Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide - Review: Viking Pressure Cooker with Steamer


The Viking Pressure Cooker uses a simple non-slip lock knob to easily and securely clamp the lid down on the vessel. Set the lid on in any direction you wish, then just turn the knob to create a pressure safe seal and you are ready to cook.

  • Open & Close the Lid with the Turn of a Knob
  • Can Be Used on any Cooking Surface, Including Induction
  • Energy Saving – Reduces Cooking Time by Half or More
  • Pressure Release Dial Allows You to Easily Adjust the Pressure
  • Durable Stainless Steel Construction
  • Pressure Indicator Identifies when the Cooker has Reached Full Pressure
  • Stay Cool Handles

The commercial cooking technology and innovation once reserved for only restaurant kitchens is available for your home; only from Viking. To make it even better, Viking is now infused with a new culture from Middleby under which are continuously striving to ensure that their products, quality and service are the best available.

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Our Thoughts
I love to cook. And it's a good thing, given my son's special dietary needs.  I plan my days around what I want to make for supper and the time it takes to make it.

Did you know a pressure cooker can cook 3 - 4 times faster than conventional methods? That does tend to make life a little easier . . .

Viking sent me their fabulous 8 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker for review and I have made quite a few meals in it already - veggies, roasts, dessert.  I detest cheap cookware and the Viking Pressure Cooker is very nicely heavy duty - no cheap thin walls, no hot spots. It even has measurements on the inside of the pot.

Really, a pressure cooker is pretty easy to use.  Put your food mix in, put the lid on, set the pressure to whichever setting the dish needs, and turn the top knob to close the lid tight.  Turn the heat to high until the little red pressure indicator pops up (indicating the pot is now sealed), then turn the heat as low as you can without the pressure indicator falling back down (if it does, just turn the heat back up again for a bit until it re-pressurizes). You need to make sure you have enough liquid in there, and the heat (once pressurized) needs to be set to the minimum in order to retain the pressure.  Upon mentioning I had a new pressure cooker to try out, one of the first things someone said to me was to be careful because someone they knew blew two of them up! 

First up was turkey thighs with an assortment of veggies - onion, celery, and parsnips. First I fried the (skin covered) turkey thighs in oil and salt & pepper, then removed the thighs and cooked the veggies a little bit in the oil.  Then add the thighs back in, cover, and pressurize for a quick fully cooked meal. For this dish I used the recommended amount of water based on the manual that comes with the cooker, and by the time the food was done, it looked more like turkey thighs resting in veggie soup.  But, I just pulled out the thighs, set them aside, and strained the veggies, which had melted down into a nice textured dish. Now, I figured the veggies would rather be turned to mush if I cooked them the entire time with the meat, and they were. The interesting thing was that I had spiralized the parsnips and the time in the pressure cooker actually riced them for me.  The (fried) turkey skin was understandably soggy. I think doing skinless meats would be better in the pressure cooker - either that, or you'll need to oven roast the meat to crisp up the skin once it's finished in the pressure cooker. Time in pressure cooker - about 30 minutes, but I think I could have done a little less.  Oven roasting takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Hinging on that outcome, next up I decided to make riced parsnip pudding.  I have always loved rice pudding, but as we are grain & dairy free now, I needed to come up with a new dish.  Parsnips are delicious with coconut milk, cinnamon, and sugar - have done that mashed quite a few times, sometimes adding pears and/or apples.  Since using the pressure cooker on spiralized parsnips turned them to a riced consistency in the first dish, I figured I'd try spiralizing them again and let the pressure cooker do the work that my little food processer is really too small to do.

I added as much water to the mix as I thought I'd need, because parsnips absorb A LOT of water, especially by the next day in the fridge. I wasn't sure how long to cook them to get the right consistency, so after about 10 minutes in, I de-pressurized the pot and checked on them.  They were still very watery (although delicious!!) so I added in some arrowroot to thicken and re-pressurized, cooking for another 5 - 7 minutes or so.  In actuality I should have just riced the parsnips first to get the texture just right (but again, I need a bigger food processor), but the whole dish was unbelievably delicious with a thicker, creamy-smooth sauce, just like one would expect with rice pudding.

Next up was a fresh venison roast.  Venison can be tricky to cook, and if you don't do it right it dries out and is pretty much like eating shoe leather. I have found that cooking a venison roast slathered in coconut oil with some salt & pepper for 4 hours on low in a crock pot makes for a nice tender roast.

First I braised the venison roast in coconut oil and salt & pepper.  Then I threw in a little onion, garlic, rosemary, with more salt & pepper, and added some water.  This roast . . . was OMG tender.  I mean OMG OMG OMG DROOL DELICIOUS tender!!  Now, I know from years of experience that sometimes it's more the cut of meat and less the cooking method, so I need to try another venison roast to see if I get the same results but I have high hopes. The packages are just stamped "Venison Roast" so I don't know which roast packages are which cut.  But this has me soooooo encouraged to try it again, and if all my venison roasts turn out this tender and moist, this pressure cooker will be my #1 go-to method for venison roast. Time in pressure cooker: 25 - 30 minutes since it was a small roast. Did I mention the crock pot takes 4 hours??

Next up was a cow tongue - one of my absolute, hands-down favorite cuts. My husband hates the texture of tongue - it is a bit spongy - but he loves the texture of brisket and I can't stand it. LOL.  Anyway, more tongue for me!

Cooking tongue in the crockpot has always been my best way to get the tongue skin to peel off, but it invariably always has some dried out spots that are tough to peel, so I end up fileting it off.  In the Viking pressure cooker, the tongue came out as delicious and tender as I expected and as a bonus, the steam made the whole thing incredibly easy to very quickly peel it. Time in pressure cooker: 25 minutes.  Crock pot - 6 - 8 hours.

Last dish for this review is lamb shanks.  I was SO excited to find lamb at our local big box store - I raw feed my dog and so I'm always browsing the meat aisle for cheap cuts of meat for her and they're one of the few places that sell a good selection of offal.  And right next to where the cow offal was, I found the lamb shanks.  Two $10 packages later, I had supper all planned.

Normally I oven roast this dish with lamb steaks or chops, but shanks are much thicker and have the large bone inside of them.  I usually use the crock pot for lamb shanks, but here again, I wanted to try using the pressure cooker because it saves so much cooking time.

I did manage to set off the smoke alarm while braising them (oops!) but they braised up beautifully.  I pulled them out, set them aside, and then added in my veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, & rosemary) and a little sweet cherry wine & balsamic vinegar.  Stirred them to coat, and added the shanks back to the pot.  Added a little more balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper to the meat, put in some water - not too much, knowing zucchini are very watery, and pressurized the pot. I still ended up with quite a bit of liquid from the zucchini and the meat but the whole dish was so delicious.  I love lamb.  I hate sharing lamb.  LOL.  Time in pressure cooker: 45 minutes.  Crock pot takes 6 - 8 hours.

Now the funniest part of this whole pressure cooker experience was the dog.  Bella is an 11 month old Rottweiler and she just did not know what to do about the noise the pressure cooker makes as it releases little bits of steam while cooking.

First she had to inspect this new noise-maker:

Then she laid down in front of the stove and quietly woo-wooed at it until the food was done.

Overall, the Viking Pressure Cooker is incredibly easy to use.  There are tons of recipes online, and you'll also find a couple in the manual. It comes with a steamer basket too. I am a big fan of high-quality cookware, and most of my cookware is vintage because it's better quality than the cheap stuff you can buy at big-box stores.

The only thing I wish was a little different about this pressure cooker is that it's tall and narrow, and I have an easier time with the more squatty pots.  Just something for me to adjust to.  5 stars!!


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