Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, the Pressure!

Have you ever been struggling with something, trying to find the answer, wracking your brain, trying to work it out, on the verge of giving up...only to find the answer is SO simple and basically been right in front of your face the whole time?  You have to give yourself a wack in the forehead and go, "DUH! Why didn't I think of that??"  Take a seat at my counter for a minute.

The Subject:  Braised Short Ribs- one of my favorite things to cook and eat, a delicious family favorite, surprisingly easy to prepare, easily taught to cooking class participants.

The Problem:  A 2-hour time constraint.  Short Ribs take several hours to braise and get "fall-off-the-bone" tender, and my cooking classes are usually 2 hours long.

Brainstorm Solutions:  Find the smallest possible Ribs that would cook a little faster...prepare a "swap out" like they do on cooking shows to bring to the class....meet for class and prepare the short ribs then meet back up several hours later for the finished results....all of these are ridiculous.

The Obvious Solution:  Make the Short Ribs cook FASTER!! 

But how?  A pressure cooker.  Duh.

I receive daily promotional emails from Williams Sonoma advertising some of their new products or sales, and on one particular day, I got an email advertising the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker.


45 minutes in the Pressure Cooker is all it takes to have Braised Short Ribs that melt in your mouth like butter.  Case closed.  I found this little beauty for half-price on Ebay, and just a few short days later, I was in Braised Short Rib Heaven....in just a fraction of the time.  Now, I can share this delectable recipe with my students and we even have time leftover for other recipes.  I simply instruct my students to pretend that the pressure cooker is a regular pot, and pretend that the 45 short minutes in the Pressure Cooker are really 4 hours in the oven.  Everything else is exactly the same.  Ah, technology.

Click here for the recipe for my Root Beer Braised Short Ribs.


The Chef Next Door


  1. What other goodies can be made in a pressure cooker?

  2. Just about anything that you would otherwise cook on the stove, slow cooker, or put in the oven (aside from baked goods.) Rice, whole chickens, pot roast, oxtails, lentils, beans, soups, cabbage, collard greens, beef stew, jambalaya......and on and on and on. Google "pressure cooker recipes" and see a world of recipes in front of you. I've only used mine for the short ribs so far, but that will soon change as I get to know it better!

  3. Oh, beans. I cook a lot of beans in my crock pot while I'm at work, but I constantly fret about the water drying up. It would be nice to cook beans that fast and not worry.