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Home Cooking 9

Cooking time for lentils in a pressure cooker affected by other ingredients?

FelafelBoy | Jan 17, 201211:59 AM

From the recipe in the book "Beyond Pressure Cooker," I made "Morrocan Lentil Stew," consisting basically of lentils, Kachoba squash, stock, and tomatoes.

The time to cook lentils in a pc normally is about 7 minutes.
I cooked the stew for about 11 minutes (recipe called for a time of 7 to 10 minutes).
While other ingredients were done, the lentils were a little tougher than "al dente."
(I had let the cooker naturally cool down, which took about 4 minutes before the valve on my Fagor Elite cooker dropped down.)

After tasting the toughness of the lentils, I added a little more vegetable stock, brought pressure up, and cooked for an additional 5 minutes and allowed for natural cooling down of the cooker. The lentils were now tender, but the squash had gotten a little too soft.

Why did the lentils not cook in 11 minutes? Was it due to the other ingredients that the lentils were cooking in, such as the olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, hungarian paprika, freshly diced tomatoes, green chili peppers, and cumin?

(the technique used - chopped onions were sauteed in 3 T of mild/light olive oil, spices added, stirred for
a few seconds, rest of ingredients added, stirred for about 5 to 10 seconds, then homemade vegetable stock
added, stirred all, closed cover, brought to pressure, and cooked).

Note that there was still some liquid left in the dish after cooking time had expired, so it wasn't as if there wasn't sufficient liquid for the lentils to cook in.

I know that sometimes when beans/legumes are "old," that they can be tough and should be soaked overnight, but I thought that lentils, being so tender, did not need this treatment. The lentils I used were at least several years old.

Also, could I have used canned diced tomatoes, or would they have turned to a soupy mush versus using freshly diced tomatoes?

I have read that when beans are pressure cooked, some are toughened when subject to other ingredients, such as salt and other ingredients, but if a many ingredients composing a dish are being cooked all at one time, will the beans not be "toughened" by being cooked at the same time?

Bottom line - the dish came out very well, but next time I will cut down on the hot peppers!!

Can the cooking time of lentils in a pressure cooker be affected by other ingredients in the dish it is being cooked with?

A recipe I used for Moroccan Lentil Stew called for a cooking time of 7 to 10 minutes for the entire dish consisting of lentils, kabocha squash (cubed), vegetable broth, diced fresh tomatoes, chopped onions, a small amount of chopped hot peppers, and various spices such as cayenne pepper, hungarian paprika, cumin, all sauteed in olive oil. (salt added before the cover of the cooker was sealed).

After 10 minutes, there was some liquid still left but the lentils were still a bit tougher than al dente. I added more broth to be on the safe side, and cooked for another 5 minutes. After reducing pressure the natural way I found that the lentils were now cooked as desired, but the cubed squash had gotten softer than I wanted.

Was it the oil and/or the salt that caused the lentils to not tenderize within ten minutes, or could the age (were at least several years old) of the lentils cause the "toughness" requiring additional cooking time?

(the kabocha squash resembled the taste of mild sweet potatoes - would the cooking time be the same? peeling the squash was laborious, but due to the thinness of the skin was accomplished with success).

I thought that when beans/legumes are pressure cooked, it is advisable to not add certain other ingredients during the cooking time to avoid "toughness," but if the beans are pressure cooked at the same time as other ingredients due to the nature of a dish, should these toughening ingredients be avoided and added only at the end of cooking?

I use a Fagor Elite pressure cooker (one setting - high, at 15 psi).

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