It's appropriate, really, that I gave my Christmas-gift pressure cooker a try the other night--Sunday night, to be exact--because I just realized last night that my deadline for the 5th Downside book is five weeks away. Eek! I have a lot of words to make.
But anyway. I don't have an oven, you see, at the moment. I haven't in a while. And it's getting annoying. And while doing some holiday shopping I saw the pressure cooker and thought that could be fun. Maybe a little terrifying, considering that my only real knowledge of pressure cookers was that sometimes they exploded, but hey, I'm the kinda girl who likes to live on the edge. (Note: everything you read now will tell you how much safer pressure cookers are now, how they never explode or anything anymore, and that we should all be using them every day because this is the new millennium, baby! Or, okay, we're eleven years in, so this is the newish millennium, baby!)
So. Chuck roast went into the cooker. Whole pricked potatoes wrapped in foil went into the cooker. Cooker went onto the stovetop. (Okay, it didn't actually happen quite in that order. I was going for a sort of "You go in the cage, cage goes in the water, shark's in the water" sort of thing there but I don't think it worked.)
I browned the roast in a little oil and butter, threw in some carrots, herbs, and a cup of water mixed with half a cup or red wine, and set the potatoes on top (since my cooker doesn't have a rack). We sealed up the lid and there you go.
The cooker sounds like an industrial washing machine once it's all sealed up and the pressure has built so it's working. This little thing on top rocks back and forth, and every time it does it emits a little "chuh" sound. It's a bit creepy. Kind of like a cross between a coffee percolator and a soul-sucking monster of the deep on unsteady jellylike legs (I had a dream kind of like that last night; there were these jellymonsters disguised as people in a discount store. It was all very fraught).
And of course I spent the whole cooking time sort of hovering near it in the kitchen, afraid to get too close lest it explode but afraid to get too far away lest, well, lest it exploded too.
The whole place smelled like rosemary within a minute or two, which was nice.
Of course, once I reached the end of the cooking time I was a little confused. The cooker booklet said to run the cooker under cold water to lessen the steam so I could pen it up. When I did that it started moaning. That's kind of terrifying, when you're actually holding the entire thing and it's loaded with like five pounds of superheated food (hotter than boiling, remember). I played a sort of put it under/take it out game for five minutes or so until it stopped yelling at me like a walrus trapped in a pipe, then eyed it for another nervous couple of minutes while it sat on the cool side of the stovetop, looking peaceful but probably planning its revenge on me.
Then I opened it. And all was well. The meat maybe wasn't as tender as it would have been in a Cockpot (I do like roasts in the Crockpot), but it was awfully tender, especially for thirty minutes of cooking. The potatoes were fantastic, actually, really soft and fluffy, and very faintly flavored with rosemary. And the carrots were really bright and nice, too.
And nobody died in a fiery steam explosion, which is always a good thing. So I'm going to give it a try again.