Do you cook under pressure?

The new versions of pressure cookers are much more versatile and safer than the slightly noisy appliances of yesteryear.

pressure cooker beef.jpeg
This recipe was cooked in a multifunction cooker. (Photo courtesy of the North Dakota Beef Commission)

“This would make a good column,” my husband announced as he walked into the kitchen clutching a handful of papers.

Oh, boy, what did I do? I thought to myself.

“What were you trying to print?” he asked.

“I was printing a recipe,” I noted.

I thought I clicked on “print recipe” not “print everything.” I should have called up the recipe on my phone, but the screen is very small.


I began paging through 30 pages of comments about the recipe.

When I arrived at the recipe at the bottom of my new stack of scratch paper, I had bad news.

“We need to stop the pressure cooker,” I said. “The recipe needs more broth.”

To read more of Julie Garden-Robinson's Prairie Fare, click here.

We had company arriving in 90 minutes, and I had a 90-minute recipe to make.

Fortunately, the appetizers were ready.

“Will you release the pressure for me?” I asked.

“Your projects always become my projects,” he said with a grin.


“You’re a really good cook and very mechanically inclined,” I replied.

He glanced in my direction. I’m not sure he found my comment sincere.

I handed him two potholders, then I backed away from the countertop as the steam flowed quickly out the vent during the pressure release. No one was burned in this dinner-making process.

Fortunately, the corned beef brisket was forgiving of the slight interruption and repressurizing. The meat was fork tender after a 90-minute cook under pressure. The cabbage, potatoes and carrots only took a few minutes to cook. Our guests were content after the meal.

Many of us grew up eating pressure-cooked meals made on the stovetop in appliances with a jiggling weight on top. Pressure cookers fell out of fashion until recent innovations. The new versions are much more versatile and safer than the slightly noisy appliances of yesteryear.

You can find “multifunction cookers” or “multicookers” sold under a variety of brand names, such as Instant Pot or Crockpot. As their name implies, the appliances have a range of functions. Most can slow cook, saute, sear, simmer, steam or warm foods. Many more “add-on” items, such as racks and pans, are available.

Besides main-dish meals such as stews, soups and roasts, you can make meatloaf, hard-cooked eggs, rice, yogurt and even cheesecakes.

Perhaps you have a multicooker but you haven’t used it recently or at all. Take it out of the box and put it to work.


Be sure to read and follow the instructions for your particular model. Reading instructions is not always exciting, but it is a necessity. You also can watch videos online if you prefer.

Learn the functions of the buttons and explore recipes that were created for your appliance to get started.

Although you can make a variety of items, a multifunction cooker has some limits. You cannot deep fry and you cannot pressure can safely in a multifunction cooker.

Be sure to plug the multifunction cooker directly into the outlet and do not use an extension cord. Don’t leave your home when you are using your pressure cooker.

We are launching an educational effort with Extension family and community wellness agents in North Dakota in more than half of the counties. We will be teaching people about beef cuts, nutrition and food safety as we explore recipes made in a multifunction cooker.

The North Dakota Beef Commission is sponsoring our efforts. Watch for announcements of community-based classes in coming months.

This recipe is courtesy of and the Beef Checkoff. Two of the four variations are provided, and the link to the additional recipe variations is provided.

Four-Way Shredded Beef (Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker)

1 (2- to 2 1/2-pound) beef shoulder roast (or use a chuck roast)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (see slow cooker directions)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup beef broth (see pressure cooker directions)

Pressure cooker directions (6-quart pressure cooker): Place beef roast, onion, garlic and 1/2 cup beef broth in pressure cooker. Close and lock pressure cooker lid. Use beef, stew or high-pressure setting on pressure cooker; program 90 minutes on pressure cooker timer. Use the quick-release feature to release pressure; carefully remove lid. Continue as directed. Note: This recipe was tested in an electric pressure cooker at high altitude. Cooking at an altitude of less than 3,000 feet may require less cooking time. Follow manufacturers’ directions.

Slow cooker directions: For optional browning, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Brown beef shoulder roast on all sides. Place onion and garlic in 3 1/2- to 5-quart slow cooker; place roast on top. Cover and cook on high five to six hours or low nine to 10 hours or until roast is fork tender.

Finishing directions (for either method): Remove roast from appliance used. Skim fat from cooking liquid if necessary and reserve 1 cup onion mixture. Shred beef with two forks. Combine shredded beef and reserved onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Continue as directed to flavor the meat mixture.

Makes six servings. Each serving of shredded beef (without added salt or optional additions) has 200 calories, 8 grams fat, 29 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrate, 0.5 gram fiber and 58 milligrams sodium.

Mexican Shredded Beef: Combine tomato salsa and beef mixture to desired consistency. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve in warmed flour or corn tortillas topped with pico de gallo, sliced avocados, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and/or chopped green onions, if desired.

BBQ Shredded Beef: Combine prepared barbecue sauce and beef mixture to desired consistency. Place in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover, vent and microwave until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve on whole-wheat rolls topped with creamy horseradish sauce, coleslaw, cheddar cheese slices, chopped green bell pepper and/or canned fresh fried onions as desired.

Visit to learn how to make Asian Shredded Beef and Indian Shredded Beef.

(Julie Garden-Robinson is a North Dakota State University Extension food and nutrition specialist and professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences. Follow her on Twitter @jgardenrobinson .)

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Service
Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Service

Related Topics: FOOD
What To Read Next
Unmanaged stress can contribute to physical and mental health problems.
Cooking for one or two may require recipe adjustments and new strategies for using leftovers.
Casey is the well-behaved dog that normally stays out of the limelight.
Gardening columnist Don Kinzler addresses whether or not plants will recover from a rough winter and ways gardeners can help them along.