Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pressure Cooking - Chapter 1

Early on in our marriage, we had a pressure saucepan.  I had it for many years, but I can't remember when it "died" or got lost or whatever, but since in the first 16 years of our marriage, we lived in 16 different homes in 3 different states, I guess it wouldn't be too surprising if it got lost.  A little over a year ago, I was able to purchase a 4-quart stainless steel pressure saucepan at a thrift store.  I love it, but found that often it just wasn't quite big enough for what I wanted to cook.  Saturday was my 65th birthday.  Yes, I really am 65-years-old and grateful for it.  Anyway, my husband gave me a 6-quart stainless steel pressure saucepan!  I've been playing with it today.  I made vegetable/sausage soup for lunch in it.  I didn't take pictures so can't blog about it properly, but it was wonderful.  Between the food processor and the pressure cooker it only took me about 20 minutes to make  4 quarts of beautiful yummy soup.  It only had to cook for 3 minutes at pressure!  Wow.  I am in love!

So, for dinner, I cooked a whole chicken in the bigger pot and potatoes and carrots in the smaller pot.  Here is what I did.

Here is the thawed raw chicken.

Melt 1/4 lard in cast iron skillet.

Brown the chicken in the hot fat.

Still browning, turning as needed.  I used a cloth towel to grab it with to make it easy to move around in the pan.

Scrubbed potatoes, peeled carrots and two cups of water are on a rack in the smaller pot.

The browned chicken is in the larger pot with 2 cups of water with the rack in the bottom.  It has been sprinkled with salt, pepper and dried basil.

4:13 p.m. I closed the chicken pot and started heating it on high heat.

Here are both pots on the stove.  When the large pot got up to temperature and the petcock was rocking gently, I set a timer for 25 minutes.  When that time was done, I turned off the heat and let the pressure go down on its own.

10 minutes before the time was up for the chicken, I turned on the smaller pot of vegetables.  Once the petcock was rocking, I set a timer for 10 minutes, and as soon as that time was up...

I took the pot to the sink an ran cold water over it to stop the cooking.  When the little rubber plug goes down, then the pressure is gone and you can open it up so the food won't overcook.

Here are the potatoes and carrots beautifully done.  

When I was finished taking the vegetables out of their pot, the pressure had finished going out of the larger pot and I was able to open it and take out the chicken.  Here is the timer then.  So, start to finish, it took 58 minutes for a nicely roasted whole chicken, tender as can be and perfectly cooked potatoes and carrots.

Here is the chicken, when I opened the pot. Oh my goodness it was good.  We all enjoyed it very much. 

Our daughter and her husband and 2 children are currently living with us, so I get to do more cooking than usual.  I love cooking.  I plan to try to do a series here on various pressure saucepan cooking adventures.  Stay tuned!

By the way, BEFORE you EVER use a pressure cooker, carefully read the instructions that come with it.  They are easy to use, but you MUST take proper steps to avoid making a dangerous mistake.


  1. I look forward to trying your pressure cooked food recipes, we have an electric 4 qt here and love it!

  2. Just so you know for the future, you don't even need to defrost the chicken. You can put it in the pot completely frozen, and just add a couple of minutes. It comes out just the same (not like the microwave, that would cook it unevenly).

    1. I wonder if I could still brown it, though. That made the skin very nice for eating. Have you done that? Does it really only take 2 more minutes?

    2. Well, actually, I do things in reverse. I actually make a roast chicken (as in, really "roasted" with brown, crispy skin and everything) by first pressure cooking it, albeit a little bit shy of being done, and then finishing it off in the oven.

      Its too long and complicated to type out the instructions here, but here's a Chowhound discussion where I talked about how I do this (see the last couple of messages of mine in the thread):


    3. P.S. I'll add five minutes to the cooking time if I'm doing a completely frozen beef or pork roast, and maybe 3 minutes for a chicken (depending on the size).

    4. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing this.


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