Prairie Fare: Do You Cook Under Pressure?

Julie Garden-Robinson

“This would make a good column,” my husband announced as he walked into the kitchen clutching a handful of papers.

Oh, boy, what did I do? I thought to myself.

“What were you trying to print?” he asked.

“I was printing a recipe,” I noted.

I thought I clicked on “print recipe” not “print everything.” I should have called up the recipe on my phone, but the screen is very small.

I began paging through 30 pages of comments about the recipe.

When I arrived at the recipe at the bottom of my new stack of scratch paper, I had bad news.

This Recipe Was Cooked In A Multifunction Cooker Photo Courtesy Of The North Dakota Beef Commission.

“We need to stop the pressure cooker,” I said. “The recipe needs more broth.”

We had company arriving in 90 minutes, and I had a 90-minute recipe to make.

Fortunately, the appetizers were ready.

“Will you release the pressure for me?” I asked.

“Your projects always become my projects,” he said with a grin.

“You’re a really good cook and very mechanically inclined,” I replied.

He glanced in my direction. I’m not sure he found my comment sincere.

I handed him two potholders, then I backed away from the countertop as the steam flowed quickly out the vent during the pressure release. No one was burned in this dinner-making process.

Fortunately, the corned beef brisket was forgiving of the slight interruption and repressurizing. The meat was fork tender after a 90-minute cook under pressure. The cabbage, potatoes and carrots only took a few minutes to cook. Our guests were content after the meal.

Many of us grew up eating pressure-cooked meals made on the stovetop in appliances with a jiggling weight on top. Pressure cookers fell out of fashion until recent innovations. The new versions are much more versatile and safer than the slightly noisy appliances of yesteryear.

You can find “multifunction cookers” or “multicookers” sold under a variety of brand names, such as Instant Pot or Crockpot. As their name implies, the appliances have a range of functions. Most can slow cook, saute, sear, simmer, steam or warm foods. Many more “add-on” items, such as racks and pans, are available.

Besides main-dish meals such as stews, soups and roasts, you can make meatloaf, hard-cooked eggs, rice, yogurt and even cheesecakes.

Perhaps you have a multicooker but you haven’t used it recently or at all. Take it out of the box and put it to work.

Be sure to read and follow the instructions for your particular model. Reading instructions is not always exciting, but it is a necessity. You also can watch videos online if you prefer.

Learn the functions of the buttons and explore recipes that were created for your appliance to get started.

Although you can make a variety of items, a multifunction cooker has some limits. You cannot deep fry and you cannot pressure can safely in a multifunction cooker.

Be sure to plug the multifunction cooker directly into the outlet and do not use an extension cord. Don’t leave your home when you are using your pressure cooker.

We are launching an educational effort with Extension family and community wellness agents in North Dakota in more than half of the counties. We will be teaching people about beef cuts, nutrition and food safety as we explore recipes made in a multifunction cooker.

The North Dakota Beef Commission is sponsoring our efforts. Watch for announcements of community-based classes in coming months.

This recipe is courtesy of and the Beef Checkoff. Two of the four variations are provided, and the link to the additional recipe variations is provided.

Four-Way Shredded Beef (Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker)

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) beef shoulder roast (or use a chuck roast)

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (see slow cooker directions)

1 large onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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