Lagostina Pronto question...

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by locomouse, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Hello to all! :)

    I just bought this pressure cooker today.  I realize that even with the two stage pressure  (green and red) shimmy shangas (my take) this unit will never realize the 15 psi that seems to be most coveted....

    But my question is this:  The manual (well... it's woefully short of being a manual) that comes with this unit says nothing whatsoever about filling the unit when it comes to cooking things like ribs.  Which is what I'd like to cook tomorrow....

    Should I use the steamer rack that ships with this unit?  How many ribs can I cook at once?  How much liquid ( and what kind of liquid ) should I use?

    How do I know when the unit is 'percolating' at peak performance?

    Really, for the price of the thing... I'd truly like to see something more in the way of "here's how to do stuff"... but, sadly... aside from how to clean the unit... there's nothing in the instructions.

    Any advice/help/caveats would be extremely appreciated!

    Thanks so much,

    Helen
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Amazinggrace will hopefully be along shortly with all the links and information you need.
     
  3. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence,  phatch.  Hi Helen,  I'll be happy to try to help you figure this out.  First thing I need to know is the make, model and size of the pressure cooker.  Once I know this information,  we can talk about cooking the ribs.   Grace
     
  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Make and Model sound like Langostina and Pronto respectively. A little googling makes it look like the Pronto is only available in a 6 liter size.

    http://www.lagostina.ca/html/productDetail.asp?idstore=&idpro=351&idcat=23&idsubcat=45

    More reading it only hits 8 and 12 pounds pressure with the valve system they use.  Should be close enough to figure an extra time percentage for most recipes I think.  They have a good pdf file with recipes and instructions. 

    http://www.lagostina.ca/images/booklet-english1.pdf
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  5. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Thanks for all the info, phatch.  By this time of night I get medicine brain,  so I need all the help I can get.  I found the Pronto at the Lagostina site,  and it's sure a pretty thing! 

    Yes, you will want to place the ribs in the steaming rack,  above the liquid.  Use between 1 and 1 1/2 cups water.  You may brush the ribs with sauce and whatever seasoning you like, but do not try to use sauce as your only liquid.  It will not produce enough steam,  and it will burn.  Do not fill the cooker more than 2/3 full.  The space above the food is required head room for steam.  Use natural pressure release. 

    Here is a website where you can find the conversion for cooking with less than 15psi.  

    www.missvickie.com

    Off the top of my head,  I think you would increase the cooking time by 20%.  At 15psi,  ribs need 10 minutes of pressure,  so for 12psi,  add 2 more minutes.  The ribs should be done so that the bone can easily be pulled out,  but not so much that the meat literally falls off the bone.  Layer the ribs in such a way that they are not closely packed in.  You want the steam to circulate.  If you are doing a large amount of ribs,  you will need to do them in several batches.  It will not be necessary to change the cooking liquid,  just be sure you have at least 1 cup.  

    I'm going to do a little more research to make sure I gave you the correct conversion.  Grace

    I was correct about the adjustment.  When you get to the website,  click on "cook 101",  then when the menu appears on the left side of the screen,  scroll down to Pressure cooker conversion chart.  That will give you the information you need. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2010
  6. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Grace and phatch... thank you ever so much for this information!  I surely appreciate your time and trouble.

    Grace, when you say "use natural pressure release"... does that mean NOT to cool the unit under cold water? 

    It is a 6L unit (awesome sleuthing, phatch... ;) and I want to just cook the ribs in water because they will then be simmered in a dry garlic sauce.  I'll probably have to do them in batches because there are quite a few of them.  So, if I have to let the cooker cool of its own accord, I'd better start supper right now!  lol!

    I'm off to view the links you both have provided.  Again, I can't thank you enough for your help.  I've never had a pressure cooker before and I'm more than a little nervous about using it.

    Warmest regards,

    Helen
     
  7. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Helen, yes,  "natural pressure release" is allowing the pressure to drop on it's own.   This allows for 2 things.  One is additional cooking time.  The other reason is that some foods foam (in particular, meats, grains and beans, but there are others as well).  With these foods, fill the cooker no more than half full,  and use natural pressure release to prevent food particles from being carried via steam into the operating valve.  If you are "pressure steaming" above the cooking liquid,  you an cheat with the fill rule.  Quick release of pressured meats can force the juices out of meats, resulting in a dry and tougher product. 

    I hope your ribs were a success.  Please let us know how they turned out.  G. 
     
  8. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Thank you for all of this wonderful information, Grace!

    The ribs were to die for!  I did exactly as you suggested... sort of criss-crossed them in the basket (after browning them in a seperate frying pan -- I'm a glutton for washing tons of pots and pans for just one meal) gave them a dash of salt and pepper and then added 1 1/2 cups of bottled water. 

    Set it on the burner with the heat turned to high, and when the indicator valve leaped up (minor heart attack on my part... I was so nervous going into this that I was nearly unfit for the task) and the pressure valve started to spew out steam, I turned it to #3 (electric range) and let it cook for 12 minutes.  Then took it off the burner and let it cool down until the indicator valve dropped back down into the pot which took 13 minutes.

    When I took the lid off the pc I could see that the meat had shrunk along the bone and a toothpick test revealed that it was as tender and cooked as could be.  I said a wee thank you prayer and transferred the ribs to the (already boiled) dry garlic sauce. 

    Just before supper time I brought the pot up to a simmer, then served up the ribs.

    My goodness!  Awesome is the only word I can use to tell you how good they were!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  I wouldn't have done this without your help, Grace!!

    What I'd like to attempt now is some chicken breasts (two actually... there's only my husband and myself to cook for) that would be infused with a lemon/pepper mixture.

    I've been to Miss Vickie's site looking for recipes but it appears she's in the middle of revamping the pages so I can't find too many right now.

    Even though I had done some homework (on the web) before buying this Lagostina pressure cooker... and knowing I would be better off opting for a cooker that could realize 15 psi, I have to say that I'm more than impressed with this little gadget now that I've seen it in action and tasted the results.

    I'm not so afraid of it now that I understand how it works.  But, again, I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to attempt anything without your post.

    Many hugs and thanks to you, Grace!!

    :)  :)

    Helen
     
  9. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Hi Helen.  It was a pleasure helping you,  and I'm glad the ribs were successful.  Pressure cooking is such a pleasant and easy way to prepare any variety of foods.  I'm passionate about it...can you guess? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif

    Chicken breasts are quite simple.  Either remove the skin or leave it on...your choice. 

    Brown them.  Actually,  I do the browning right in the cooker,  then deglaze the pan with the cooking liquid,  which I make into a sauce when the meat is done.  Once browned,  place the meat in the basket over the cooking liquid and season with your lemon-pepper mixture and don't forget the salt if there is none in the lemon mix.  Lock on the lid, bring to pressure for 8 min @ psi,  or 9.6 min @ 12 psi.  Let pressure drop naturally. 

    You will need only 1 cup of liquid.  Trust  me, it won't boil dry unless you fall asleep for 30 minutes (don't do that!).  I suggest using white wine, or chicken broth and infuse the liquid with lemon zest.  When done,  you can thicken this with a little corn starch or arrowroot,  or just stir in a pat or two of (real) butter.  Mmm...making me want to make some right now!

    Grace
     
  10. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Oh... many thanks for this bit of info, Grace... I truly appreciate your time and expertise!

    If I could just examine one bit of advice.  I read something on Miss Vickie's site about 'infusing' flavor into things like chicken.  If I recall correctly, she says infusion takes place "under water"... meaning that the meaty bits are fully submerged.

    Is that necessary?  With chicken breasts... will chicken stock and lemon zest be infused into the meat while cooking above the liquid?

    Actually... could you come over for a day or two and let me watch your poetry in motion?  lol!

    That would be the ticket, I'm sure... but...

    Seriously... I'm trying to get a handle on whether the meat should be submerged in the broth/recipe... or hover above it.

    You can't imagine how thankful I am to have you on the other end of this quest.

    Thanks again, Grace!

    Helen
     
  11. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    I typically suspend meat above the liquid, unless a recipe specifically says otherwise.  With the instructions for the chicken breast,  the flavor of the broth or wine will not influence the chicken much because it's really the steam that's doing the cooking.  But there will be flavorful drippings into the liquid from the chicken, that will enhance the wine and/or broth when you make the sauce.  The same with the lemon zest.  Now,  if you plan to brown the chicken with the skin on,  you might put some seasonings and lemon zest under the skin before beginning the browning.    Even if you skin the chicken,  you can make a pocket in the chicken for some of the seasoning and/or zest and/or herbs (I like fresh rosemary).  You certainly may cover the chicken with the liquid instead.  However this results in chicken that has essentially been boiled.  And there's nothing wrong with that. But I think pressure-steaming produces a better finished product.  I hope this helps. 

    Thanks for the gracious invitation.  I would love to spend time introducing you to various pressure cooker techniques,  but I cannot get away from here right now.  Grace
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  12. locomouse

    locomouse

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    " You certainly may cover the chicken with the liquid instead.  However this results in chicken that has essentially been boiled.  And there's nothing wrong with that. But I think pressure-steaming produces a better finished product.  I hope this helps."

    Yes, it helps immensely, Grace... thank you so much!

    I just wrote an entire tome here and then somehow hit a key that took me back to Google.  Sigh... and all was lost.

    What I was saying at the time was that I would cook skinless bone-in chicken breasts above the water line with lots of spices and report back here.

    I can't thank you enough.... but I'll try...  thank you so very much for your help and advice.

    You are "amazing"... Grace... :)

    Helen
     
  13. mikelm

    mikelm

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    This is a nice site populated by nice people, isn't it!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

    Mike
     
  14. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Hi Grace... Hi everyone...

    Well, I haven't tried the chicken breasts as of yet... but I did another round of ribs in the pressure cooker.

    I have another question, if I may.  It's about the timing.  Should I start the timing when the pressure valve "leaps to"... or when the thing starts steaming through the pressure vent?

    Probably it's not so crucial with ribs... but I'm thinking the chicken will be more prone to being overcooked if I get this wrong.

    In my case, there is a good thirty seconds to one minute between the time that the pressure valve engages and the pressure vent begins spewing steam.

    And I wonder when that 'golden moment' is the time to start counting down the cooking minutes.

    Just to let you know... the second time I did the ribs I went with a home made barbeque sauce and, oh my... they were beyond sublime!!

    Thank you again for all the help.... and for sticking with a newbie's questions... ;)

    Hugs to all,

    Helen
     
  15. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Should be when the steam comes out I would think.
     
  16. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Helen,  you should begin timing the pressure cycle when steam starts coming from the operating valve. At this same time you will also want to reduce the heat to just what is needed to maintain a slight emission of steam during the pressure cycle.  The pressure stem popping up indicates that steam is building inside the pot, but it does not mean that you have reached full pressure.  The pressure stem also activates one of the cooker's integrated safety features, as once that stem pops up, the lid cannot be unlocked.  (It is possible to override this feature to remove the lid, but only an idiot would want to do that!). 

    I'm so glad you are enjoying your pressure cooker.  Keep up the good work.  Gracie

    BTW, I bought a digital timer.  Wonderful investment...under $15.  I had been using the timer on the microwave,  but one day HubbyDearest reset it by accident...grrrr.  Fortunately, no real harm was done,  but this was my wakeup call none the less.  G
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  17. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Thank you phatch and Grace... advice well taken... :)

    I use the digital timer that came with my new stove.  I hear you, Grace.... I've had my microwave timer usurped by an unsuspecting husband.  I've tossed more hard boiled eggs than I'd care to admit... ;)

    Your time and words are most appreciated.

    Hugs,

    Helen
     
  18. fvan

    fvan

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    Hi-I hope that reviving this thread doen't break any forum rules, it's just that this thread played a key role in my purchasing a Pronto. While I'm a fairly experienced cook, I never ventured into pressure cooking due to family prejudice.

    The discussion here made the pronto seem like a good choice for a starter pressure cooker and it was on sale so I picked one up. Everything seems straightforward but I'm a bit confused about one thing. The cooker comes with a small steam basket, a valve cleaner and a v-shaped piece of metal that seems like it should hang something or prop something up, but I can't figure out what, and the book makes no mention of it.

    Can anyone tell me what this item is for? Thanks in advance.

    Frank
     
  19. locomouse

    locomouse

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    Hi Frank... everyone... :)

    That V-shaped piece is to prop the basket up off the floor of the cooker.  You many have to pull the two side bits away from each other (like pulling apart a wish bone) until it fits nicely in the bottom of the pot.  Prong sides facing downward.  Then place the basket in on top of that. 

    Took me a bit to figure that out, too. 

    A little tip:  It will make your life (and clean-up) a lot easier if you use a non-stick spray on the basket and the V-shaped piece before cooking stuff.  For nice, shiny chrome, it sure hangs on to the cooked stuff.

    Have fun with your pressure cooker... I'm really loving mine!  And this is a great forum... lots of helpful, delightful folks... :)

    All the best,

    Helen
     
  20. fvan

    fvan

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    Hi Helen,

    Thanks for the info-I've been travelling, but got home this weekend and was able to try it out. The stand works much better when stretched out as you said-it was so unstable I couldn't imagine how it would work once the cooker was pressurized.I tried some chicken ribs and had lots of success with them, and with following the suggestion for making sauce as well. I think beef ribs will be my next project.

    Thanks again for your help I'm glad I bought the Pronto and I'm looking forward to experimenting.

    Frank