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January 2000 Issue
Kuhn Rikon's Duromatic Duo
by Ronda L. Halpin
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The Pros
Like all other pressure cookers, the Duromatic Duo offers an unparalleled opportunity to bring meals to the table in minutes rather than hours, which makes it a perfect choice for those with busy lifestyles. However, these pressure cookers do present several obvious advantages over older pressure cooker models.

First, the spring-loaded valve system practically eliminates all of the escaping steam and combination of hissing and bumping associated with older models of pressure cookers. Once the pressure inside the cooker has been maintained, a cook has little concern about the quiet cooker working away on the back burner of his or her stove. This hands-off approach allows a cook to use the extra time to prepare other dishes for the meal or enjoy a well-deserved rest. Either way, it only helps to add to the cooking experience.

Second, the inclusion of a tempered glass lid makes using the pots as conventional cookware second nature. For the cook that has limited storage and/or budget, the Duromatic Duo makes perfect sense. For the price of a good set of pressure cookers, a cook also secures a handy stockpot/saucepan and a versatile frying pan. This dual nature also lends itself very well to making meals that utilize one cooker as a pressure cooker and the other as a conventional pan. In fact, included in the literature is a brief pamphlet of examples of such meals.

Third, the design of the pressure cooking lid makes the nightmare of exploding pressure cookers practically impossible. Safety features ranging from self-regulating pressure valves to flanges for emergency pressure release make cooking with the Duromatic Duo pressure cookers easy and safe.

Finally -- and perhaps most intriguing to those familiar with first generation pressure cookers -- the introduction of a new method of releasing pressure that allows a cook to remove the pressure cooking lid without interrupting the cooking process is a welcome feature. By depressing the black valve cap on the lid, steam is released through the openings in the valve. Once all of the pressure has been released, a cook can easily remove the lid and add ingredients, check for doneness or sneak a taste!

The Cons
While the overall performance of Kuhn Rikon's Duromatic Duo is first rate, there are a few caveats to keep in mind about the set. First, in order to maintain the desired pressure, one must reduce the heat to avoid building too much pressure in the cooker. This can be difficult to achieve, especially with electric burners. Kuhn Rikon suggests that a cook either remove the cooker from the heat source for a few minutes to allow it to cool down after the temperature has been reduced or, if another burner is available, set it on the lowest setting when you begin cooking and move the pot to that burner when the desired pressure has been reached. These methods are both effective, but it does take a little practice to master maintaining the desired pressure.

Second, when using the touch release method of releasing pressure, the valve often becomes quite warm to the touch. It should be noted that using a wooden spoon to depress the valve cap completely rectifies this problem.

The Meals
Foods that benefit most from pressure cooking are those that often require longer cooking times such as:

  • soups
  • meats
  • vegetables
  • potatoes
  • legumes
A pot roast that normally takes over 3 hours to prepare in the oven can take about an hour to prepare using a pressure cooker. Savory black bean dishes that take almost 3 hours to prepare using conventional methods can take as little as 10 minutes in a pressure cooker. Now that's fast food!

Because little or no steam escapes during cooking, fewer vitamins and minerals are lost in the cooking liquid or dissipated into the air. The result is healthier meals that require less seasoning and retain more vivid color. The increased pressure also helps to mingle the flavors combined in a pot, so sauces and soups take less time to take on familiar flavors that often take hours to achieve.

In addition to everything from split pea soup to lemon cheesecake (yes, a cook can make cheesecakes in a pressure cooker!), pressure cookers can also be used to preserve foods. Fruits, vegetables and fish can all be canned for later enjoyment. Of course, certain safety precautions should be followed when canning foods. For more information on canning food using a pressure cooker, visit http://home-canning.com.

Resources
For more information about the Duromatic Duo or some great seasonal pressure cooker recipe ideas, visit http://www.eurocooking.com or http://www.kuhnrikon.com.

Kuhn Rikon products are available at over 300 retailers from coast to coast as well as through some high-end catalogs. For information about nearby retailers, call 1-800-662-5882.

Putting It All To Work
The Duromatic Duo is ideal for everyday use and is geared towards cooks with the busy lifestyle so often encountered in today's world. Its versatility combined with its ease of use make it a must for those who love their time in the kitchen, but find themselves with less and less of it these days.

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