The Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook: More Than 300 Recipes for Soups, Sides, Main Dishes, Sauces, Desserts & Baby Food by Diane Phillips

The Easy Pressure Cooker Cookbook: More Than 300 Recipes for Soups, Sides, Main Dishes, Sauces, Desserts & Baby Food
Diane Phillips
Chronicle Books (2011)
ISBN 9780811872560
Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views (10/11)

It has been a long time since I used a pressure cooker, so when this cookbook came in for review I had to dig to the back of the cabinet to pull it out.  I’m glad I did because I had forgotten how easy it is to cook with one.

For the purpose of the review we are asked to test three recipes.  The first one I tested was “Short Ribs Provencal.”  I chose to use the boneless because my pressure cooker isn’t large.  After browning the short ribs I sautéed the onion, garlic, thyme and rosemary for 2 minutes. After adding the canned chopped tomatoes and liquids of red wine and beef stock, I placed the cover on the pot and cooked it on high pressure for 25 minutes.  The sauce was thick and tasty, and the short ribs were fork tender.  I liked the idea of adding pitted brined olives and fresh parsley after the cooking – both added color and an addition of pizzazz to a simple dish; served with crusted bread and a side salad, everyone raved about this dish.

The second recipe I tested was “Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding.”  I had no idea I could use a pressure cooker to “bake” a bread pudding in a pressure cooker.  The trick is to place the pudding into a soufflé dish and then lower the dish/batter into the pot where a trivet had been placed.  The pudding itself was very rich considering it contained 1-1/2 cups of heavy cream, whole milk and eggs.  The addition of pumpkin puree and chopped pecans along with cinnamon, ginger and cloves make a very delicious combination.  Because of the steaming in the pressure cooker the bread pudding had a soft texture and not like a baked one.  The end result was very nice and second helpings were asked for by all.

The third recipe I tested was “Corned Beef and Cabbage.” It has been a long time since I made a dish like this and when I saw the recipe I encountered a craving.  The recipe calls for 4 pounds of corned beef and one large head of cabbage.  Additions are Riesling wine, bay leaf, thyme, onions, and red-skinned potatoes.  I expected the potatoes to fall apart considering that the pressure cooking was for 55 minutes, but they didn’t.  The end result was very good, however, I did make note that I would add another sprig of thyme the next time.

It was fun to dig out my pressure cooker again and experience meals cooked in it.  I like the results and especially like the quick cooking and not heating up the kitchen for hours while braising items like short ribs or corned beef.

Perusing the remainder of the recipes I saw quite a few that I’m going to make.  The pressure cooker now found a place in front of the cabinet and will certainly be used on more occasions.   From what I saw, most of the ingredients in the cookbook can be found in a kitchen pantry and definitely in a local grocery store. I do recommend “The Easy Pressure Cookbook” for those that want to get back to home-cooking and are on a limited time-frame.

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