You would be forgiven for thinking that today’s post is all about a cooking competition, a high pressure environment Masterchef come Ready Steady Cook re-enactment in my kitchen. And while that is sometimes the case when it comes to preparing dinner (opening the fridge and trying to work out what can be cobbled together from the random offerings, and in record time), the sort of cooking under pressure I’m talking about it is, well, cooking in a pressure cooker!
I think perhaps its an old lady bit of kitchen kit, not seen in too many kitchens of the under 30’s. But since it was given to me by an old lady, I figure it’s ok. Besides which I like my pressure cooker, it reminds me of the old lady who gave it to me and of my mum, who is the only other person I know who owns one (I’m regretting saying it is old lady kit now, sorry mum!). The only thing I ever make in mine is soup, and I’ve almost come to believe that this is all they can be used for. I think that might be because it’s the only thing I’ve ever seen mum cook in hers. Perhaps I’ll be a bit more adventurous one day.
But for today, this is where you find me – making soup in my pressure cooker. I’m not following a recipe despite owning a very nice soup recipe book. I like to go with the ‘chuck it in and see what happens’ approach. So today I have used: an onion, a green pepper, a couple of carrots, a small swede, one large potato, the bones from yesterday’s roast, puy lentils, chickpeas, herbs and 2 pints of stock. Fingers crossed!!
I’m cooking at high pressure – you see the little colours on the black weight on top of the lid? Well, yellow is low pressure (5lb), blue is medium (10lb) and red is high (15lb). I think that probably means something to someone who uses their pressure cooker rather more regularly than I do. For me, I just go with the red as I reckon it will cook faster that way! 20-25mins cooking, and it should be ready. The important bit here is not to try to open the lid before the pressure has dropped. And definitely not to try to remove the weight, as hot steam will rush out – I know this from experience. Just be patient, take it off the heat and let it cool, watch the weight drop, and only then open the lid.
And then all that remains to do is remove the bones, bit of whizzy with the hand blender and serve up!
Perfect fodder for cold weather. Yum!