With sample recipe:  Chili Con Carne
pressure cooker book review by an expert
An icon on the cover of  the AWWPC cookbook announced that the recipes therein were triple tested, and a note from the food director, Pamela Clark,  in the introduction assured that she personally tested each recipe, too. The photos were incredibly inviting and…

Already own this book?  Leave a comment, below, to share your opinion too!

Pressure Cooker
by The Australian Women’s Weekly
May 2011, Kyle Books
120 Pages, 62 recipes
Purchase: amazon.com

A week after The Australian Women’s Weekly Pressure Cooker (AWWPC) Cookbook  arrived, I was expected to represent America at an event at my son’s elementary school (we live in Italy). What better food to represent America than Chili and Corn Bread.  But.. I didn’t have a go-to recipe and no time develop or adapt one. My two children were also throwing a birthday party each in their respective classrooms the same morning as International night – and I had to bake two cakes that would feed 30 children each.

I had to  go with a sure thing.  Success the first time – and in large batches to share with the Romanian, Hungarian, Kazakhstani, Pakistani, Nigerian and Italian mommies at the International Night.

An icon on the cover of  the AWWPC cookbook announced that the recipes therein were triple tested, and a note from the food director, Pamela Clark,  in the introduction assured that she personally tested each recipe, too. The photos were incredibly inviting and… who would ever know that I would be bringing an Australian recipe to represent America in Italy?!?

It’s our little secret.

This cookbook contains 62 recipes, most with  generous two-page spread. The recipe is on one page, and opposite a large photograph representing the finished dish.  The instructions include notes for electric pressure cookers – irritatingly it’s the same note at the bottom of each recipe. Missing, are recipe introductions.  You don’t think the notes are crucial until you get to “Butter Chicken” and you wonder if this is Masala sauce – the ingredients seem to indicate as much – or “Lemon Delicious” and wonder why it might be .

The recipes are divided in the following categories:

  • Soups (10 recipes)
  • Chicken (10 recipes)
  • Beef & Veal (11 recipes)
  • Lamb (15 recipes)
  • Pork (12 recipes)
  • Desserts (4 recipes)

The book’s primary recipes are classics, like Minestrone and Coq A Vin, but it also includes a few surprises like Harira (lamb and chickpea stew) and Thai Sour Chicken Curry.

Notably missing are sections on vegetables and grains, but the inside-cover flaps feature  non-pressure cooker recipes for polenta, mashed potatoes, pilaf and more.

Back to the Chili caper. The recipe was spot-on with the flavor, the quantity was a bit of a surprise. The recipe states that it serves 6 – maybe six very hungry Aussie cowboys! One recipe yielded 2.5 liters of chili- or more than 10 one-cup servings.  But, you won’t mind.  I made two batches one day ahead of the event  and the family couldn’t stop eating it.  Let’s just say that I started out with 5 liters of chili but showed-up at the event with only 3 (even there, my son was asking for bowl after bowl).  It was that good.

AWW’s Chili con Carne served with Maple Corn Bread cubes at my son’s school event.
Setting up for the event.

I cut down the chili flakes to half a teaspoon (since children would be eating it, too) and used smoked pancetta in place of the speck (you can use bacon). Having never actually seen a chorizo – I was glad to see they included weight so I could substitute the appropriate amount of cured Calabrian hot-pepper salami.

Pressure cooking beans for 15 minutes and opening the cooker quickly, as directed in the recipe, burst most of the beans. For the second batch, I pressure cooked the beans my way- 7 minutes at high pressure with Natural Open – which altogether took a little longer but yielded more visually appealing, whole, beans.

Vittorio eating chili, Adriana, me (Laura) , my neighbors and good friends David (from New York) and his wife Giuseppina and Emma with their American sweets.

The recipe was a resounding success with everyone who tasted it. Knowing that it was triple-tested gave me the confidence to show up to an event with something I had never pressure cooked, before.

The publishers were kind enough to give me permission to share the recipe with you. Now, you can try their amazing chili for yourself.

Chili con Carne

2 cups (400g) dried red kidney beans
3 small brown onions
1 dried bay leaf
6 cups (1.5 liters) water
4 1/2 ounces (150g) speck, chopped finely
1 cured chorizo sausage (170g), chopped finely
12 1/2 ounces minced (ground) beef
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 cups (560g) tomato puree
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves1  Place beans in large bowl, cover with cold water, stand overnight. Rinse under cold water; drain.Combine beans, one of the onions, bay leaf and water in 6-liter (24 cup) pressure cooker; secure lid. Bring cooker to high pressure, reduce heat to stabilize pressure; cook 15 minutes.  Release pressure using the quick release method; remove lid.  Drain beans reserving 1 1/2 cups (375mls) cooking liquid; discard onion and bay leaf.3  Finely chop remaining onions.  Cook speck and chorizo in cooker until browned.  Add onion; cook, stirring, until onion softens.  Add beef; cook, stirring until browned.  Add garlic and spices; cook stirring until fragrant. Return beans to cooker with puree, oregano and reserved cooking liquid; season to taste.  Bring cooker to high pressure. Reduce heat to stabilize pressure; cook 8 minutes. Release pressure using the quick release method; remove lid. Stand 5 minutes.4  Serve chili con carne with sour cream and sprinkled with coriander.

Serves 6.

Photos by Hip Pressure Cooking. Recipe republished with permission from the publisher.

The Australian Women’s Weekly, Pressure Cooker, ACP Books, RRP $19.95.
Available at bookstores and online at www.acpbooks.com.au

To Authors and Publishers: Have a book you would like for me to see and review?
It doesn’t have to be a new book, it can be an established book that deserves more notice and  attention, the subject should be of interest to the readers of Hip Pressure Cooking . We will ask your permission to publish one of the recipes and photograph it to show readers of this website to see what it’s all about.

Contact us to find out how to send a print or electronic copy!

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31 Comments

  1. If all the recipes in the book are as good as this one, it’s a definite buy.

    1. London Accountant, thanks for your professional opinion!

  2. The confusing thing on chorizo is that the Mexican and Spanish versions are already completely different. For an Australian recipe, I’d guess I’d presume the Spanish was in use and cured spicy salami was about what they intended!

    1. moiety, you’re correct. It’s Spanish chorizo that the recipe is expecting. At least given the book’s glossary entry for chorizo, that’s my assumption. “Chorizo – a Spanish sausage made from coarsely ground smoked pork and highly seasoned with garlic, chili powder and other spices. “

      According to Cook’s Illustrated, Spanish chorizo is made from dry cured pork, is coarsely ground, bright red with a smoky flavor derived from smoked paprika and depending on the paprika used can be sweet or hot. Mexican chorizo is made from fresh pork (or beef), is finely ground and has a pronounced spicy tanginess from chili powder and vinegar. As you say, a cured spicy salami might work and I think Andouille sausage might as well.

    2. moiety, I don’t know if the spices are different but from researching this oft-cited and delicious sounding “chorizo” – I learned that the Mexican one is a raw pork sausage. While the Spanish one is aged which dries and cures it (like a salami). By virtue of it’s preservation, the cured Spanish chorizo probably is saltier than it’s fresher Mexican namesake.

      Ciao!

      L

  3. I would agree, the photos in this book are incredibly inviting. It’s of the most visually attractive pressure cooking cookbooks I own and I have many. If you are an Aussie or otherwise have access to books published by The Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW) I would suggest that you purchase the hard cover book that the recipes in this paperback book were taken from. The books differ slightly in title. The hard cover is called The AWW Pressure CookER. The paperback book Laura reviewed is The AWW Pressure CookING. Every recipe in the paperback is in the hard cover along with many more – 96 recipes vs. 62 recipes, 199 pages vs. 119 pages. Comparing recipe numbers in each book by category: soups 19/10, chicken 12/10, beef & veal 19/11, lamb 20/15, pork 14/12 and desserts 12 vs. 4. Both books have a useful glossary though the hard cover’s glossary is twice as long as the paperback’s though the entries in the paperback are accompanied by a small photo. Both books have conversion charts – especially handy for Americans not comfortable cooking with metric measurements. There are cooking time charts for vegetables, meat & chicken, pulses, rice & other grains. While helpful for those listed, the charts are nowhere close to comprehensive – e.g. under rice & other grains times are listed only for arborio, brown and white rice and barley. I too missed recipe introductions especially given the international nature of many of the recipes. The book does not contain much basic or general pressure cooking information and thus might be a better choice for someone with a bit of pressure cooking experience. Still, the index for the paperback identifies many recipes as fast or easy or fast and easy. This is not a cookbook for your vegetarian friends but for those who eat meat it’s excellent.

    1. Thanks for your detailed comparison between paperback and hard-bound versions of this book, Foodie!

      Ciao,

      L

  4. Mmm, this sounds good! You said you changed the bean cooking method. Did you change how you cooked the final mix as well?

    1. Great question! I didn’t want to take any chances and risk it not coming out well for the event – so, yes, I only changed the cooking method for the beans!

      Ciao,

      L

  5. Looks so tasty! What would be a good substitute for the speck? Hopefully something available in a rural U.S. grocery store. I can usually find: country ham (dry cured), canned ham, slab bacon.

    maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

    1. Kitty!

      I was surprised to see such a specific Italian meat called for in the recipe such as Speck – which is a cured pork belly in a pepper crust that has been smoked and mainly produced in the North-Easter Italian region that boarders with Austria.

      You can just use bacon, and generous helping of pepper as a substitute.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. Thank you! I was SO Confused…a google search provides no answer to what is a speck :) haha

  6. Laura,

    This is the very best chili I have ever made! I cooked the beans “your way” and they were perfect. Chorizo was not available in my small local grocery store so I substituted Landjaeger, a dry German sausage. It was an inspired choice.
    Many thanks and keep up the great work.

    Meg

    1. Speck and Spanish chorizo are readily available in Australia.

      1. Welcome Tique,
        So is Mexican chorizo if you know where to look. Though Spanish is more common.
        But as the post you are replying to is over 4 years old, it is probably a moot point.

  7. Yum – made this tonight and although may put in less chilli next time around (chilli wimps in this household..)BUT lovely thick sauce and utterly moreish. Thanks!!! Penny

    1. Penny, to satisfy your “hot tooth” try keeping a little tube of Harissa around – it’s a hot chili and spice paste from North Africa and waaay better than hot sauce (which is vinegary) or spicy olive oil (which is oily ; ).

      You fellow “hot tooth”… Laura.

  8. Hello,
    This recipe looks great, but makes quite a bit of chilli!
    Can this recipe be cut in half? Would it be the same cooking time and method but with half of the ingredients?
    In general, I would love some tips on how to adjust quantities in pressure cooking recipes.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Sharon, you can halve their recipe. The only thing you have to watch out for in this recipe is the “bean cooking water” – the whole recipe asks for 1 1/2 cups of it, so halving it would bring it to 3/4 of a cup. Check your manual to see if this is sufficient liquid to maintain pressure. If you can’t find the manual and are not sure about the minimum requirement, then use 1 cup of bean cooking liquid for half of this recipe.

      Enjoy!

      L

  9. Hi there!

    I was quite chuffed to see an AWW cookbook on your site, growing up they were a prominent feature of my mum’s cookbook collection.

    Just on the “Lemon Delicious”, I assume about you mean “What it might be”. Well, that’s the entire name, “Lemon Delicious”. It’s a kind of… Well… The lovechild of a Spongecake and a Self Saucing Pudding which went to School in England so started acting a bit like a custard.

    They *are* delicious, a really light, bright lemon flavor with yielding fluffy sponge and warm creamy custard. I highly recommend trying it!

    1. oh dear…I’m going to have to try this…wow! sounds amazing!

  10. This looks delcious and I would like to try it for just the two of us and freeze what we don’t eat right away. Spanish chorizo would be delightful but I think almost any spicy hard sausage and even keilbasa would be great in this recipe along with small chunks of pork or beef. Instead of coriander, I will use fresh cilantro to top off the chili. Not sure how available cilantro is for some folks so fresh parsley might be fine. I love beans in my chili but here in Texas if one adds beans, it is not considered chili plus hubby hates beans. In our household, we use chile powder or fresh chile in our chili. Chile Pepper flakes are not used in Mexican or Tex Mex cooking as a rule. For this amount of chili, I would use at least 4 to 6 tablespoons of powdered or ground chile (mild mixed with hotter). In most authentic old world Mexican chili in many regions and red enchilada sauce, tomato products are not used. Tomatoes are reserved for use in pico de gallo (salsa), certain regional recipes and some soups. In any case, can’t wait to try this recipe with some minor tweaks.
    Note: Most of the heat in a chile pepper is in the membrane and not the seeds as thought before. I know that the pepper flakes are cooked well in the pressure cooker but I would not recommend them because children and the elderly can get the flakes and seeds caught in their throats or dentures. As for flavor, chili powders, there are a lot, have better and more unusual flavor characteristics.
    Commonly, fresh and dried (reconstituted) peppers are roasted or boiled to remove the skin and seeds something not done in pepper flakes that are nearly all skin and seeds something most cooks rightly discard. Most Mexican cooks would not include skins and seeds in their cooking. Once the skins and seeds (and stems) are removed the pulp is scraped out and used in cooking. It can be further processed in the food processor or mashed well with a mortar and pestle. It is an important step for some chiles as most chiles are very fibrous and need to be mashed into a paste before cooking. Small fresh chile like jalapeno, serrano and others can be minced or finely chopped with the skins on but seeds removed.
    If you want to keep the skins on the larger chile instead of discarding them, they can be used to flavor various dishes and then discarded. I would put them in a cheese cloth or large tea ball to easily remove them.

  11. I love the AWW cookbooks, living in the US I miss them! They were and are completely ubiquitous in Australia – I would say just about everyone owns at least one of them. They must have hundreds of titles.

    I just thought it might be useful for people to know that what is known as cilantro in the US is called coriander in Australia. So it would be fresh cilantro that goes on top to serve, as I_Fortuna suggested. (Recipes will specify ‘ground coriander’ for the powdered spice, v’s fresh coriander for the green leaves)

  12. Just a heads up for fellow Aussies.
    This cookbook is currently advertised for sale at the Woolworths chain for $14.95. The RRP is now $39.95AUD.
    I checked my local store this morning. No stock :(

    1. I tracked one down in the third store I tried. No I didn’t go out of my way. I needed to visit my uncle and tried the one near him, as well as one I drive past on the way.

      First impressions are that it is good value for money hard cover @AUD15. Not sure I would be happy to spend aud40 on it. There are certainly many recipes in it I am tempted to try. They do seem to be inordinately fond of quick release ( button not water) though. Every recipe I looked at called for it. Including a few that surprised me. Osso bucco quick release. Why?

      A few other negatives
      No mention of altitude or non standard pressure cooker time corrections
      They say DO NOT COOK PASTA in the introductory chapter, then include a recipe with pasta cooked in the PC. No explanatory note
      While they say “do not overfill” they do not explain that overfilling is going more than 2/3 up the sides they do say to only fill pulses 1/3 up the sides though. And to add oil to reduce foaming.

      Still on balance it seems a very worthwhile addition to the library. I will know more in a few weeks. After I have tried out a few recipes.

  13. Odd how Chile con Carne, the Mexican staple, has evolved into a dish that no longer has chiles in the ingredients.

    1. Granted no fresh chilies, but it does have “1 teaspoon dried chili flakes”. as chili is one of the ingredients that get intensified in a pressure cooker, this is the equivalent of considerably more cooked conventionally. And as always, “dangerous” ingredients are turned down in commercial recipes to cater for people not used to them. You can always turn the heat back up if you wish.

      The other thing to consider is that this is an Australian recipe. Here chilies are hard to come by
      Capsicums (bell peppers) are common, and birds eyes (a small hot Asian chili) are becoming so. And I have started seeing jalapenos recently, but that’s about the limit outside rare specialty shops. I know of two in the country where I can get a range of Mexican dried chilies

  14. Hi there, I have a copy of this book and I live in Australia. I love the AWW, I have so many of their books and their recipes are very suitable to the way we shop here. I find similar problems regarding ingredients in recipes from overseas ( many American recipes ) as people have done here with the Chorizo. I’m pretty certain it’s the Spanish variety as we have these available at our local supermarket, in saying that any smoked spicy sausage would most likely work. I personally have tried 4-5 of the recipes and they’ve all turned out quite flavoursome. I learnt to use my pressure cooker with confidence with sites such as this one ( it’s my favourite – thank you Laura!) Maybe the AWW isn’t quite as detailed as other instructions, but once you’re familiar with your pressure cooker, these recipes are easy to adapt to. I own a few pressure cooking books including hip pressure cooking -Hip Pressure Cooking,the AWW pressure cooker and Lorna Sass – Pressure Perfect, are my favourites. :))

  15. I found the book rather dull and uninspiring as well as quite old fashioned. I much prefer Suzanne Giibs over AWW but I actually rely more on great sites like this one.

    1. I threw Suzanne Gibbs away. Nearly every recipe I tried from her book failed. When I looked closer, I realised she had confused Low and High pressure in nearly every recipe. I don’t know if it just happened in editing or if she just didn’t test the recipes. I hope you got a reprint with the errors fixed. Or perhaps a different book I haven’t seen. I certainly would by another with her name on it.

      All the recipes I have tried from AWW (I have the larger hardback one) have worked as advertised. But I know what you mean about it being “old fashioned”. But FWIW, I still use my trusty Margaret Fulton. Just not for pressure cooking.

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