Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful

Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh, and Flavorful

by Laura D.A. Pazzaglia


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Laura Pazzaglia’s Hip Pressure Cooking offers over 200 surefire recipes designed to work in the Instant Pot, electric pressure cookers, multi-cookers with pressure programs, and stove top pressure cookers, too! In fact, the recipes were tested across multiple pressure cookers - Instant Pot, Fagor, WMF and Kuhn Rikon – to ensure delicious results no matter what you have in your kitchen.

That’s right, the once-lowly and maligned pressure cooker is making a comeback! This relic of your grandparents' kitchen is not only improved and safer than ever before, but it saves time, creates more flavor, and conserves energy. Laura Pazzaglia wasn't thinking of all this when she tried pressure cooking for the first time, but after watching a friend make dinner in 10 minutes, Pazzaglia knew she had found the solution to her time-crunched life. In fact, she cooked so much she began offering recipes and advice on a website she created. At the time, pressure cooking recipes didn't emphasize aesthetics; while the food might be delicious, it was often unappealing in presentation. But Pazzaglia not only figured out how to make pressure cooked food appealing, she gained a large following for her recipes and techniques while doing it!

A culmination of Pazzaglia’s experience, Hip Pressure Cooking offers everything from tasty recipes featuring fresh ingredients to special cooking techniques perfected over the years to basic tips on operating your pressure cooker where she walks you through every step of the process. The secret is out—and now you too can discover the potential of this super appliance with this revolutionary guide to cooking with pressure!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250026378
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 600,632
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

LAURA PAZZAGLIA picked up her first pressure cooker after seeing a friend make dinner in ten minutes flat. She quickly realized that the flavor of pressure cooked food is like tasting food in high definition! Today Laura is considered one of the world's top experts. She lives in Italy, near Rome, and travels frequently to the U.S. and Europe to share her passion for pressure cooking.

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The Basics of Pressure Cooking

Whether you own a pressure cooker or plan to purchase your first one, before you choose a recipe or shop for ingredients or take things out of your refrigerator, take a few minutes to get up to speed on what these machines do for your cooking, how they work, and the accessories that help you make the best use of them. And get hip, don't skip — this chapter takes you on a test run of your cooker and explains how the recipes that follow this section address the requirements of different types of cookers.

Benefits of Pressure Cooking

The pressure cooker is one of the few home cooking appliances that can claim to save time, conserve energy, lighten your workload, and preserve flavor — and have all of these claims be true!

Pressure Cooking Saves Time

Cooking time can be reduced 60 to 90 percent (depending on the ingredient). This is possible because of the higher temperatures and wet cooking environment. A vegetable stock can be ready in 5 minutes, roasts in 30, legumes (dried beans) in 15, and desserts in just 20 minutes — instead of an hour or more!

Higher temperatures hasten cooking. If you want to cook something faster in the oven, what do you do? You raise the temperature. The pressure cooker does this too — raising the internal temperature from 212°F (which is the highest that can be obtained by boiling food in a conventional pot at maximum heat) to 250°F.

Water is a better conductor of heat than air. If you were to stick your hand into a pot of water at just 120°F you could receive a bad burn (don't try this), but stick it in the oven at 400°F (don't try this, either) and it just feels uncomfortably hot without producing a nasty burn. Similarly, wet cooking methods (boiling, braising, and steaming) transfer heat more efficiently to food than dry cooking methods (baking, roasting, or broiling).

Pressure Cooking Preserves Vitamins and Flavor

Pressure cooking can preserve 90 to 95 percent of an ingredient's vitamins; in comparison, steaming without pressure preserves 75 to 90 percent and boiling preserves 40 to 65 percent of these nutrients.

Water-, air-, and light-soluble vitamins are all preserved during pressure cooking. Pressure cooking requires very little liquid compared to boiling and steaming without pressure, so foods retain a larger portion of their water-soluble vitamins. The speed of pressure cooking is another factor in vitamin retention. Because the heat is so high, most vegetables and fruits are flash-cooked and thus retain most of their vitamins, minerals, color, and flavor — much of which would be lost if the food were cooked two to three times as long at a lower temperature, as in conventional cooking.

Pressure Cooking Conserves Water and Energy

Because a pressure cooker is tightly sealed when in use, there is almost no evaporation of whatever liquid it holds. When boiling in an uncovered pot, a cup or more of liquid is lost to evaporation in just 10 minutes, but when boiling in a pressure cooker for the same time, only a tablespoon is lost! Less evaporation translates into recipes that require less water. Consider this: When you boil 5 quarts of water to make pasta conventionally, all that water has to be heated, kept boiling, and then thrown down the drain when it's time to drain the pasta. Pressure cook pasta and you need only about 2 cups of water — most of which is absorbed by the pasta during pressure cooking, so there's no water to drain and no colander to wash — and it takes a lot less time to bring 2 cups of water to a boil, as well!

Once the pressure cooker has reached pressure (more about this later), it needs only a low or very low flame to keep the contents boiling. Add to this the very much faster cooking time described earlier: The resulting energy use is 70 to 90 percent less than that needed for conventional cooking. Yes, that's the same savings that energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs offer over incandescent bulbs! Plus, the pressure cooker's construction — a nice heavy base and thick sides — allows it to absorb heat that can be used to continue the cooking for a while without using any additional energy at all! (see Natural Release).

Pressure Cooking Cleanup Is Easy

One thing I really like about pressure cooking is that it is so clean. No more bubbling juices from oven roasts that result in an oven that requires cleaning. No splatter from boiling tomato sauces on the cooktop and backsplash — just the cooker itself to wash.

Heat Source: Stovetop or Electric Pressure Cooker?

Depending on their design, pressure cookers get their heat either from the stove burner — regulated by the cook — or from an internal electric element — regulated by the machine according to options chosen by the cook. Each type has advantages and the decision for whether to purchase a stovetop or electric pressure cooker is really up to the individual cook.

Stovetop pressure cookers have a steeper learning curve, as the cook needs to learn how to regulate the burner heat to maintain pressure: Leave the heat too hot, and the cooker goes into "over-pressure," which causes it to continue venting and thus evaporate most of the liquid, which in turn will eventually cause the contents to burn. Turn the heat too low and the cooker loses pressure and undercooks the contents. The trial period while you learn to recognize the "sweet spot" that maintains the pressure can make for a frustrating start to a promising pressure cooking partnership. However, once you surmount this initial hump (usually after several trials) pressure cooking with a stovetop pressure cooker becomes relatively easy.

Electric pressure cookers regulate heat automatically, so the cook need only select a cooking program (or pressure cooking time) and press "start." Some electric cookers have advanced features that also turn them into rice cookers and slow cookers.

The difference between the two pressure cooker types becomes more evident when digging into the details — electric pressure cookers often do not meet the conventional pressure standard (13 to 15 psi) and, worse, they are all over the map in their operating pressure, which may range from 9 to 11 psi. Also, durability is an issue: Though there are some good brands there are also bad, flimsy cookers which stop working in less than three years. Additionally, the mechanics of electric pressure cookers (a heating element repeatedly turning on and off as opposed to a constant low flame) are not ideal for some advanced hip pressure cooking techniques (such as cooking pasta and sauce together); in fact, recipes cooked with these techniques are likely to end up scorched in an electric cooker. This is because electric pressure cookers generally require about 2 cups of liquid to maintain pressure while many stovetop cookers need 1 cup or less (check your manual). This difference is fine for most recipes, but that extra cup of liquid added to an electric pressure cooker (plus the liquids released by the foods themselves) can turn a braise into a stew or soup. However, using less liquid (such as the amount used for a stovetop cooker) can result in a scorched dish in an electric cooker.

Though electric pressure cookers can reach pressure at the same speed as stovetop models, the often-used Natural Release opening method takes longer (see here–here to learn about the release methods). This is both because the heating element cannot be removed and the double-walled construction (an outer plastic shell with a removable inner metal cooking pot) acts as a thermos, conserving a fair amount of heat.

The bottom line: Electric and stovetop pressure cookers have similar time-saving, vitamin-conserving, and energy-saving benefits compared to cooking without pressure. The choice between the convenience of the electric models and the fine control possible with the stovetop models is really a matter of individual preference.

How Big Is It, Anyway?!?

Although the volume of 1 liter is not exactly equal to 1 quart, European manufacturers often label their pressure cookers with the same volume in the two systems so as not to confuse consumers. It's a lot easier to describe the volume as 6L/6qt than as 6L/6.34qts. American-manufactured, 6-quart pressure cookers really hold 6 quarts while European-manufactured pressure cookers labeled that way actually hold 6.34 quarts. So keep this in mind when comparing prices and sizes.

Pressure Cooker Shapes and Sizes

Whether you're new to pressure cooking or looking to upgrade or expand your pressure cooker collection, you have quite a few options for which cooker to choose and use. Especially among stovetop models, there are assorted sizes and shapes, each designed for slightly different use; options among electric models are limited almost entirely to stockpot styles. Plus there are many brands, of both U.S. and European manufacture. All of the recipes in this book can be made with the most common, stockpot-type pressure cooker, but if it happens that another type is particularly suitable, this is mentioned in the recipe headnote.

The various shapes and sizes are suitable for different quantities of ingredients and different techniques, too. Some have one long handle, called a helper handle, while others may have two short handles. Here are the most common and their uses.

Pressure Pan

Small Pressure Pan (1 to 2 quarts). This small, shallow pressure cooker reaches pressure faster than the larger styles but, of course, it holds less food. It is a good size for making sauces and can cook about ½ cup of dry beans or 1 cup of dry rice or almost 3 cups of soup (about 2 servings). This pan is often included as part of a set with a pressure stockpot.

Large Pressure Pan (3 to 4 quarts). A wide, very shallow pressure cooker, this is great for cooking small amounts of meat because its large interior surface means there is more direct contact between ingredients and heat. This size can cook about 1 cup of dry beans or 2 cups of dry rice or almost 8 cups of soup (about 4 servings) — though I don't recommend pressure cooking soup in this shape pressure cooker.

Pressure Braiser

Pressure Braiser (5 to 8 quarts). A wide, medium-depth pressure cooker that is also known as a large pressure pan, pressure fry pan, or pressure sauté pan. Because the broad interior surface width offers a lot of direct contact between ingredients and heat, this pressure cooker is ideal for braising vegetables and larger cuts of meat. Another plus for this width: after you've pressure cooked your food, you can use the pan, uncovered, to quickly reduce the cooking liquid. In comparison to a pressure stockpot, it is very easy to manipulate the contents in a braiser because of its lower sides. This size can cook about 2 cups of dry beans or 3 cups of dry rice or almost 12 cups of soup (6 to 8 servings).

Pressure Stockpot

Pressure Stockpot (6 to 8 quarts). The 6-quart stockpot is the size I recommend most for beginners. It's great for stews, soups, chili, etc. Any of the models in this range is a manageable size, often with a dishwasher-safe base. Accessories such as a steamer basket can easily fit in this cooker and be stacked several deep. This size can cook about 3 cups of dry beans or 4 cups of dry rice or almost 16 cups of soup (6 to 8 servings).

Hip Purchasing Recommendations

My advice to anyone who is just starting out pressure cooking is to go with a 6-quart/liter or 8-quart/liter stockpot-type pressure cooker. This size can accommodate meals for 2 to 8 people and it has the vertical space to handle some of the advanced pressure cooking techniques in this book (one-pot meals, steaming, and bain-marie). Some manufacturers offer a set that pairs a single pressure cooking lid with both a stockpot base and a small pressure pan base; I recommend going for such a set if your budget can stretch that far.

Additionally, choose a model that features at least two pressure levels (high and low — sometimes indicated with numbers) as well as the newer spring valve, which makes almost no noise during operation.

As more and more of your cooking moves to the pressure cooker, and for advanced pressure cooks, I recommend adding a second (or third if you have a set) pressure cooker. Investing in a shallow wide pressure cooker with a larger cooking surface, such as a braiser, facilitates preparation of recipes that start off with a sauté or browning step.

The Hip Pressure Cooking website (www.hippressurecooking.com) includes detailed reviews of the latest pressure cooker models. Be sure to visit!

Large Pressure Stockpot (10 quarts or larger). Because of their larger size, these cookers take much longer to reach pressure and, since the food is cooking while this is underway, recipes need slight time adjustments. The large size of these cookers makes them bulky to store and difficult to wash — they may not fit under the faucet, or even in the sink, much less in a dishwasher! Besides, they're awfully heavy.

These large stockpot cookers are often labeled as pressure cooker/canners by their manufacturer. They accommodate four 1-quart canning jars and satisfy the USDA recommended processing criteria, which were not tested on any cookers smaller than this.

Pressure Cooker Accessories

The addition of a few simple accessories — whether supplied by the manufacturer, or cobbled together from items found in your kitchen — can expand the repertoire of pressure cooking techniques, allowing you to create more diverse recipes. In the descriptions that follow, you can see that each accessory is represented by an icon; when you read the recipes, these icons will quickly clue you to which accessories you'll need — and in what sequence to insert them into the cooker.

Steamer Basket

A steamer basket is used to hold food you want to cook by steam in the cooker. It should be made of heat-proof material and have feet so the food is not submerged in the cooking liquid. For pressure cookers with a nonstick coated interior, purchase a silicone steamer basket if the manufacturer did not supply one, to ensure that the feet do not damage the coating.

For some recipes you may need more than one steamer basket, especially when using "foil packets" or (steam juicing ). You can stack them! Many of today's pressure cookers come with a steamer basket, but often it lacks feet. When this is the case, the manufacturer also supplies a trivet to elevate the basket above the liquid. For simplicity, when this book calls for a "steamer basket," it is assumed you'll use the supplied trivet if your basket does not have feet (and if the icons don't show a trivet).

Besides supporting a steamer basket, a trivet can be used to keep items like bowls or pans from touching the bottom of the pressure cooker. They can also be used to lift a roast, chicken, or similar food off the bottom of the cooker and out of the cooking liquid. Similarly, you can set a trivet in a sauce at the bottom of the cooker, place a bowl containing another food on the trivet, and cook both items at once. If your cooker did not come with a steamer basket and trivet, you can use any steamer basket that fits in the cooker to elevate a roast or bowl.

Foil Sling

Lowering a bowl of ingredients into a pressure cooker with your hands isn't so easy and lifting it out of the hot steamy pot after cooking is even trickier. Containers designed for use in a pressure cooker generally have handles, but when using those that don't, a sling fashioned from aluminum foil is invaluable. These slings are easy to make: Just tear off a long piece of heavy-duty foil (long enough to cradle your bowl and extend above it by several inches on each side) and then fold it vertically in thirds to make a strong strap that's wide enough to support a bowl.

To use the sling, simply center the bowl on it and grasp an end in each hand, close to the bowl. Lift the sling to raise the bowl and transfer it to the cooker. Fold the foil handles down. Cook the food; then, when the cooker is open, fold up the handles again and gently lift out the bowl. A firm grip near the edge of the bowl ensures that everything moves together.

Heat-proof Bowl

A heat-proof bowl or similar container can be used for cooking foods that can't be placed directly in a steamer basket because they are either too fine or contain liquid, such as a batter or custard. The bowl will be placed on the steamer basket for cooking, so it will sit above the cooking liquid and not be in contact with the bottom of the cooker. Ideally, this bowl will have handles so it can easily be lifted in and out of the cooker, but any heat-proof bowl that fits in the pressure cooker without touching the sides can be used in conjunction with a foil sling. This includes bowls made of Pyrex, heat-proof glass, ceramic, stainless steel, aluminum, and silicone. A straight-sided, flat-bottomed bowl (think soufflé mold) will hold the most food in the least amount of space.


Excerpted from "Hip Pressure Cooking"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Laura D. A. Pazzaglia.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


The Basics of Pressure Cooking

Soups and Stocks



Dried Beans and Legumes

Pasta and Sauces


Meat and Poultry

Fish and Seafood

One-Pot Meals


Preserves and Juicing

Appendix: Pressure Cooking Timetables



Customer Reviews