In my new cookbook, I use many different kinds of pressure cooking techniques that were well known in our grandma's day when nearly every household used a pressure cooker. Most of today's pressure cooker users don't know about these more advanced techniques, so I'm going to show you how to get the maximum use out of your modern pressure cooker by cooking two separate PIP recipes using the tiered cooking technique.
The first recipe is a full flavored, Savory, Herbed Three Grain Pilaf, a dish that compliments many meat entrees. So for the purposes of demonstrating the tiered cooking technique, I'm also cooking a separate dish of lentils for lunch the next day, to be used in Lentil and Arugula Salad, a very versatile recipe that works well as lunch or a light supper to beat the summertime heat.
What You'll Need
You'll note that I'm using one of the horrid, bent wire 'trivets' supplied by Fagor, a singularly useless item for most purposes, but here's one way where it actually does work well. Lay the wire trivet inside the bottom pan, or place a cooking rack over the top of it, to support the upper pan.
The bottom PIP insert pan is from Kuhn-Rikon, it has a handy wire bail to lift it out of the pressure cooker, and little punched out feet on the bottom so there is no need for a cooking rack. You will need to use a rack beneath your pan if it has a flat bottom. Without a bail, its necessary to utilize a foil Helper Handle to get your pan out of the cooker. For the top pan, any kind of small, inexpensive Stainless Steel bowl will work. The one I use here is available at Wal-Mart, Target and such.
SAVORY, HERBED THREE GRAIN PILAF
This delicious recipe has an irresistible nutty flavor that is great by itself or served as a side dish with poultry, pork, and beef. Even better, there's no tedious chopping, so if you're looking for minimal effort food after a long day, this is it.
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon bouillon powder
2 tablespoons wild rice
1/4 cup long grain brown rice
1/4 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker. Place all the ingredients in an insert pan. To cook as a combination see the directions below, to proceed as a separate dish: Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure. Cook 16 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method before opening the lid. Fluff grains with a fork, they should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.
Cook's Note: I used that Better than Bouillon, a flavor enhancer that comes in several varieties (In my supermarket, I have seen beef, chicken, mushroom, and vegetable varieties.) According to the Superior Touch website there are also turkey, lobster, ham, chili, clam and organic, plus low sodium versions are available. One teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon base mixed with water yields the same as an 8 oz can of broth, but its much more flavorful, and its just as convenient as ordinary bouillon cubes. It is a bit salty, so I suggest holding off adding any additional salt until you've actually tasted the finished dish. This is a very tasty and convenient product that makes for a no-brainer method of preparing quick and easy dishes, so do give it a try.
Lentil and Arugula Salad
This is an easy dish with many possibilities. If you can't find arugula in your supermarket, substitute curly endive, escarole, radicchio, spinach or any combination that appeals to your taste.
1/4 cup lentils
1 1/2 cups water
Place in a small stainless steel bowl. Pour 1 cup water into the pressure cooker. To cook as the featured combination, position a trivet in the bottom pan and stack the bowl of lentils on top. Lock the lid in place. Bring to 15psi over high heat, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting to stabilize and maintain that pressure. Cook 16 minutes. Remove from heat and use the natural release method before opening the lid. Drain the lentils, add the prepared homemade or bottled vinaigrette salad dressing and marinade them in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day, ahead of the serving time.
2 cups sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups torn Arugula or other salad greens
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Prepared homemade or bottled vinaigrette salad dressing
In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, tomatoes, onions, lentils and cheese. Add the vinaigrette and toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.
Add a small amount of leftover cooked meat, ham, poultry or shellfish for a main course.
Add chopped hard salami, pepperoni or prosciutto, some sliced olives and marinated artichoke hearts for an antipasto style salad.
When you think about all the interesting possibilities, I hope you'll try both the PIP (Pan In Pot) and the Tiered Cooking Techniques. You'll find detailed instructions on these, and much, much more in my new cookbook, Miss Vickie's Big Book of Pressure Cooker Recipes. See my websitefor more information about other cooking methods and all the different techniques used in pressure cookery.
Does this give you ideas about how you can incorporate the Tiered Cooking technique into your own recipes? What combinations can you put together?
I'd like to get your feedback on my new recipes to see if there's anything that I need to adjust. Please, post your comments and let me know if you try these recipes, won't you?