The pressure cooker diaries: Red beans and rice

May 20, 2013

Red Beans and Rice

Something I’ve had my eye on for quite a while now is a pressure cooker. Yes, like most of us, my mom and grandmothers had an ancient version that sits on the stove top, sputtered around with this funny metal thing on top that spouted steam, and quite frankly sounds like a scary pain in the rear to use with all the caution needed to ensure it doesn’t explode whatever food you’re cooking all over the kitchen, the hot stove, you, guests, etc. So while I was intrigued by being able to shave hours of time off my cooking, I still couldn’t quite pull the trigger on buying such a monstrosity.

Then I discovered the electric versions. Still, I couldn’t pull the trigger. Another large item that does just one thing. One thing maybe well… I wasn’t sure. Since it wasn’t like my mom’s, and like my grandmothers’, maybe it didn’t quite work as well. So I continued to put off the purchase.

Then, then I found out there were units that pressure cooked and slow cooked. A slow cooker is another item that I have put off buying, mainly because I’m super-paranoid about the idea of leaving food cooking while not at home (i.e. the way slow cookers are marketed – “Come home to a heavenly meal!”). But I must admit, occasionally I think I want one, and that I should quit being so paranoid. At the least it might be handy on those work-from-home days or the weekends when I’m around. Though, really, wouldn’t my dutch oven suffice.

I digress. I settled on a pressure cooker – the Nesco PC6-25P 6-quart electric programmable pressure cooker (isn’t that a mouthful?). I unearthed it from its box, cleaned it up, then tried to decide what on earth I should make that needed to be cooked quickly. My initial foray was a pulled pork, which did work out quite well, if not missing a bit of the smokiness I would expect. Then I moved onward and upward to beans. How I hate soaking beans the night before! This would change everything for me. Especially since the manual said the beans would cook in 5 to 7 minutes. (more…)

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