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Advice on first (only?) pressure cooker? Fagor Chef?

karptonite | Aug 12, 201307:24 AM

I've been reading reviews and discussions about pressure cookers trying to decide what model to get, and I'm having trouble coming to a decision. I hope that some of you who are experienced with pressure cookers can offer some advice.

I'd like a pressure cooker first of all to make and freeze stock, and also to cook foods that I cook less often right now because of the time involved--legumes, stews, etc. 99% of the time, I cook for 2, but occasionally have up to 6 or so with guests.

I'm choosing a pressure cooker to add to my (and my fiancee's) wedding registry. While on the one hand we want to keep the price down, our registry is a bit skimpy at the moment (we have a lot of stuff already), so it doesn't have to be a bargain model.

I figure I need at least 6 quarts (for stock) and have been influenced by the Cook's Illustrated writeup that suggests 8 quarts is the most useful size. I certainly don't want to go smaller than 6, but I question whether I need 8 quarts.

The leading condender right now is the 8 quart Fagor Chef, but I'm not sure--that may be bigger than I need, is certainly is a bit fancier, and is expensive enough that I hesitate, considering that I've never used a pressure cooker, and am not sure how much use it would end up getting used.

For other big pots, currently I have an old 8 quart stockpot and a 6 quart dutch oven, both of which get a good amount of use. We are also thinking of adding a 12 quart stockpot with a pasta insert to the registry. (I go back and forth on whether we need this--I'd be getting it because the 8 quart stockpot is a bit small when I make stock... but if I'm getting the pressure cooker for stock also, will the 12 quart see much use?)

I've leaned toward the Fagor Chef for a couple of reasons: first, I like the idea of an indicator that shows not only whether I've reached pressure at all, but also what pressure level I've reached. That sounds handy. Second, I also like the idea that the Chef comes with a separate glass lid to use the pot as a normal stockpot. Space is at a premium in our kitchen, and maybe this would allow me to get rid of the old 8 quart stockpot?

But I'm open to other suggestions. If using the Chef as a stockpot isn't practical for some reason, maybe I should just got with the 6 quart? Maybe some other brand I haven't considered is a better option? Maybe I should go with the 10 quart Chef (which is currently cheaper than the 8 quart on amazon, oddly) and skip the 12 quart stockpot (unlikely)? Maybe the multilevel indicator is a gimmick that I shouldn't be interested in, and I should just go with the cheaper and well-reviewed Fagor Duo?

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