As a fan of kitchen gadgets, I have often coveted a new invention touted as "the best thing since sliced bread" only to find, after buying, that it was simply another item to take up limited space in a cupboard or drawer. Not so with the electric pressure cooker my spouse and I received as a Christmas gift about three years ago. An electric pressure cooker is similar to the older stove top pressure cookers, but with electronics to automate some functions and enhance safety.

The brand we have is Instant Pot, but other brands seem to vary only slightly. The main difference I've noticed is the Instant Pot liner is stainless steel with copper clad base, rather than the non-stick aluminum found in many competitive brands. Also, if you are interested in making your own yogurt (I was), the Instant Pot includes a yogurt setting.

One of my favorite uses for the electric pressure cooker is cooking dry pinto beans to make a bean soup. The advantage with the Instant Pot is the shorter cooking time and no need for soaking the beans. A pot of beans that would normally require between 4 and 5 hours to cook can be prepared in less than an hour.

With a price tag of less than a hundred U.S. dollars this is worth trying out. You might even talk one of your kids into getting you one for Christmas. That's what we did!

I have the current largest electric pressure cooker on the market, a 13 quart Nutripot. Like npecom mentions above, it is a game changer in the kitchen.

My fellow Americans and I just celebrated Thanksgiving where we have a calm and enjoyable gathering to enjoy a huge turkey feast. Frozen and fresh turkeys will be on discount for the next week as the supermarkets try to clear out some space for Christmas hams. I already have an extra turkey in my chest freezer. Time to stock up!

This year I cooked a whole 16lb turkey in my giant pressure cooker. From the freezer, stripped naked, and then right to the pot. The turkey. No thawing for five days and getting turkey liquids all over the nice, clean refrigerator. The hardest part was getting the gizzards and neck out, but a bit of hot water accomplished that task.

That's right, you can pressure cook a frozen turkey easily. Like a cat who just found an empty box from Amazon on your floor, if it fits it sits (and in this case, cooks.)

Place a trivet in the bottom of the pot so the turkey doesn't get a burned spot. Add one cup of chicken broth and one of water to the bottom. On top of the trivet, I usually place three quartered onions, five sectioned carrots, a half-dozen celery stalks chopped, and a minced garlic clove. Unceremoniusly deposit the bird on top. Make sure you remove the plastic pop-up thermometer and the leg restraints to reduce the levels of tasty BPA from leeching into the food. At this point I usually give it a healthy coating of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. 

Pop on the lid and set it to pressure cook for 75 minutes. Go binge-watch Netflix or Hulu or Disney+. When it finishes, leave it alone until the pressure naturally releases. When the pressure pin drops, open up the pot and immediately use a thermometer to check the temperature of the breast and the inner thigh to make sure they are at the right temperature as per the bird's wrapper. If it's not there yet, put the lid back on a cook for another 5 to 10 minutes under pressure.

Now you have the most tender, juiciest turkey you've ever eaten. Note that there is no crispy outer skin. If you desire that, carefully pull the bird out and transfer to a roasting pan and roast/broil for about ten minutes in the oven. Poof, instant crispy skin. Some folks use a chef's blowtorch to crisp up the skin.

You'll be amazed how clean the bones are, since everything falls off with little prodding.

Now you know what to do when you suddenly have an army coming over for dinner at the last minute. Save the leavings and veggies as a delicious starter for turkey soup.

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