The follow-up to Cooking Under Pressure, the classic and bestselling book on the topic, this is Lorna Sass's first new pressure-cooker cookbook in nine years. These seventy-five delicious recipes, perfect for the single person or the family on the go, can be prepared in the pressure cooker in one-third the normal time or less. Many of the recipes can be prepared in less than ten minutes, including Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage -- ready in less than eight minutes -- and even a few desserts. These recipes are also low in fat, since cooking under pressure locks in the flavor and only minimal use of butter and oil is required.
The time is right for a new pressure cooker cookbook -- pressure cookers are selling better than ever. And today's pressure cookers are safer than ever -- fears in the past about the safety of jiggle-top cookers are no more with these safe new cookers, this cookbook will be essential for anyone who has ever thought, "How can I get a delicious meal on the table, fast?"
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About the Author
Lorna Sass, Ph.D., is a culinary historian and a James Beard Award-winning author of many highly acclaimed cookbooks, including Pressure Perfect, The Pressured Cook, and Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure. She has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Prevention, Metropolitan Home, and Woman's Day, among others. She lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
Italian Wedding Soup
My first taste of Italian wedding soup was in a small-town restaurant in Pennsylvania. I'd never heard of this dish before, but my dinner companion spoke of it with great nostalgia, recalling how Italian neighbors in the Bronx served it on special occasions during his childhood.
The restaurant version was so-so, but I could tell that the soup had great potential. So here you have it: a traditional long-simmered soup made with meatballs, escarole, and little star-shaped pastina, cooked in a flash under pressure. For optimum results, make the little meatballs bite-sized and use homemade broth, If you like smoothly textured meatballs, prepare them with a mixer rather than by hand.
I minute high pressure
3/4 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves<
1 teaspoon granulated or powdered garlic, or 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks or coarsely chopped onions
4 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups chicken or beef broth (or better yet, a combination)
1 tablespoon Italian herb blend (page 238 or store-bought)
3 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup pastini or other small pasta, such as tubetti or ditalini
1 1/2 pounds escarole, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Roman, or Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs byblending them with your hands. Shape the mixture into bite-sized balls, each a little smaller than 1/2-inch in diameter. Set aside.
For the soup, heat the oil in the cooker over medium-high heat. Cook the leeks, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Blend in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Add the broth and herbs, taking care to scrape up any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the cooker. Add the carrots. Over high heat, bring to a boil.
When the broth is boiling, add the pastini. Lower the heat to medium. Then gently drop the meatballs into the broth a few at a time. Set the escarole on top. (Don't be concerned that the cooker will be filled almost to the brim: the escarole will shrink dramatically when cooked.)
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. (This may take as long as 5 minutes since the cooker is so full.) Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for minute. Quick-release the pressure under cold running water.
Stir gently. With a slotted spoon, remove one meatball. Slice it in half and check that it is cooked throughout. If not, simmer the broth, uncovered over medium heat until the meatballs are done, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Adjust the seasonings and serve in large bowls. Top each portion with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese. Pass the remaining cheese in a small bowl.
RecipePorcini Risotto with Asparagus
This is the recipe I turn to time and again when company is coming. It's luxurious and utterly delicious. The only problem is that people can't resist seconds and a recipe that should theoretically serve 6 often serves only 1. But it will serve 4 amply!
Red wine deepens the flavor and color of this risotto, accentuating the mushrooms' "beefy" flavor. Porcini are so full of flavor that when asparagus is not in season, you can simply omit it and still have a terrific dish.
You'll find porcini in gourmet shops and through mail-order sources -- or substitute less expensive dried mushrooms for a weeknight family meal.
4 Minutes High Pressure
3 to 4 Minutes Additional Cooking
1 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups loosely packed) dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 pounds asparagus trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cups finely chopped shallots
2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to pass at the table
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, for garnish
Place the porcini in a medium bowl and pour the water on top. Cover and let sit until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile steam the asparagus in the cooker until tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness. Run under cold water to set the color, then cut on a sharp diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside. Lift out the porcini with a slotted spoon and chop any large pieces. Set the mushrooms and soaking liquid aside separately.
Rinse and dry off the cooker. Heat oil and butter in the cooker over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, taking care to coat it with oil. Add the wine and continue cooking and stirring until most of it has evaporated, about 1 minute. Carefully pour in the mushroom broth, taking care to leave any sediment on the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the porcini, broth, and salt.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Quick-release the pressure by setting the cooker under cold running water. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow excess steam to escape.
Boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but still chewy and the risotto loses most of its soupiness and becomes creamy and thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the asparagus, Parmesan, and salt, if needed. Serve immediately, garnish with parsley. Pass additional grated Parmesan at the table.
West African Chicken Stew with Spicy Sweet Potato-Peanut Sauce
In this recipe, as the chicken cooks, most of the chopped sweet potatoes dissolve into a puree and combine with the ginger and curry to create a thick and flavorful sauce. The sweetness of the potatoes is rounded out nicely by the peanut butter stirred in at the end.
To control the spiciness, I've suggested a conservative amount of ginger and crushed red pepper. If you like your foods good and hot, double the amount of each.
12 Minutes High Pressure
1 Minute Additional Cooking
1 tablespoon peanut or other vegetable oil
8 scallions, thinly sliced (keep white and green parts separate)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
A few twists of freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds chicken parts, skinned and well trimmed
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
6 tablespoons peanut butter, preferably nonhydrogenated and crunchy-style
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (rinse away any ice crystals)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1/3 chopped, roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional but adds nice extra crunch)
Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in the cooker. Add the sliced scallion bulbs and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the broth, curry, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and red bell pepper. Pile the sweet potatoes on top.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 12 minutes. Quick-release the pressure. Remove the lip, tilting it away from you to allow excess steam to escape.
Set the peanut butter in a small bowl or measuring cup. Push the solid ingredients in the cooker aside and ladle out about 1/2 cup of the broth. Blend this broth into the peanut butter, then stir the mixture into the stew. Stir well so that most of the sweet potatoes dissolve into a thick sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the peas and cook over medium heat until they are tender, about 1 minute. Just before serving, garnish individual portions with cilantro, scallion greens, and chopped peanuts, if using.
Chocolate Bread Pudding
There's a lot to be said for bread and chocolate! Here's a fudgy, rich bread pudding -- a chocoholic's delight if I ever tasted one. When served warm, my favorite way, the texture is light and moist. Chilled, the flavor and texture are more intense. Either way, top each serving with a showy peak of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
The recipe calls for both cocoa powder and chocolate morsels. For optimum taste, use a high-quality cocoa, such as Droste. Adding a bit of coffee tricks the palate by intensifying the chocolate taste.
You'll need a 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish that fits into the cooker, and some heavy-duty aluminum foil to cover it.
30 Minutes High Pressure
Plus 10-Minute Natural Pressure Release
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup hot strong coffee, or 1/3 cup hot water plus 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
6 large or extra-large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups loosely packed 1/2-inch cubes stale, crustless bread
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, for garnish
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish
Place the cocoa in a large bowl and dribble the coffee over it. Run a fork through the mixture a few times to begin incorporating the cocoa powder. Add the egg yolks, half-and-half, and sugar, and use a hand mixer or whisk to blend the mixture thoroughly.
Place one-third of the bread cubes in a 1 1/2-quart soufflé or other heatproof dish that fits in the cooker. Pour one-third of the cocoa mixture over the bread cubes and distribute one-third of the morsels on top. Repeat this process twice more. With a fork or your fingers, gently press the top layer of bread cubes into the liquid until they become deeply colored.
Set the pudding dish in the middle of a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil about 2 feet long. Bring the two ends up to meet and fold over several times to seal, allowing some space on top for the pudding to puff up. Bring the side edges of the foil together and press them tightly against the sides of the dish so that the dish will fit in the cooker.
Set a trivet or steaming rack on the bottom of the cooker. Gently lower the pudding dish onto the trivet. Pour in enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the pudding dish.
Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Reduce the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 30 minutes. Let the pressure drop naturally for 10 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow excess steam to escape.
When the steam has subsided, carefully lift the pudding out of the cooker and set it on a cooling rack. If serving warm, remove the foil, dish out, and garnish with whipped cream and toasted almonds. Otherwise cool to room temperature and refrigerate until needed.
Serves 6 to 8
Recipes from The Pressured Cook, copyright © 1999 by Lorna Sass. All rights reserved.