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Depressurising the art of pressure cooking

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Pressure cooking can be a hard thing to get right for the beginner. Tough, stringy meat, scorched pots and unevenly cooked stews are just some of the unsavoury outcomes of improper cooking with the appliance.

Many of them can be easily corrected with a few adjustments to the cooking technique. We look at some of the most common mistakes beginner chefs make with the pressure cooker.

 

Overcooking meat

It’s often hard for those new to using pressure cookers to estimate the correct cooking times for meat. When cooked properly, tender, juicy and flavourful meat should be the result.

Cooking it further however, causes the muscle fibres to contract and squeeze out all the juices and fats they hold.  Thus, overcooking makes the meat dry and tough.

Getting the timing right with your pressure cooker is key to cooking a great meal, so look up guides to cooking times to get the recipe right.  Cookers like the Electrolux EPC6000 come with six programmed settings and an LED countdown display to ensure optimal cooking times for your meal.

 

Releasing the pressure too quickly

Getting a tender, juicy and succulent stew via pressure cooker requires proper timing and pressure release methods. 

Depressurising the cooker too fast via quick-release methods also contribute to tough meats. When the pressure drops too rapidly, it compresses the meat and squeezes out all its juices and nutrients. Take the pressure cooker off the heat and allow the pressure within to subside naturally.

If a mistake has already been made and the meat is already overcooked and tough, cook it further for at least 10 minutes or until the meat is easily shredded by a fork. The meat may have less flavour , but it can be used in sandwiches, stews or soups, while the nutrient rich broth can be made into a delicious gravy or sauce.

 

Improper preparation of ingredients

 As with stir-frying, cooking ingredients evenly in a pressure cooker requires each piece to be chopped to about the same size. Meats also need to be at least partially thawed and browned. For ingredients with different cooking times, you can try putting in larger pieces of foods that cook quickly, and smaller pieces of foods that cook more slowly. Alternatively, you may need to add the quicker cooking ingredients at a later stage of the cooking process.

The EPC6000 comes with a browning setting that ensures meats are properly browned for optimal cooking in pressure-cooked meals.

 

Scorching

The EPC6000 pressure cooker has all the tools to help make the perfect meal, including a timer and pre-set programs for optimal results.

If the pressure cooker pot is left scorched after you’re done, you may have used too much heat. As heat generates pressure in the pot, too high a heat may cause over-pressurisation in the pot and trigger its safety features. The EPC6000 comes with a safety lock that ensures the lid remains in place until the pressure is released.

Thick sauces, especially those that contain sugar and tomato products, are also prone to scorching the pot. To prevent this, add any thick sauces or tomatoes last.  This way,  the other ingredients  act as a buffer between the sauce and the pot. When the pot is fully pressurised, lower the heat to prevent the other foods from scorching. The EPC6000 helps in this regard with a non-stick, dishwasher-friendly cooking pot to reduce the risk of scorching and makes it easier to clean up after.

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