Anyone ever cooked with a pressure cooker? My grandmother had a brand new one in her closet that she refuses to use b/c she prefers her old, potentially blow the ceiling off the kitchen model (she’s well into her 80’s and doesn’t trust new-fangled gadgets). Nevertheless, she sent the pressure-cooker with me to Augusta.

Being a fan of the braise and the slow-cooked meats, I was wondering if I could use the pressure cooker to make such a meal on a weeknight in an hour or so. First I tested the cooker by making some mashed potatoes…took all of 6 minutes for about 4 lbs to be fork tender…I liked that…so it was on to the meat. Not wanting to ruin short-ribs or any cut of pork, I decided to try a pot roast. I wanted an italian flair, so for my “braising” liquid I used a can of San Marzano tomato crushed by hand with the juices, a cup of Chianti, and a cup of chicken stock that I had soaked 1/2 oz dried porcini. Also had a sauteed onion and 2 ribs of celery in there for good measure. After that mixture had reduced a bit, I added about 4 lb 2 in cubed pot roast (browned in a separate pan while mixture reduced). Then it was time for the pressure part. I lowered the meat into the sauce, clamped on the lid and waited for the magic…I surmised 45 minutes should do the trick. After 20 minutes, I realized I had made a mistake. The kitchen began to smell of burnt sauce which I knew was scorching…I did not waiver however and waited the full 45 minutes before releasing the pressure. I took out the meat, which was damn near perfect. Falling apart, moist, juicy, delicious. The problem was about a 2 inch pile of burnt crap in the bottom of the cooker (I’ve been trying for 2 days to scrape off the bottom). I poured the unburnt portion of the sauce into another sauce pan and pureed with a stick blender. I served this concoction with simple roast potatoes, carrots, and garlic. It was good, but I fear I ruined the cooker. Wondering how to avoid the scorch???


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