What Not to Do With A Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker Picture 3

So we just purchased a stovetop, T-Fal pressure cooker in stainless steel.  It’s a wonderful pot!  We love it!  I am super excited about cooking delicious meals that would normally take over an hour in like 15 – 20 minutes!  But we are only just learning how to use it… and this can be interesting (believe me)!

So my first experiment was homemade, BBQ chicken legs for dinner.  I followed the instructions and time chart for cooking chicken.  I messed up a little bit, because of not properly understanding the function of a pressure cooker, but it all worked out in the end, even though the chicken was a little over-cooked.

Because meat juices are trapped inside the pressure cooker, even if the meat is a bit overcooked, it will not dry out.  Of course, you will end up with your meat falling apart on you and if this is not the desired texture it might just ruin your dinner.

Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken

All this to say, the chicken was delicious and we had a lovely dinner!  I paired my chicken with some Jasmine rice and a salad.  Yum!  It was very tasty.  I’ve been experimenting with my BBQ sauce and I’m trying to get more of a deep tasting sauce with a touch of smokey.  I’m almost there, I think.  Once I’m really satisfied with my recipe, I’ll write down the ingredients and measurements.  I have this terrible habit of preparing foods and varying the ingredients and never writing them down…

*After removing the chicken from the pressure cooker, I laid them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and broiled them on high for a few minutes (just enough to get that lightly charred look).

So, I figured, since my first meal turned out pretty good, I’m psyched to try my next experiment:  “Cooking Chickpeas.”  I have read over the internet how others cook chickpeas in their pressure cooker and it saves them loads of time.  And since I’m all about saving time, I was excited to do this.

I usually cook my chickpeas in my slow-cooker.  The result is wonderful and delicious! I love using the slow-cooker method, but the pressure cooker will cook them in a matter of minutes vs hours.  And I find this very appealing!

Ok, so I soaked the dry chickpeas in water overnight and I was super excited to get up the next morning and cook this batch of chickpeas!  I would have them in time for lunch!  Yes!!

So, I add my chickpeas to my pressure cooker pot, add my water, an onion, garlic cloves and my soda (why soda? To softens hard water, which we have).  Perfect! Next, I got my timer ready for 40 minutes (the time suggested to cook the chickpeas in a pressure cooker).

Awesome!  Let’s do this!

Everything is wonderful and the pot is finally beginning to show signs of steam.  I left it on high just a little while longer (mistake number one), before transferring the pot to a lower heat setting.   Within a matter of minutes, the pressure cooker began spitting chickpea broth, so I decided to release some steam by turning the little steam control lever and soon I had a chickpea broth geyser reaching high up to the ceiling with a continuous mist of bean residue.  While I’m standing there in disbelief, the broth just keeps coming and coming until it completely covers my stovetop!

I didn’t panic, but almost!!  After the steam finally stopped shooting out, I began the cleanup.  Floor first- the sticky broth residue ran down my cabinets and made it’s way to the floor.  Everything on my kitchen island was covered in this sticky mess, even my herb plants!  I had to wipe clean each leaf of my basil plants.

Here are a couple photographs of the mess once I had it partially cleaned (under the stress of it all, the thought of snapping a photo didn’t come to me before more than half of the cleaning was done).  Nevertheless, it gives you a bit of an idea.  See my light fixture (the glass shade is clear, not frosted)??  I had to take my light fixture apart to clean it properly.

The chickpea broth was seared to my burners.  I had to tackle them with a metal scrubbing pad.

pressure cooker mess ss

mess light fixture ss

What was initially a 40-minute recipe turned into two hours of cleaning and scrubbing!  Definitely not what I had planned for that morning!

Here’s the kicker:  the chickpeas were cooked.  I thought I had lost them, but no, they survived!  A little over-cooked, but perfect for hummus!  lol!

Why did this happen?  

  • My first mistake is that I left my pressure cooker on high for too long.  You should immediately remove it from high once the steam button is signaling you.  I waited way too long and did I ever regret it!!
  • The second mistake is that I added too many chickpeas and too much broth for the size of my pot (my pot is a 6.5-quart pressure cooker).

Foods like beans and peas form froth and foam which rise during their cooking stage ( I found this information later:  you can add 1 tsp of neutral tasting oil of your choice to control the foaming). 

With this in mind, you need to ensure you have lots room in your pot for this expansion.  Obviously, I didn’t take this into consideration.

My pot is a smaller pressure cooker and I had mine filled to the 1/2 mark (on the inside of the pot) with 2 cups of chickpeas and lots of broth (as you can see in the photo below).

I read that it’s better to cook only 1 cup of chickpeas or beans at a time in a 6.5-qt pressure cooker.

Lesson learned for me!

“The most valuable lessons aren’t taught, they’re experienced.”

I will give it another try.  Perhaps after I recover from this traumatic kitchen experience!  Lol!!chickpeadonotdothissmall

I actually found the courage to try this again-  This time I was better prepared and the outcome was very positive!  I will post the “How to Cook Chickpeas in a Pressure Cooker- The Right Way” real soon. 

Thanks for dropping by!  Please share any experiences you have had with your pressure cooker.  We’d love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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