Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wonders of the Pressure Cooker

I must admit that for years I was afraid of pressure cookers!  My mother used  hers religiously back when I was a kid, but I think the constant warnings to "stand back" and "do not touch" made me afraid to have one.  It also didn't help that it was constantly jiggled, hissed and let out steam in every direction.  After doing some online research it seems that I'm not the only one who had a pressure cooker phobia growing up.

All this changed about two years ago when I started my Personal Chef business.  I needed to speed up the cooking process on some of my favorite dishes.  I knew that a pressure cooker would be the solution so I had to take the plunge and purchase my first pressure cooker.    I will let Alton Brown do what he does best and explain the mechanics of pressure cookers and  the types available.

 Now, I honestly don't know what to do without my pressure cooker.  It's great for last minute food preparation and allows me to put a meal on our table in less than hour.  Cooking rice the traditional method takes about 20 minutes; however with a pressure cooker rice is ready in less than 7.  That's great news for impatient cooks like me!  I think every cook should learn how to use one as it's such a time saver. You can put any type of meat, including cheaper tough cuts in there and it will be cooked quickly and will be tender and flavorful.   The newer models are so safe, easy to use and you can pick up a good one for less than $60.

A few nights ago while shopping for groceries I found beef brisket on sale.  I thought of all the possibilities for the brisket, but settled on brisket sandwiches made with fresh Italian bread, topped with tomatoes and avocado and served with a light potato salad.  Normally, a beef brisket would take about 3-4 hours to prepare.  Using my pressure cooker, it only took about an hour.

Spicy Beef Brisket

Cook Time: 60 minutes


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 3 lbs. beef brisket, trimmed (you can ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cooking liquid (water, beer, wine, broth, tomato sauce - whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Tomato


Combine garlic, chili, sugar, chili powder, vinegar, cumin, and salt in a large zip top bag. Rub this mixture over all sides of the beef brisket. Marinate for 30 minutes or over night. Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium high heat. Cook meat uncovered 6-8 minutes, turning to brown both sides. Add cooking liquid, lifting the meat to let some of the liquid go underneath. Add onion wedges and the marinade, then cover pressure cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook for 1 hour at stabilized pressure. Release pressure and remove lid. Slice meat across the grain. Serve pan juices with meat. 8 servings 
While the brisket was cooking, I assembled a light potato salad.  I will post the recipe soon.
Of course you can serve the brisket with a simple salad, rice, baked potatoes, etc.  We chose to have sandwiches!  Because it was quick and easy.

For my sandwich, I dipped the bread in the pan juices, then added the brisket meat, tomato slices and avocados.  T chose to have his with some homemade BBQ sauce.  Either way...it was DELICIOUS.

Beef Brisket Sandwich

If you have any questions on how to use a pressure cooker please feel free to email me.  You can also visit our store to purchase your very own pressure cooker.  6-Quart is the standard.



  1. Oh man that sandwich looks good!! My hubby would love this recipe! I have a pressure canner, its a giant pressure cooker. I do wonder if I could use it for cooking as well as canning. It sure is huge tho...must get a smaller one! Its one of those things that I've been wanting for years. Thanks for the inspiration and the yummy recipe :)

  2. It was so yummy! Most models (pressure canners) can do double duty as a large pressure cooker. I would test something simple like dried beans and see how well it works.