Monday, December 6, 2010

Pressure-cooked meat: Top sirloin

Pressure cooking relies on physics to take advantage of the high temperatures of liquids and vapors in a sealed container. The sealed container is the pressure-cooking pan. Since the sealed container does not allow liquids or vapors to escape, the pressure inside the container increases as heat is applied to the pan. This also significantly increases the temperature of the liquids and vapors inside the container, which speeds up cooking.

Pressure cooking is essentially a version of high-heat steaming. The food inside the cooker tends to be very evenly cooked. Pressure cooking is also considered to be one of the most effective cooking methods for killing food-born pathogens. Since high pressure reduces cooking time, pressure cooking is usually employed in industrial food processing.

When cooking meat, the amount of pressure used tends to affect amino-acid digestibility; more pressure decreases digestibility. High pressures in the cooker cause high temperatures. The content of some vitamins in meat and plant foods is also affected; they go down as pressure goes up. Home pressure cookers are usually set at 15 pounds per square inch (psi). Significant losses in amino-acid digestibility occur only at pressures of 30 psi or higher.

My wife and I have been pressure-cooking for quite some time. Below is a simple recipe, for top sirloin.

- Prepare some dry seasoning powder by mixing sea salt, garlic power, chili powder, and a small amount of cayenne pepper.
- Season the top sirloin pieces at least 2 hours prior to placing them in the pressure cooking pan.
- Place the top sirloin pieces in the pressure cooking pan, and add water, almost to the point of covering them.
- Cook on very low fire, after the right amount of pressure is achieved, for 1 hour. The point at which the right amount of pressure is obtained is signaled by the valve at the top of the pan making a whistle-like noise.

As with slow cooking in an open pan, the water around the cuts should slowly turn into a fatty and delicious sauce, which you can pour on the meat when serving, to add flavor. The photos below show the seasoned top sirloin pieces, the (old) pressure-cooking pan we use, and some cooked pieces ready to be eaten together with some boiled yam.

A 100 g portion will have about 30 g of protein. (That is a bit less than 4 oz, cooked.) The amount of fat will depend on how trimmed the cuts are. Like most beef cuts, the fat will be primarily saturated and monounsatured, with approximately equal amounts of each. It will provide good amounts of the following vitamins and minerals: iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.


elle pee said...

Congrats, it looks great. Let's see more of your pressure cooker recipes!


hip pressure cooking
making pressure cookers hip again, one recipe at a time!

excessive sweating said...

Pressure cooking is essentially a version of high-heat steaming. The food inside the cooker tends to be very evenly cooked.

bee said...

people from india like myself pressure cook everything. it's especially good for cooking starchy veggies.

Ned Kock said...

Hi bee.

Pressure cooking is faster, but I think that slow cooking in a pan with water (link below) makes for juicier meat.

Another country where pressure cooking is widely used for vegetables is Brazil.

Carl said...

Hi Ned, We also Pressure Cook using the same cooker that you have. We make Pulled Pork by using a Pork Shoulder dryrubbed with Garlic Powder, Cumin, Paprika, sliced halfway through about every 2 inches and Cooked for about 45 minutes to an hour with a little Cider vinegar in the water. Also we make Chicken soup using Bone in, Skin on Thighs cooked for about 1/2 hour. When cooled, remove the meat from the skin, cartilage and bones. Save the fat in the freezer and use the broth to make the soup.

Brad Kealii said...

I just got into pressure cooking. I can't wait to try this.