pressure cooker blues

I have had a stove-top pressure cooker for years that I’ve used to cook dried beans. But I had read about electric pressure cookers and their use in making one-pot meals. Back in late 2010 my blog friend Tahoe Mom wrote about the success she (her husband, really) was having with their electric pressure cooker. I decided to give it a try.

cpc600I bought the Cuisinart model and over the past almost for years now have gotten a lot of good use out of it. Then, a few weeks back, it stopped sealing correctly. The consensus on the Yahoo! pressure cooker group was that it was the sealing ring. I ordered a new one, installed it, and, guess what, no luck.

Someone pointed out that I could replace the whole lid. That would certainly be a lot cheaper than buying a new PC, but then there’s no guarantee that that would solve the problem. And I have to consider whether I really want to remain in the electric PC world. Mostly I do things like chicken and rice or stew with sausage, potatoes, and veggies. And as I think about it, I’m not sure how much time I’m really saving. After all, I will always brown the chicken or sausage, then I have to wait for everything to come up to pressure, go through its normal cooking time, and for the pressure to go down. I generally do a natural pressure release, but even if I do a manual release, I generally wait at least ten minutes after the timer has turned off to do so. Seems to me that I could put on the rice and come back into the kitchen ten minutes before the rice is done and start the chicken in the frying pan. And that eliminates what you inevitably (and simply by the nature of the design of the appliance) get when you cook those same ingredients in the PC – everything tastes the same.

Where the real value of the pressure cooker comes in is when you do something like a pot roast. In such cases you really do save a lot of time, and the flavors come out marvelous. But I may do that perhaps twice or three times a year. And I can do much the same thing in my crock pot – it just takes a little more planning and scheduling. So I’m not sure that it’s worth the expense, especially given my recent layoff.

Maybe I’ll go without cooking that way for a while and see what it’s like.

2 Comments on “pressure cooker blues”

  1. Tahoe Mom says:

    Interesting. I will be on the lookout for a similar problem although so far so good. During the summer we rarely use ours. Most food is grilled (meat) and raw or roasted (veggies). Winter, we use it a Lot. Keep in touch about your decision.

  2. […] the end of July I wrote about how my Cuisinart CPC-600 electric pressure cooker would not come up to pressure and how […]

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