SeaKnots

How about exploring the many aspects of pressure cooking on a sailboat, everything from the practical and safety considerations, to the tremendous variety and flexibilty that a pressure cooker brings to a sea-going galley.

Let's take a look at everything from baking bread on the stovetop in a pressure cooker, to preserving meats and veggies for long-term storage, to quick-and-easy recipes for everything from centuries-old European dishes, to ethnic meals spanning Cajun jambalaya, New Orleans gumbo, New England lobster bisque, Middle Eastern-style curried lamb, and steamed Thai chicken – all done in less than 30 minutes, and with only one pot to clean afterwards!

Let's take a look at the type and size of pressure cooker to buy, and what are the most important features to consider.

Anyone interested?

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Replies to This Discussion

Would I be able to use my pressure cooker on my outdoor grill?,,Wire it on some how. Do they make a brace for pots to stay on these grills while sailing...a good invention maybe?
Hello, Lola:

The proper functioning of a pressure cooker is unconcerned with the source of heat. There simply has be enough of it to bring the cooker to pressure and keep it there until the food is done.

As long as you are made up to a dock with no motion, your grill will serve as a heat source for a pressure cooker, although your hot plates may be a better choice. Of course you will have to pick your weather. You wouldn't want it to start raining while cooking outside on your grill. I believe trying to afix a pressure cooker atop your grill and cooking underway will prove to be more than troublesome, and will likely result in the loss of your pressure cooker at the least, and maybe some burned hands getting it off the grill and down below for serving.

I believe once you begin to take your boat out on the water, especially for several days of sailing without going alongside a dock, you are going to discover that your current galley layout needs to be radically changed. First off, you need to get rid of that microwave. There's really no need for it. Next, you need to get rid of those hot plates, and install a practical two-burner propane stove. You can do without an oven if you don't have any room, but the stovetop burners are a necessity for reliably turning out meals in all weather. Your Freedom is lovely to the eye, but as currently configured, it simply is not a sea boat.

Hope this helps.

Fair winds to you,

Robbie
I am sometimes asked why I am so bullish about the use of a pressure cooker aboard a sailboat. Depending upon the seriousness of the questioner and my patience at the time, I answer with any one of a number of replies:

(1) The pressure cooker cuts the overall time of cooking by one-third to one-half. Who wants to send more time in a hot galley in a boisterous seaway than necessary?

(2) Whole meals can be prepared in a single pressure cooker, meaning only one pot to clean afterwards. Who wants to wash more pots and pans than necessary? A no brainer, right?

(3) The pressure cooker is the one cooking utensil whose lid can be locked on and will not fling hot food all over the chef or the boat's interior when there's a sudden lurch. What sailor doesn't want to avoid being scalded at sea?

(4) Everyone likes to eat healthy, and want meals that are tasty to the palate. Cooking under pressure preserves the nutritional value of foods, softens the fiber of the toughest cuts of meats, and forces ingredients, spices and herbs to infuse and mix together. The pressure cooker can turn the most novice cook into a sailing chef overnight.

(5) When you buy a pressure cooker, many brands come with a steaming basket, trivet and a tempered glass top. This makes the cooker even more versatile; now it can be used to steam veggies and delicate foods like fish, as well as serving as a non-pressurized stock pot or soup pot. Any sailor can appreciate the space-saving and flexibility this affords. Add to that the fact that the pressure cooker can serve as a stovetop oven and turn out stunning loaves of fresh bread, and what more needs to be said?

Think about it.

Fair winds,

Robbie
I had absolutely no experience with pressure cookers in the past but purchased one last year because I was told by other cruisers that it made cooking much easier. I would love to get some good recipes from anyone who has experience with them.
Ahoy!, Pierre and Kim:

Good news! There is no shortage of recipes for the pressure cooker. Just go to Google and type in this search term: pressure cooker recipes. I believe you will have more recipes than you ever imagined.

One of my favorite pressure cooker websites is this one:

www.healthgoods.com/Shopping/Appliances/Pressure_Cooking_Recipes.htm

The Presto Pressure Cooker Company has a helpful Website, too, with plenty of recipes:

www.gopresto.com/recipes/index.php">www.gopresto.com/recipes/index

I also recommend that you buy a copy of the Ball Company's excellent book titled, Complete Book of Home Preserving (ISBN: 978-0-7788-0139-9). This book is filled with stunning pressure cooker recipes for processing everything from fruits and vegetables, to meats and seafoods. As you head across the Pacific in "Victoria", you will bless the day you read and learned from this book how to augument your galley's stores with nutritious food that requires no refrigeration.

Also, Lorna Sass has a couple of books that are required reading for pressure cooking chefs: Cooking Under Pressure, and The Pressured Cook.

Finally, if you are looking for recipes that have met the test for preparation aboard a sail boat, then check out my own cookbook, Gourmet Underway - A Sailor's Cookbook. There's a quite nice international selection covering beef, pork, poultry, lamb and seafood meals. The book also provides recipes for the Chinese wok, grilling, and the French saute.

If you have any difficulties finding recipes to your liking, just contact me at tahitirover@gmail,com and we can exchange ideas.

Happy hunting!

Robbie
Robbie,
Thanks for the info. Will check out the sites.
Kim
Pierre and Kim Russell said:
Robbie,
Thanks for the info. Will check out the sites.
Kim


Kim:

Here's one more website for in-depth information about pressure cookers and all the many things they are capable of doing. It is the website for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The site also has links to recipes and complete publications that you can download and store on your computer or print:

www.uga.edu/nchfp

Hope this helps answer your question about pressure cooker recipes.

Best regards,

Robbie
We experimented with pressure cookers years before we started cruising. We have never been satisfied with them. They are excellent for canning food but we find them unsatisfactory for cooking. In the first place, they seem to be best suited to stews and the like and we rarely eat such things. In the second place, everything we cooked tasted burned. Maybe we're just picky or maybe we never learned to cook with pressure cookers.

Peter
Peter:

I think you have the answer already to your dissatisfaction with the pressure cooker: you never learned to use it properly. When you say that "everything tasted burned" that is a clear indication that you are not following the instructions for pressure cooker use.

There are hundreds and hundreds of recipes for fantastically delicious, gourmet-level dishes prepared with a pressure cooker. But like all recipes, until you have mastered the finer points of cooking, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS in the recipe and the pressure cooker's manufacturer's User Manual.

Because of the high heat and pressure, it is very easy to overcook food with a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking is FAST cooking, and requires close attention to what you are doing.

You have already written off the pressure cooker, and that is a shame. But if you are the open-minded type and willing to accept that you may have been hasty and not given the pressure cooker its fair due, then I suggest you read Lorna Sass's terrific books, "Cooking Under Pressure," or "The Pressured Cook." You will be well-rewarded for your effort.

Fair winds to you,

Robbie Johnson, author
Gourmet Underway - A Sailor's Cookbook
Thanks Robie, We'll give it another whirl when we get back to dry land this spring
Peter
That's the spirit!, Peter. I don't know what I'd do without my pressure cooker! May I be so bold as to provide you with a cannot-fail pressure cooker recipe that will, hopefully, inspire you to give your pressure cooker another try? Here it is, straight from my cookbook "Gourmet Underway - A Sailor's Cookbook:

Pollo Radido w/Garlic & Red Wine

"Pollo rapido" is Spanish for 'Fast Chicken," and this recipe lives up to its name! Inexpensive chicken thighs plus tarragon, garlic and red wine, and all done in little more than 6 minutes total cooking time in the pressure cooker. What more could a harried skipper ask for? I usually serve this with hot buttered noodles sprinkled with chopped cilantro, or a mound of steamed white rice. A tropical fruit salad will round out the meal. Serves 4 hungry sailors.

Ingredients:
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
12 large cloves or garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Sprinkle salt and pepper onto the thighs to season, then heat olive oil in the cooker over high heat and when it's smoking, add the garlic and red wine. Lock on the cooker lid and over high heat bring the cooker to pressure and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off heat and allow cooker to sit for another 2 minutes to finish cooking. Now, release any remaining pressure and transfer the thighs to a serving platter and keep warm. Finally, heat cooker and reduce the broth over high heat for a couple of minutes, then stir in butter and when melted, pour over the thighs. Garnish with a little extra tarragon if desired. Serve with buttered noodles or steam rice.

Fair winds and fine dining to you,

Robbie
Thanks, Robbie. I'll try it when we get home. One question--what pressure level is needed for the dish? The p cooker we have at home has 3 settings--5, 10, and 15 lbs pressure.

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