There’s no nice way to say it, no way to sugarcoat it, you need to own a pressure cooker. OK I guess that was pretty nice…but still do it!
For the longest time I thought of a pressure cooker as a nice to have, but by no means a necessity in the kitchen. “Braise beef in like ten minutes” people would tell me – but I like to braise my beef low and slow. “You can make insane curries” they’d claim – ok that’s kind of a weird thing to say and you’re not really selling me enough on this…
Then I was out of ideas for Christmas gifts and I figured what the hell, let’s give it a shot. So I got one and started to explore what I could do with it, and let me tell you – it’s a goddamn revelation.
It was the lightswitch effect – like suddenly everything was in color, or there was finally music in a world that was only bland spoken-world poetry.
In all seriousness, the best part of owning a pressure cooker is what it does to your capabilities on work nights. If you work standard-ish hours, you probably don’t have time for extravagant dinners. Fancy sauces, stews and risottos are just too time consuming if you don’t like eating at midnight.
Stretches of recipes that traditionally take 60-90 minutes take 5-10. Flavors become so rich and fully developed! It’s insanity! But this is a food blog, and while I’d love to wax poetic about pressure cookers all night long, I owe you guys a recipe so here goes.
Meet miso risotto. Instead of the traditional parmesan cheese to give risotto it’s deep flavors, this dish uses miso paste and some soy sauce. The result is a goddamn umami bomb, and it can even be vegan if you opt for vegetable stock. I used chicken stock because it’s what I had on hand, but I don’t think it was particularly necessary. Otherwise, it is stupid simple – just take some garlic, shallots, soy sauce and miso paste. Sautee until it’s gooey and stir in a few cups of stock. Then just pressurize that baby for FIVE MINUTES and your risotto is done.
Pitfalls: On its own, this dish is not a meal. It’s a delicious note, but it’s just a single note. It’s better served acting as a side dish, but if you want it to be the star add some veggies like mushrooms, asparagus and peas. If you supplement the recipe make sure you adjust the stock levels accordingly so it doesn’t dry out in the pressure cooker.
The Verdict: This recipe is absolutely PACKED with flavor. It’s a little crazy the depth of savory flavor you can develop in just 5-10 minutes of total cooking. You won’t miss the parmesan at all because the miso paste really delivers on the umami-deliciousness. It’s a great dish all around and especially so if you have vegetarians or vegans over for dinner. But for carnivores you will not be disappointed either!
This is just one step on the road to pressure cooker glory. There’s so much else you can do in the way of whole-roasted chickens, insane curries, the sky’s the limit! You’ll be glad you took that first step.
Not Chef Jared