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Old 03-09-2009, 09:35 AM
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Default Pressure cooker questions

OK guys my new Fagor 7 piece pressure cooker set arrives today and I'm looking for some tips. I've never used one before myself but have been soaking some large white navy beans over night and have a nice smoked ham hock to go in the pot with the beans. I going to add some other things such as scallions, onions, carrots and celery as well as some seasoning. I was thinking of doing it in a beef broth. What I need is some suggestions on cooking time, temp or stove setting to get it to pressure and I will be using my induction hub. The induction hub will go from 150 to 475 degrees with 9 settings. It can also be set by temp as well if needed. Thanks for any input.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

The heat setting is determined by the pressure in the cooker, as indicated on the pressure cooker itself. It will vary with the amount in the pot, as well as from stove to stove. There's no way to determine that except to stand by the cooker as it comes to pressure, then reduce the heat and watch it careful, turning it up or down until it stabilizes, then checking it again every few minutes. Too little pressure and the food won't be cooked in the allowed time; too much can cause problems, such as causing the emergency release valves to open. Once you get a sense of how your pot works on your stove, it will become easier, but there's no substitute for checking it visually.

As for the length of time, that's going to depend on the ingredients. I suggest you search for some PC recipes for beans or whatever you're cooking. Things go quickly in a PC, so it pays to know what to expect.

Lastly, understand that the amount of food in the PC is critical -- you cannot fill the pot too full or you'll have trouble. That should be covered by the manual, or there may be a fill line inside the pot. As a rule, no more than ⅔ full. However, because beans may foam a lot, the PC should be no more than ½ full.

I'll see if I have a bean recipe for you.
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Last edited by FryBoy; 03-09-2009 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:27 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Thanks Doug and it has arrived. I looked in the recipe book that came with it but navy bean smoked ham hock recipes though some that where close. I did find a couple pretty basic PC recipes on the net both giving about the same instructions as you did. The only difference in the two is one cooks a bit longer and advises using the quick cool method, under water in the sink while the second one says to cook it a bit shorter and use the release method on the pot which takes about 20 minutes so it will continue to cook a bit more.

I also read the instructions that came with it which are pretty detailed and easy to follow. I will give this one a try then perhaps get Doc to add a pressure cooker recipe section later. Thanks again Doug.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Beans are a little tricky and can be overdone rather quickly, turning them into a puree (nice for soup), the the quick-release method is probably best in most bean recipes. I generally prefer the natural release method -- doesn't take as long as you suggest, especially if you hold the valve open. On mine, I just put a weight on it.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

This one has a release to speed up the release of pressure. It won't open though with any pressure in it so I can trust it. At any rate I was planning on doing a 1 lb bag of navy beans with a single smoked ham hock (about 11 oz). I will be using about a 1/4 cup of each diced onion, celery, carrots and scallions. I have a spice blend I will be adding to it as well as a bay leaf and some garlic (couple of cloves). I will be using about 6 cups of chicken broth. I will be sautéing the mirepoix a bit before adding the beans and ham with butter and olive oil.
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joec View Post
This one has a release to speed up the release of pressure. It won't open though with any pressure in it so I can trust it.
Uhhhhh ......

Don't.

Nothing is foolproof, and even a fraction of a psi can lead to unnecessary excitement.
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

It's safe once no more steam comes out when you press the valve. But ALWAYS open the lid AWAY from your body.

I Googled "pressure cooker beans" and found a lot of helpful information on the subject. You might want to check a few of those sites, and especially this one: http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/bean-cooking.html
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Perhaps I didn't explan the release properly. Once it is removed from the heat source you can turn a knob that allows it to release the pressure a bit quicker but either way the lock won't let you remove the top if any pressure remains.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joec View Post
...the lock won't let you remove the top if any pressure remains.
That's the THEORY, but it IS sometimes possible -- albeit difficult -- to get the lid open with some remaining pressure. That can be pretty messy and possibly dangerous. The only point is to be careful and make sure all the pressure has in fact been released, and never force the lid open.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joec View Post
Perhaps I didn't explan the release properly. Once it is removed from the heat source you can turn a knob that allows it to release the pressure a bit quicker but either way the lock won't let you remove the top if any pressure remains.
You mean the “weighted” pressure lock? Just click it over to the “zero” setting and all the steam comes rushing out of the release valve? Right?

Mine does the same. It has 2 weighted settings depending on how much pressure you want. For a quick release, I just spin that lock back to 0 and all the steam comes rushing out. But the lid "lock" remains in place. You never spin the lid off the pot until all pressure is gone.

Personally, I don’t like the quick release method. It is fast, but it spews steam all over the place. I used to just place a towel over the valve, but have since been using the cold water technique. It’s only slightly slower than the quick release method and not as noisy or potentially messy.

And as others have said, don’t fill the PC up too full. It WILL foam over and start spitting foam out of that pressure valve!
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Yes that is exactly what I was talking about Keltin. I also read to add a tablespoon of oil per cup of liquid would stop the foaming though I won't be doing that this time around. I will only be using a couple of table spoons of oil with some butter for cooking the mirepoix a bit. The recipe called for 20 minutes of cooking time for the same proportions of product so I will be following it pretty close. Also the induction stove does instant heat changes and is recommended by Fagor over electric with them warning about being careful with gas top stoves. I will still be careful as I still remember my grandmother getting hers to explode. But then the didn't have the safety features on todays pressure cooker. I've also read the instruction book a couple of times to be sure I know what I'm doing with it. I also was planning on releasing the pressure valve until I have it in the sink so if necessary I will have heavy stainless sink between me and it.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

That really are safe these days, except in the hands of a total moron or someone hellbent on self destruction. I think you'll be OK. ;-)
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Pressure cookers are really pretty safe these days. And very easy to use. With the huge locking “teeth” on today’s pots & lids, it’s hard to imagine it could blow that lid off. Still, safety is important!

The oil trick is cool and can actually be used in regular pots when cooking starchy food (pasta, potatoes, etc). The oil just breaks the surface tension of the water so that a starch bubble can’t form thus defeating its ability to foam up and over the lid of the pot.

Like FryBoy said, every pot is different, so you’ll have to play with yours to figure it out. I always start on High heat until the pressure valve begins to spew steam. Then I cut it down to around medium so that the valve “rocks” gently. This “rocking” is actually an older term for the older pressure cookers that had actual weights for their valves. The weights would actually jiggle or rock once the pressure exceeded the weight’s value.

These days, it just means that the valve releases a little steam every so often. This way you know pressure is maintained at the optimal point. My Fagor would rock at just over Low heat, but the one I have now is aluminum and requires Medium heat.

You should get great results with your stainless Fagor on the induction cook top!

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Old 03-09-2009, 05:26 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

I just got it on and up to pressure (valve raised so I've turned down to low 215 deg.)
and have the timer set for 15 minutes. At that point I will let it cool a bit before releasing the release letting depressurize as per there instructions. Oh and this thing is actually designed to work on induction tops which Fagor also makes too. Oh it also has a second presure release if too much pressure is built up. The main thing is figuring out cooking times so I'm using the one with the recipe as a starting place. This really are pretty heavy pots too.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joec View Post
I just got it on and up to pressure (valve raised so I've turned down to low 215 deg.)
and have the timer set for 15 minutes. At that point I will let it cool a bit before releasing the release letting depressurize as per there instructions. Oh and this thing is actually designed to work on induction tops which Fagor also makes too. Oh it also has a second presure release if too much pressure is built up. The main thing is figuring out cooking times so I'm using the one with the recipe as a starting place. This really are pretty heavy pots too.
Joe, did you allow it to heat until steam began to escape from the pressure release valve? Typically there are two valves on these pots. One is a locking pin that pops into place fairly early. The other is the spring loaded escape valve and can be turned to different weight settings (5, 10, 15 lbs, etc). You need to let the pot heat until steam begins to escape from the pressure release valve and then turn it down to a lower heat.

The idea is that, once steam begins to escape, you have reached that level of pressure and will begin your cook time.....but you shouldn’t start timing it until steam has begun to escape. If steam has not escaped, then you are well below that pressure threshold which will throw off your cooking times.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Yes I sure did Keltin, it has a valve that lifts up and could see the steam being released at that point I turned it down and begin the timer on my stove. I read that in one of the reviews someone posted on it over at amazon.com which he didn't pickup the first time he tried it so he mentioned it.. It is now depressurizing so it should take a bit more till I can open it. Another thing about induction beside almost instant heat source is when you turn it off it doesn't hold any heat since there is no burner like an electric or gas stove.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joec View Post
Yes I sure did Keltin, it has a valve that lifts up and could see the steam being released at that point I turned it down and begin the timer on my stove. I read that in one of the reviews someone posted on it over at amazon.com which he didn't pickup the first time he tried it so he mentioned it.. It is now depressurizing so it should take a bit more till I can open it. Another thing about induction beside almost instant heat source is when you turn it off it doesn't hold any heat since there is no burner like an electric or gas stove.
It sounds like induction cooking was MADE for the PC! I'm gonna have to look into getting that!
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Removed the lid without any problem, removed the ham hock cleaned the meat off the bone and shredded up then took a taste. It is perfect and even a tenant that came it to pay smelled it cooking and wanted to know what smelled so good. I would say it was a success first time out.

Oh here are the ingredients I used:

Ingredients:
1 pound navy or white beans, picked over
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 diced jalapeno pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 smoked ham hock
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 scallions diced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon of Thyme
1 teaspoon of Cumin
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Looks and sounds fantastic. What was your total cook time? I've never tried beans in my PC, so I want to give this a whirl.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:21 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

About 8 min. to pressure then 15 min before turning it off. I soaked the beans overnight and changed the water a couple of times before I went to bed. Now if I was just doing beans it would be about 8 minutes but the ham hock seems to add the time. I just finished a big bowl of it and it is good too. I might dial the time back next time to about 10 min though as the beans are really softer than even a canned bean. But this is soup so I did an immersion blender in for a bit which thighed it up.
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Have you continued to use the PC, Joe? Tomorrow I'm going to sign up for a PC cooking class that will take place on October 6th. I like the idea of being able to use the induction burner - right down my alley.
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Old 09-11-2009, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: Pressure cooker questions

Oh yes I still use it often. I have the Fagor which I highly recommend and it does work with induction perfectly. Just be sure you get one of the stainless models of the fagor. Oh and they also work as a perfectly good pot as well. I got the one show below which is a 4 qt and 6 qt which really have come in handy for even just plain cooking.

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