Quick, Healthy, Handy
Are you always looking for ways to prepare nutritious hot meals for the family and not spend hours in the kitchen? Well, we are! We are always searching for the best kitchen shortcuts and tools, and have now added the pressure cooker to our list of "kitchen helpers."
Forget the horror stories that you have heard about exploding pressure cooker pots and food splattered on the ceiling and walls. The design of the modern pressure cooker safety valve eliminates that scary feature from years ago. We were delighted when we received the WMF Perfect Plus Pressure Cooker 6.5 liter model for testing. However, don't think that we didn't think of those old exploding pots because we did. But we did our homework – we read the operating instructions twice and researched pressure cookers.
Unlike the slow cooker, which is a countertop electrical cooking appliance that uses a relatively low temperature to maintain a simmering liquid over a long period of unattended cooking time, the pressure cooker is the opposite. It requires a minimum amount of liquid, a minimum amount of cooking time, is used on the stove top, cooks the food by steam pressure build-up in the pot, and must be attended. The quick cooking time preserves vitamins and nutrients and saves energy. Pressure cooking is often used to simulate the effects of long braising or simmering in shorter periods of time.
The WMF Perfect Plus Pressure Cooker is made in Germany by the WMF Corporation. Founded in 1853, they are the manufactures of tableware, premium cookware, electrical appliances, cutleries, knives, and coffee machines. Their products are sold throughout the world.
Basically, the Perfect Plus model is made of heavy-gauge Cromargan 18/10 stainless steel and has advanced safety features that prevent excessive pressure build-up. The handle detaches for easy cleanup as does the sealing ring. All of the parts are dishwasher safe with the exception of the sealing ring. This model comes in several sizes but the 6.5 liter is a perfect size for families. All of the recipes in the booklet were developed using this size model.
The Perfect Plus Pressure Cooker is versatile and comes with two inserts that aid in juice extracting, sterilizing and preserving. It even allows cooking with frozen food, which will cause the steam build-up time to take longer but does not impact the total steam cooking time. Food can be browned in the pot, on the stove burner, prior to starting the pressure cooker process.
We decided to use a recipe from the instruction booklet and made Quick "Barbecued Ribs". We followed the directions and it took minutes to assemble everything into the pot. We attached the lid, locked the handle and placed the pot on High heat on the stove top to start the steam build-up process. As instructed, we watched the cooking indicator. This is a round button on the handle that rises as the steam builds. It has two orange rings that indicate the level of the steam pressure.
Now comes the tricky part. When the correct pressure level is obtained, the heat is lowered to insure that it doesn't build higher. The recipe states that when the second orange ring is visible, lower the heat. We did that but we noticed that the pot started to "whistle" and steam started to escape from the main valve in the handle (there are two valves). Remembering what we read in the booklet about that happening (good thing we read it twice!), we removed the pot from the burner and lowered the heat. This happened several times but once we got the hang of it, it was easy. The ribs cooked for 25 minutes (without steam escaping through either of the safety valves) – the time starts when the proper steam level is reached. By the way, the ribs were partially frozen when we started cooking. The end result – delicious! The ribs were soft, moist, and yummy and the gravy was wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed our thirty minute meal.
We plan on using our new pressure cooker to prepare many quick, easy meals when we are short on time. Even when we do have extra time, it is a helpful kitchen tool and we will use it. The pressure cooker is suitable for preparing stews, soups, chili, pot roast, risotto, etc. So if you are looking to add a "kitchen helper", do consider the WMF Perfect Plus Pressure Cooker.