Long ago (about six months ago), I once feared the pressure cooker and would corral my kids right out of the kitchen when I cooked with it, but now I’m pulling that sucker out several times a week and loving how easy it makes my life. It’s now the only way I cook beans, lentils, most braised meats, red sauces, and stock. It consistently produces tender meat and I love how easily and quickly it cooks beans and lentils. Quick is a little bit of a misnomer when it comes to a pressure cooker because you first have to bring the pot to pressure, but it typically shaves an hour, sometimes many, off of braise time for a meat stew or simmer time when you’re making stock, for instance. It’s a great weekend warrior when you want to make Sunday dinner in half the time and it really saves the day on the weekdays when quick and easy is the name of the game. Best part, it’s one-pot cooking, as in one pot to clean! It’s a great gift for working parents, busy people, adventurous cooks, budget-minded individuals, soup eaters, bean lovers, and those with kids.
Nowadays, there are lots of options when it comes to pressure cooking. I have one of the cheaper options, a T-Fal Pressure Cooker, and this sucker can cook. This might be the most fear-inducing option because it cooks on the stove and when you release the pressure there’s a lot of noise and steam. Get over it and then you’ll see why it’s such a wonder pot. I’ve only ever used the T-Fal pressure cooker, but there are several other options that are pricier but more advanced. Cuisinart has an electric pressure cooker that gets good reviews. But if money isn’t an issue, then an instant pot is the way to go. An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, rice maker, steamer, and yogurt maker, among others. It’s on my wishlist.
For a cool present, you could fill the pressure cooker/instant pot with ingredients and a handwritten recipe a la Blue Apron. In this day and age of electronics handwritten is practically a thing of the past but it’s the personal touches that count (handwritten recipes can be framed and cherished, I’m just saying). Here are some recipe ideas: Easy Pressure Cooker Pot Roast, Super Easy BBQ Country Ribs, Quick Red Sauce, Cajun Lentil and Kielbasa Stew, Apple Chutney Redux, Indian Lentil Curry, Thai Massaman Lentil Curry, Lentil and Black Bean Chili, and Lentil Sloppy Joe’s.
Don’t forget to use Honey (a FREE Google plug-in) that tries to save you money. Thanks, Honey!
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