One of the most common questions we hear is, “Is there a GREAT cookbook that you can recommend for use with the Instant Pot, or to include when giving an Instant Pot as a gift?”
The answer is “YES! There are several and the list is growing!”
Both those new to pressure cooking, as well as long-time pressure cooking enthusiasts have reported that they find “Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh & Flavorful” by author and pressure cooking expert Laura Pazzaglia a particularly useful and fun book, with original, creative recipes based on sound scientific principles. Many in the Instant Pot®Community report reading it cover-to-cover like they would a novel!
“I didn’t just flip through this cookbook — I read it (you know, like a book) because it is so full of useful information. And the recipes are really good too.” ~Anna
“I love the pictures! I have got to have pictures to really get my cooking mojo working.” ~ Wendy
What is so UNIQUE about this particular cookbook?
Well, the author is unique! Laura, bought her first pressure cooker after watching a friend make dinner in minutes; she quickly realized that the flavor of pressure cooked food was “like tasting food in high definition!” In 2010 she launched HipPressureCooking.com to share her discoveries, recipes, reviews and tips. Today Laura is considered one of the world’s top pressure cooking experts.
Many have appreciated the icons at the top of each recipe that show a visual of what is needed to make it (i.e. a pot and a steamer, a bowl, or just a pot). That’s very helpful depending on your mood, as some days you just may not want to deal with extra bowls and/or steamer basket, so you can dismiss a recipe just by glancing at the list of needed supplies.
…and what to do for halving or doubling a recipe? THIS book tells you!
Plus, things you’ve come to expect from the Hip Pressure Cooking website – measurements in whole vegetables (one medium carrot instead of 3/4 cups chopped carrot), the least number of ingredients to get the most effect; and, harnessing the pressure cooker’s merits (speed, heat, evaporation and infusion) to get the most flavor in the least amount of time.
According to Laura, “The goal of the book is to cover everything that is possible to do in a pressure cooker and teach cooks how to port their craft to the pressure cooker with the most chance of success by sharing all of the knowledge I have gained in 10+ years of pressure cooking.”
AND importantly, and to our point, Laura used the Instant Pot to create and test all of the recipes in this book, so her adaptations of stove-top methods are spot on for Instant Pot users. This is the only book that covers this appliance with new knowledge in a practical and lively manner. Highly recommended.
Read more here: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/cookbook/
Laura says, “Many of my techniques are based on science and experimenting – these little science-based tips are not always spelled out in the book, but they are the reasons my recipes always turn out well.”
“After watching a roast shrivel-up after pressure cooking, I began to research evaporation. I read a little tidbit about how evaporation happens faster when there is a wider temperature difference (for example between the room and the roasts’ juices). So that’s why I push (slower) natural release method for meats (so the super-heated juice don’t evaporate away). Accelerated evaporation is not all bad, it can be used to the cook’s advantage to accelerate reduction. My go-to pressure cooker tomato sauce recipe uses the (faster) normal release to quickly evaporate and reduce the sauce with a little bit of help from science!”
“Liquids for building pressure can also come from different sources – including the food itself! Some of the recipes use the vegetables’ or meats’ own juices in addition to a small amount of liquid to reach pressure. Vegetables are 80-95% water so it’s easy to calculate the amount of water if you know the weight of the vegetable. I use that trick in the Jams & Jellies chapter, too. But there was no need to calculate the water content in the fruit – many of the recipes there reach pressure with sugar (which is a liquid).”
Like another well-known Italian, Laura uses the “Learn the rules so you can break them like an artist” principle. While many warn not to cook dry beans with acidic ingredients, Laura skillfully breaks this rule on occasion, with just the intended results:
“With practice, I was able to figure out that slowing down the cooking time of beans by adding an acidic ingredient (tomatoes, vinegar, wine, lemon, etc.) isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In making one-pots, you may want to slow down the bean’s cooking time so that it can catch-up to the other ingredients. I use this trick in the ribs & bean salad one-pot recipe (below) where the beans boil in the base providing steam for the ribs above. The BBQ-sauce covered ribs above dribble down fat to flavor the beans and a bit of BBQ sauce to slow down their cooking so that they’re ready (and not falling apart) when the ribs are ready.”
Here’s a recipe from the “Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh & Flavorful” (St. Martin’s 2014) which illustrates this point:
BBQ Pork Ribs with Spinach-Bean Salad
Although the BBQ in the title refers to the flavor and not the cooking method, the results should fool all but your most observant guests. The slide-under-the-broiler finish gives this dish a scorch that is both beautiful and delicious.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 ½ pounds baby back pork ribs
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut into large dice
1 ½ cups water
1 cup dried cannellini beans, soaked, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 ounces fresh spinach (about 3 cups; baby spinach is nice)
Cut the ribs apart. Coat them on all sides with most of the barbecue sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper: set remaining sauce aside. Arrange ribs in a steamer basket; you can stand them somewhat vertically to get them to fit.
Heat the pressure cooker base on medium heat, add the oil, and heat briefly. Stir in the onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add water, beans and bay leaf and stir.
Lower the rib-filled steamer basket into the pressure cooker and then close and lock the lid. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes (stovetop) or 23 to 25 minutes (electric). When the time is up, open the pressure cooker with the 10-minute natural release method.
Set the upturned lid of the cooker on your countertop. Carefully lift the steamer basket out of the cooker and place it on the lid; cover with aluminum foil. Fish out and discard the bay leaf from the beans.
Mix in 1 teaspoon salt, the garlic and spinach. Using a slotted spoon, scoop bean mixture into a large oven-proof casserole (big enough to hold the ribs in one layer) with low sides. Using tongs, arrange ribs on top of beans and brush with remaining barbecue sauce.
To finish the dish, turn on oven broiler. Broil casserole until sauce on the ribs is lightly caramelized, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
For some behind-the-scenes stories about how the book was written, please see: http://www.hippressurecooking.com/category/hip-books/
Where is the book available? Some specialty bookstores do stock it, and it is of course available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hip-Pressure-Cooking-Fresh-Flavorful/dp/1250026377/