My mom never used anything besides her old fashioned pots and pans to make dinner, so naturally, I ended up doing the same when I started cooking for my own family. It was not until about a year after I was married that I decided to pull out a crockpot buried deep in the closet which we received as a wedding gift. A coworker had told me all the wonderful things she would make with her crockpot and I decided to try it out for myself. I decided that a crockpot was best for soups, stews, and pulled meat sandwiches, but nothing else because I like my food to have texture. I felt that a crockpot made everything mushy, and if I was going to have a two-step cooking process in which I would have to brown my meat first and then throw it in the crockpot, well that would just defeat the purpose of the crockpot for me!
I never really thought about trying a pressure cooker because I heard about horror stories of people getting burned years ago. It was just recently that a friend told me how much she loves her pressure cooker because it really does cut your cooking time in half, or maybe more! When Fagor asked me which product I wanted to sample, I decided to go with the stove-top style pressure cooker, the Elite Set. I started to think of all the recipes I wanted to try out, but before I went with the more difficult recipes, I wanted to try my own experiment first. My toddler loves noshing on chickpeas as a snack, but I don’t like giving her anything from a can because they are lined with BPA. The only way around this is to purchase uncooked chickpeas that take about 3-4 hours to cook by boiling. This is totally unacceptable so I decided to try cooking her chickpeas as my first pressure cooker experiment. I filled up the pressure cooker a little less than half way with water, and placed about a cup of dry chickpeas in the pot, closed the lid, and hoped for the best. After about a half hour, I decided to open the pressure cooker to see what was going on in there. I released the steam first, and slowly opened the lid. FYI – putting the lid on has a little bit of a learning curve and took me several tries before I got it. So after the first half hour, my chickpeas were softer, but not edible, so I placed the lid back on and tried another half hour. At the end of a total of one hour cooking time, the chickpeas were thoroughly cooked and soft enough for my toddler to eat. SUCCESS! It cut my cooking time down by two thirds in this experiment.
Why I like a pressure cooker better than a crockpot for meats – ONE POT COOKING. I can braise my meat to brown it and give it texture in the same pot that it will cook in. Meats come out cooked much quicker and VERY moist inside – no more charred, dry meat! I love the options that this specific set has to offer. It comes with a pasta basket which is an automatic strainer, two pots and two lids. The set is completely versatile, whether you want to use it for pressure cooking or regular cooking. I recommend it for the beginner pressure cooker or the expert!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary sample to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.