Bringing Back the Pressure Cooker - Modernist Cuisine

Bringing Back the Pressure Cooker

MCFebruary 29, 2012

Mifsud writes, I followed a few of Myhrvold’s other suggestions and soon discovered that pressure cookers make superior, stir-free risotto, cooked through, but with a pleasant hint of resistance, after just five-and-a-half minutes at pressure.

Rob Mifsud, who has reviewed MC, interviewed Nathan Myhrvold, and even went toe-to-toe with nay saying critics of Modernist cooking, has a brilliant article on today. This time (with a little help from our Recipe Library and his copy of Modernist Cuisine), he is promoting pressure-cooking as an easy, effective method of cooking. Mifsud delves into the history of the pressure cooker while pondering a question many of us have asked: Why don’t more people own one?

Click here to read the full article. And if you need a recommendation on a model, we like the Kuhn Rikon Duromatic.

8 Responses to “Bringing Back the Pressure Cooker”

  1. Rob is right – a pressure cooker is one of the “must haves” in any kitchen. In fact, I’m lucky enough to own a MIELE pressure steamer and couldn’t live without it anymore 😉

    Tried an “osso bucco” once – the meat literally fell off the bone and was even smoother than the traditional way.

    Oh, btw – I’m a chef as well as a consultants for Food Service Equipment Manufacturers.


    • Congratulations on your new pressure cokoer! Fagor is a great company so you should not have any probems. The only issue that some of my recipes call for “low pressure” and I don’t think that model has a “low” setting – so that means cutting the cooking time given for low pressure by about 1/3 more.Have fun!L

  2. I think that pressure cooking is an incredible way to cook. I have been teaching it for more than 15 years and my latest book, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes, is all about using a pressure cooker.

    My suggestions for best pressure cooker picks are the Fagor Duo or Futuro or the B/R/K Alpha sets. I have tried most of the cookers and like cars, they get you where you are going but some do it in a different style and speed. But they get you there.

    I am not a fan of jiggle top or electric cookers but most any modern pressure cooker that reaches 15 psi is a good choice.

  3. Pressure cookers are by far not a new invention, but with improved technology they have become safer and easier to use than ever.

    Homemade soup is delicious and perfect in the winter months, but nothing is worse than waiting hours upon hours for your masterpiece to be complete and ready to eat. Even worse, soups are generally better the next day, giving you even longer to wait.

    I love to cook with my Pressure Cooker.

  4. I’ve been using a Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker in my Modernist take on a domestic kitchen since Heston Blumenthal started promoting the technology for making stocks, a task for which it excels as underscored in MC.

    Having tried all the other purported uses for pressure cooking I’ve come to the conclusion that a major reason they fell out of favour in the 70’s and 80’s is the PR used by retailers which all centred around “4 hour beef stew in 20 minutes” and the like. I’m afraid the results are disappointing! A fact I’m sure contributed to the fall off of demand for the pressure cooker. Now if the manufacturers hadn’t tried to promote the pressure cooking as the cooking equivalent of snake oil but had instead concentrated on it’s true strengths, stock, steaming tender meats etc, I’m sure things would be different.



  5. This is delicious. It is hard to belivee the Bechamel sauce comes out so nicely in a pressure cooker. My fennel was fully cooked after 5 minutes with a little brown scorching on the bottom of the pan, which did not impact the flavor. Have you tried this with any other vegetables? I’m thinking it would be good with cauliflower, broccoli, pearl onions, or other veggies that take about 5 minutes at low pressure to cook. I like the nice pictures you use on your site. Kathy Z

  6. In some cases, a pressure cooker is priceless, I used it for years (I have a Lagostina) and in Italy, where I am from, you can find one in every kitchen. Claudio Sadler, a two star Michelin chef in Milan, has written a book titled “The great cuisine in half time” just about that. I really loved to learns new techniques from your book.
    I have an issue with your text though… You usually say to cook at 1 bar: my pressure cooker hasn’t a pressure gauge but 1 bar is the air pressure at sea level. Do you mean 1 external + 1 additional internal = 2 bars?


    • Alessandro – the pressure cookers add pressure to whatever the atmospheric pressure is. So at sea level (14.7psi) a 1 bar (15 psi) pressure cooker would produce 29.7 psi. If you were to live in Denver Colorado (5,000 ft elevation) the atmospheric pressure is only 12.2 psi. Add 15 psi to that and you are about 3 psi lower than if you were to use a pressure cooker at sea level.