black olives

1.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened but not browned

2.    Add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

3.    Stir in the remaining ingredients except the olives.

4.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

6.    Add the olives and adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

BACON AND BEANS

Serves 425 minutes at High pressure

Try serving this with hot garlic bread.

225g/8 oz dried haricot beans

25g/1 oz butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped

675g/1½ lb lean bacon joint, cut into cubes

400g can tomatoes

150ml/¼ pt bacon or chicken stock

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp dry mustard powder

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.    Put the beans in a deep bowl and cover with 600ml/1 pt boiling water. Leave to soak for 1 hour.

2.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning only lightly with salt. Drain the beans and stir in.

4.    Fit the lid, slowly bring to High pressure and cook for 25 minutes.

5.    Reduce pressure quickly in cold water. Adjust the seasoning to taste before serving.

BOILED BACON

 12 minutes per 450g/1 lb at High pressure

Pressure cooking is ideal for joints of bacon. The vegetables, herbs and spices add extra flavour.

1 bacon joint

2 carrots, cut into chunks

2 celery sticks, broken in half

1 bay leaf

Sprig of fresh herb, such as thyme, rosemary or sage

6 black peppercorns

3 whole cloves

55g/2 oz toasted breadcrumbs (optional)

1.    Weigh the meat and calculate the cooking time Put in the open pressure cooker, without the trivet.

Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Remove the bacon, discard the water and rinse the pan.

2.    Return the meat to the pan and add the cooking water (see table, page 44), vegetables, herbs and spices.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 12 minutes per 450g/1 lb.

4.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

5.    Lift the meat on to a warmed serving dish (strain the cooking liquid and reserve for use as stock).

6.    Either serve hot or leave to cool, remove the skin and coat with the toasted breadcrumbs, if using.

BACON IN CIDER

Serves 4–630 minutes at High pressure

A potato or root vegetable mash goes well with this to soak up the delicious sauce. I like to serve a green vegetable too.

1kg/2¼ lb lean bacon joint

425ml/¾ pt cider

1 medium onion, sliced

2 celery sticks, sliced

6 black peppercorns

A few fresh sage leaves or a pinch of dried sage

2 tbsp cornflour

1.    Put the meat in the open pressure cooker, without the trivet. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Remove the bacon, discard the water and rinse the pan.

Pressure Cooking Properly Explained


2.    Return the bacon to the pan and add the cider, onion, celery, peppercorns and sage.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 30 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

5.    Lift the bacon on to a warmed serving dish. Remove the peppercorns. Mix the cornflour with 3 tbsp cold water to make a smooth paste and stir into the sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, until thickened.

6.    Spoon some of the sauce over the bacon and serve the remainder separately.

DEVON LAMB AND POTATO PIE

Serves 413 minutes at High pressure

This is comfort food that is meant for serving straight from the pressure cooker on to ready-waiting plates.

25g/1 oz butter

4 large, lean lamb chops

1 large onion, finely chopped

1kg/2¼ lb potatoes, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cooking apples, peeled and sliced

2 tsp brown sugar

300ml/½ pt dry cider or apple juice

Finely chopped fresh parsley, to serve

1.    Melt the butter in the open pressure cooker, add the chops and quickly brown on both sides. Lift out.

2.    Arrange the onion in a layer in the base of the pan. Cover with half the potatoes and season. Cover with the apple, sprinkle with the sugar and top with the remaining potatoes. Lay the chops on top, season and pour the cider over.

3.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 13 minutes.

4.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

5.    Serve sprinkled with parsley.

LANCASHIRE HOTPOT

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Another warming dish that’s absolutely full of flavour. Serve it in shallow bowls with crusty bread and a green salad.

1kg/2¼ lb potatoes, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, sliced

225g/8 oz carrots, sliced

2 celery sticks, sliced

675g/1½ lb lean stewing lamb, such as neck, cut into cubes

300ml/½ pt lamb or vegetable stock

Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, to serve

1.    Arrange half the potatoes in the base of the pressure cooker, without the trivet. Season and cover with the onion, carrots

and celery. Arrange the lamb on top. Cover with the remaining potatoes. Season and pour over the stock.

2.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

3.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

4.    Serve sprinkled with fresh herbs.

LAMB WITH CINNAMON AND APRICOTS

Serves 415 minutes at High pressure

Couscous makes the ideal accompaniment for this dish – and it’s quick to prepare too.

675g/1½ lb lean boned leg of lamb, cut into cubes

1 tbsp flour

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

300ml/½ pt lamb or vegetable stock

2 tbsp tomato purée

2 tsp ground cinnamon

115g/4 oz dried apricots

1 tsp sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

1.    Toss the lamb in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

3.    Add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

4.    Stir in the stock, tomato purée, cinnamon, apricots, sugar and seasoning.

5.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 15 minutes.

6.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

7.    Serve with the toasted pine nuts sprinkled over.

LIVER AND ONIONS

Serves 45 minutes at High pressure

The quickest dish of melt-in-the mouth liver and onions you’ll ever make!

675g/1½ lb lamb’s liver, sliced

25g/1 oz flour

2 tbsp oil

4 streaky bacon rashers, halved crossways

3 medium onions, sliced

300ml/½ pt chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.    Toss the liver in the flour (this is easy to do in a freezer bag).

2.    Heat the oil in the open pressure cooker, add the bacon and fry until crisp. Lift out and keep warm.

3.    Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

4.    Add the liver and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

5.    Stir in the stock and seasoning.

6.    Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 5 minutes.

7.    Reduce the pressure quickly in cold water.

8.    Serve topped with the crisp bacon.

COUNTRY LIVER PÂTÉ

Serves 4–630 minutes at High pressure

Serve as a starter or snack, with crusty bread and salad.

6 lean streaky bacon rashers, rinds removed

225g/8 oz pig’s liver, sliced

115g/4 oz pork sausage meat

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

85g/3 oz fresh breadcrumbs

½ tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp dried sage

1 medium egg, beaten

1 tbsp sherry or brandy

1.    Using the back of a knife, stretch the bacon and use it to line a small loaf tin, allowing it to fall loosely over the sides.

2.    In a processor or blender, whizz all the remaining ingredients together. (Alternatively, mince the liver finely and mix thoroughly with the remaining ingredients.)

3.    Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and fold the ends of the bacon over the pâté. Cover securely with greased foil.

4.    Put 600ml/1 pt water into the pressure cooker and add the trivet. Stand the loaf tin on the trivet. Fit the lid, bring to High pressure and cook for 30 minutes.

5.    Reduce the pressure slowly at room temperature.

6.    Remove the tin from the pressure cooker, loosen the foil slightly, top with a heavy weight and leave until cold. Turn out and serve.

source : Pressure Cooking Properly Explained : Save time and money with your pressure cooker by Page, Dianne