Hints for Steaming: Pressure Cookers

Pressure-cooker recipes often lapse into shorthand when they come to telling you how to release the steam. Here are translations for two common instructions. (Consult your manufacturer’s instruction booklet for more details.)

How to Release Steam

Use a quick-release method

One way to release steam quickly is to place the cooker in the sink under cold running water until the pressure drops completely. Or, if your cooker offers the option of stovetop pressure release, pulse the appropriate button or lever to release the pressure. When using this method, point the vent away from you and out into the kitchen (if the steam hits a wall, it will condense into water droplets).

Allow the pressure to come down naturally

Turn off the heat; let the cooker sit until the pressure drops of its own accord. If using an electric stove, move the cooker to a cool burner. Put all the ingredients in a 6-quart cooker; be sure not to exceed the maximum capacity level advised by the manufacturer. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat. Cook for 30 minutes. Let the pressure drop naturally. Carefully remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape. Let the stock cool slightly, then strain. Cover and refrigerate. Skim off the fat before using or freezing.

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