Pressure Cooker Grits

UPDATE: I have posted a totally revamped Pressure Cooker grits recipe right here.

BLASPHEMER!

Yeah, I know that’s what some people in certain parts of the country might accuse me of being for saying that I have been looking for a fast way to make grits.

When I first got my pressure cooker, one thing I was really excited about was the thought of making grits without standing over a sputtering cauldron of cornmeal and stirring for two hours. Sure, grits are great but who has that kind of time these days?
I don’t even know how I acquired my fondness for grits. I did grow up in the Detroit suburbs in Michigan, where there was a strong southern cooking influence, but with a less radical view of cooking grits.

Others might say, if you want to make grits faster use the quick or instant grits. There is one main reason I don’t use those, they suck.

Nothing can match the creaminess and texture of authentic stone ground grits.
I use Anson Mills grits, which I believe are the best, or at least the best available to me. The directions say to cook for one to two hours. My mission if I choose to accept it: cut this time to 30 minutes or less.

My first attempt at pressure cooker grits resulted in tasty grits, but a good deal of them were stuck to the bottom of the pot, making cleaning the cooker a herculean task (thanks, Sweetie). Subsequently, I have been cooking in a stainless steel bowl or a non-perforated steamer insert. This eliminates the sticking problem entirely, leaving every tasty grit for eating.

As an aside, there don’t seem to be such inserts made specifically for Kuhn Rikon, so I ordered one made for Fissler pressure cookers. Going by the measurements on the website for The Fissler Store, it seemed there may be a chance that the insert would be too large, but upon arrival I immediately carried it to my cooker and lowered it in, relieved to find that it fit perfectly.

So, my recipe for pressure cooker grits is one cup of Anson Mills grits and two and a half cups water and a tablespoon or two of butter. (Yes, I use water. I know, this is my second strike, but trust me, they come out perfectly creamy without milk and coming up, you will see that by no means do I skimp on the fat).
Bring the pressure up to 15 psi (high pressure), turn down the heat to maintain pressure for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally. Open the lid and pour into a bowl. If you use a one-handled insert as I do, be sure to steady the pan with one hand (protected with pot holder or mitt of course) while lifting with the other. I won’t go into why I thought to include this tip.

This is where the fat comes in – stir in a cup or so of shredded cheese (I like to use sharp cheddar, but use whatever you like. One time I didn’t have much cheese on hand so I stirred in a little heavy cream, which was also tasty.

I like to serve on a plate topped with sauteed kale (I have used other greens as well) a couple slices of bacon criss-crossed on top, and on the tippy-top an over-easy egg. I make this for dinner, but for those who find it unacceptable to have bacon and eggs for dinner, I am sure it would be great for breakfast or brunch as well.

 

Steamed Sliders a la Pressure Cooker

I often get inspiration from food shows such as “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “Man Vs. Food”, which means that I often use the Pressure Cooker, a potentially healthy method of cooking, to make junk food (though I contend that it is still healthier than some of the other methods of preparing such things). One such inspiration was when Adam Richman, of Man Vs. Food was visiting Ted’s in Connecticut, whose specialty is Steamed Cheeseburgers.

Since there is an entire country between where I live in SoCal, and Ted’s on the East Coast, I figured I wouldn’t be able to visit there any time soon, especially considering that I was craving a steamed cheeseburger now. Oddly enough, my home kitchen is not outfitted with a special cheeseburger steamer, but I started thinking, which is often a dangerous proposition, “Hmmm… I don’t have a special cheeseburger steamer, but I do have one of the finest means of creating steam in existence – my pressure cooker!” And while I was at it, I got the inspiration to combine the steamed cheeseburgers with the sliders that are dear to my heart thanks to my mid-west upbringing, and besides, sliders would fit better in the pressure cooker.

Sliders Ingredients

Once I had my plan in place, I headed to the local Trader Joe’s to pick up the necessary ingredients – a pound on 80/20 ground beef, a hunk of sharp cheddar, and Trader Joe’s mini hamburger buns along with a couple sweet potatoes to make an accompaniment of homemade sweet potato chips.

That evening I gathered the ingredients and got to work preparing vittles for myself and the S.O.

I had a pound of meat and 8 buns, so it didn’t take a genius to figure out that I would make 8 2-ounce burgers. I got out my trusty kitchen scale and started forming the balls. After the first one, it was easy to grab 2-ounce pieces. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t gotten a scale that so closely resembles my iPad. Often is the time I have nearly slapped a slab of meat down onto my iPad, only to catch myself in time and exclaim “Oh, crap!”, except for the time it was a fish and I exclaimed “Oh, carp!”

With steamed cheeseburgers, the cheese is melted in a separate container along with the burgers. It took a bit of kludging, but I managed to rig up a makeshift burger steamer using a stainless steel pressure cooker insert, a tripod and a mini cocotte which came as a bonus with my Staub dutch oven.
The eight burgers were a tight fit, but I got them all in, and using the tripod and cocotte, I suspended the cheese container above the burgers.
For the steaming liquid, I used one of my favorites, beer (it’s not just for drinking anymore). I used Anchor Steam, a California favorite, simply because that’s what I had on hand

I turned on the burner, locked the top on the cooker and let it get up to full pressure.

I kept it at full pressure for five or six minutes before removing it from the heat. I did a quick release and opened ‘er up. There I gazed upon eight succulent slabs of deliciousness, and a container of gooey, melty cheese.
The secret to sliders is to not try to pile much onto the tiny buns. I opted for a pickle slice, a few diced onions and some thousand island dressing.
Although I had used the trick of making an indent in each patty to compensate for the burgers expanding in the center, some of them still bore an uncanny resemblance to meatballs. I will probably try to make them a bit flatter next time.

After I placed them on the buns, I spooned some of the melted cheese on top, placed them on the plate next to the homemade sweet potato chips (which were quite tasty, despite the burn marks on my arm), and dug in.

My Pressure Cooker Habit

My name is Michael, and I’m a pressure cooker addict.

Duromatic Top 7 LiterSure, it started out innocently enough. I decided to start cooking at home more. Years of pub fare and food trucks somehow was causing my trousers to shrink.
At first it was just entrees, then the next thing I know it escalated to side dishes as well.

I started buying new kitchen equipment, I couldn’t control myself. A copper saucepan here, a stainless steel saute pan there. But I wanted more. Pretty soon I found myself walking in the door with a Dutch oven. Everyone knows the Dutch oven is a gateway pan. But it wasn’t enough. I needed something stronger, more powerful.

Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top Pressure Cooker TopThen one day, browsing through the local “dealer”, I saw it… it was gleaming steel, and I swear it was emanating a glow, trumpets sounding a fanfareā€¦ this was it, or as the kids say these days, “That’s what I’m talking about.” Sleek molded handles, dials, vents and multiple safety features. I had to have it, whatever it was.

It turned out to be a 7-liter Kuhn Rikon Duromatic Top pressure cooker. To many, the top-of-the-line. I would do whatever I needed to possess this thing, even if it meant spending my grocery money, which I guess could be construed as being a bit ironic. I walked out the door clutching my new-found obsession, ready to embark on a great new adventure.

Before long I was making a variety of chili and stews. Cincinnati chili, Texas Chili, Hungarian Goulash, Coq au Vin. Who cares that this was in the middle of the summer with the temperature approaching 90 degrees (and that is inside). I soon learned that the pressure cooker is also useful for things that aren’t quite as heavy as the stews and soups I had been making. In fact, using it for such things as pasta and grains cuts down on the cooking time, which along with lowering the heat once pressure is reached can keep the kitchen cooler. Sure, I’ve tried at least a couple things that probably would have worked out better using other methods of cooking, but I just had to see if it could be done in the pressure cooker.

Duromatic Top Model 7 Liter Pressure Cooker HandleSometimes, while watching the food shows on television, I see something that looks interesting and can’t help thinking, “Hmmmm, I wonder if I could make that in the pressure cooker. One thing I discovered this way is Rouladen, a German dish consisting of Beef rolled around a filling, which I hope to document on this site sometime soon (the past couple times I have made it I neglected to take photos). This is currently my favorite thing that I cooked in the pressure cooker, but I have made many other things that have been almost as tasty.

This site, besides trying to tout the joys of cooking with pressure, will also serve as a way for me to document just what the heck I did to make these things, because I often forget how I made certain recipes.

Now that I have become a pressure-cooker explorer, I invite you all to take this journey with me. Perhaps you, too will become a Pressure Cooker Convert.