When writer, speaker, and registered dietitian Jill Nussinow offered to send me a copy of her new DVD Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes, I said yes faster than you can pressure cook a potato. I’ve been a fan of pressure cooking for years and often write here about what a time-saver my cooker is. Since I grew up watching my mother use hers, I never felt the fear of pressure cooking that some people do. My first pressure cooker was one of the jiggly type, but I became an even bigger fan when I bought my newer model. Modern pressure cookers are much less scary than their ancestors; they no longer hiss and puff steam like metal dragons, and most have at least three safety valves built in so there’s no danger of it exploding and showering you with scalding split-pea soup. But old fears die hard, and I still hear of people who won’t use a pressure cooker no matter how much time and energy it would save. (And it would definitely save a lot of both!)
So I appreciate all of Jill’s work teaching people about the safety, nutrition, and speed of pressure cooking. For those of us who aren’t able to attend one of her classes or cooking demonstrations, her DVD is a great chance to watch her in action. In it, she covers all the basics that you need to know as she prepares 14 dishes (including two desserts). The DVD includes a booklet with the complete recipes so that you can easily make the recipes at home. Everything Jill creates looks delicious, particularly the Spiced Red Rice with French Green Lentils and the Garlicky Green Bean Potato Salad, but when I saw her make Herbed Polenta in just minutes, I knew what I would be making.
I love polenta and have cooked it in several ways, including in the microwave, but I’ve got to tell you that none of those ways were as easy as making it in the pressure cooker; it came out lump-free without all the stirring that other cooking methods require. I stirred the water as I poured the polenta into the cooker and stirred it again after it was cooked, and it was thick and smooth. After pouring it into two 8-inch pans to cool, I cut it into cubes and toasted them in a non-stick skillet. Jill’s recipe called for fresh herbs, most of which I had in my garden, and the resulting polenta was probably the most flavorful I’ve ever had. While the polenta cubes stayed warm in the oven, I made up a quick sauté of beans, mushrooms, and some baby bok choy from my garden to go on top.
Herbed Polenta with Beans and Bok Choy
- 1 recipe Herbed Polenta below
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red yellow, or orange bell pepper, chopped (or a combination of colors)
- 8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 6 ounces baby bok choy sliced
- 1 14- ounce can kidney or cannelloni beans drained (or beans of choice)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
- Optional: Vegan Parmesan
- Make the polenta according to the directions below. After polenta is firm, cut into cubes and either broil them on an oiled baking sheet or brown them in a non-stick pan, turning after one side is brown. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- In a large non-stick skillet, sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes, until it softens. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and add a sprinkle of salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until mushrooms soften. Add the broth, bok choi, beans, and basil, stir well, and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes, until bok choy is wilted but still bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in vinegar. Serve atop polenta cubes, sprinkled with vegan Parmesan, if desired.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Herbed Polenta (from Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look by Jill Nussinow)
- 4 1/4 cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons chopped basil I used 2 teaspoons dried
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- Bring the water to a boil in the cooker. Stirring, sprinkle the polenta into the water. Add the garlic, salt, bay leaf, half of the basil and parsley, the oregano and rosemary. Lock the lid in place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Immediately lower the heat to maintain pressure for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let the pressure come down and release any remaining pressure after 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir the polenta well. If the polenta seems too thin, simmer while stirring for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle with remaining herbs and serve as is or pour into pie pans to cool. When cool, cut into slices or brush with oil and pan sauté or grill.
Nutritional info is approximate.
LeslieMarch 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm
I made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful. This was my first time cooking polenta. It was so easy. Thanks for the recipe!
AnonymousMarch 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm
Found your blog and hoping someone can give me some help. Picked up a second-hand pressure cooker T-Fal Clipso 7.5 L but no instruction manual or basket. Anyone know where I can order a basket or maybe someone could get me started with a copy of their manual? Mine has the one-step release and a 3 stage valve (0, steam, 1 & 2 settings). TXKS! Karen at email@example.com
elleJuly 4, 2010 at 1:55 am
I have had mixed experiences with polenta in the pressure cooker. I will try again with this technique – clearly my recipe required the polenta to cook for far too long!
I am starting a monthly series on my blog to post pressure cooker recipes. I hope you enjoy them and consider sharing them with your readers. Up now, are 20 minute lentils. Next week, I will have a step-by-step risotto and next month I have not yet decided on either a creme brulee or a cold veal roast.
elleJuly 4, 2010 at 2:01 am
Oops! sorry for putting my keyboard in my mouth. i don’t think cold veal roast or creme brulee would work for your readers!
elleAugust 26, 2010 at 4:28 am
Hi Susan… me again! I wanted to let you know that I wrote a detailed article on making polenta in the pressure cooker. I hope you enjoy it!
Jim PMay 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm
I’m going to give this recipe a try. One question… since you seem to be a big fan of the pressure cooker, why would you use canned beans??
SusanVMay 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm
Canned beans are still faster than pressure cooked, so when I’m running short on time (hungry kid demanding to be fed), I use canned. People can always substitute the same amount of home-cooked beans.
Jade Asian GreensAugust 9, 2013 at 9:14 am
Love this! How simple, nutritious and perfectly easy! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you made it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on super healthy Asian green vegetables like baby bok choy, gai lan, dau miu (pea shoots), yu choy, gai choy, etc. https://www.facebook.com/Jade.Asian.Greens
–Your friendly Southern California farmers at Jade Asian Greens
Jeanne GoldAugust 5, 2016 at 8:52 pm
What kind of pressure cooker do you have? I’m looking to get one and I was confused by the number of choices.
Susan VoisinAugust 5, 2016 at 10:11 pm
I use an electric pressure cooker now because it makes it so much easier–you just set the time and it takes care of the rest. I have this one: http://amzn.to/2aPfzqp
Jeanne GoldAugust 6, 2016 at 2:32 am