Home & Leisure

Handy appliance eases pressure of cooking dinner

By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Content Agency on

All too often, families rely on takeout or fast food. But what is a parent to do when that option isn't feasible?

I find that the modern pressure cooker can provide a perfect solution. Unlike the pressure cookers of old, that hissed and rumbled threateningly on the stovetop, today's electric ones are models of convenience, ease and safety. Just plug in the appliance, add your prepped ingredients, seal the lid securely and set the timer. In minutes, rather than hours, you have a delicious, satisfying one-pot meal ready to dish up.

A perfect example of just such a family-friendly supper is the following for reisfleisch. When I was growing up in Austria, this slowly simmered casserole of rice and meat (the name literally means "rice-meat") was one of my favorite dishes that my mother and grandmother served to me and my siblings. It was a delicious, economical way to feed a family generously.

The recipe adapts well to a pressure cooker. I've found a way not only to cook it much more quickly using an electric pressure cooker, but also make it healthier with brown rice, lower-fat meats and extra vegetables. Cutting up all the easy-to-find ingredients and then briefly sauteing inside the pressure cooker as it heats up will only take you not much more than about 20 minutes of active work. Then, you can seal on the lid, set the timer and leave the pressure cooker alone to do the rest, before letting the pressure release on its own. In less than an hour before you started, dinner is ready to serve.

Better still, my recipe addresses another concern among home cooks today: serving healthy food. With its lean meats, generous vegetables and brown rice, this flavorful dish derives less than 12% of its calories from fat. And it's incredibly satisfying, with the chewiness of the brown rice and the robust but not overwhelming spiciness helping everyone slow down and savor each mouthful.



Serves 8

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced organic red bell pepper

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced yellow onion


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