I am often asked about cooking frozen foods in the pressure cooker. Well, the answer is yes and probably not. It all depends on what you are cooking.
You can get really good results by pressure cooking frozen vegetables. These can be vegetables you have put up from you garden or the farmers market. When cooking vegetables by themselves use a steamer basket or a trivet. Also use the quick release method to keep the vegetables fresh and crisp tasting. Most vegetables cook between 2 to 3 minutes. Artichokes take much more time than most vegetables. Many pressure cooker cookbooks have charts telling the exact amount of time for each vegetable. Plus there are many charts online that are helpful. Add an additional one to two minutes if cooking frozen vegetables. For the quicker cooking veggies, just use a half cup of water on the bottom. For the longer cooking veggies, use a cup of water.
The general rule of thumb in cooking frozen meat is to add one third the amount of cooking time. Of course, the big “secret” in cooking any meat or poultry is to brown it first in the pressure cooker. This will add so much more flavor. It is usually suggested to just use smaller frozen pieces of meat or poultry. This is good for soups, stews, or broths. Make sure the meat or poultry is browned on all sides.
The way I most often use frozen chicken is to make homemade chicken broth. I buy a whole chicken when it is on sale and then when I get home I cut it into pieces. I then freeze the chicken pieces. To make the broth just put the chicken pieces, water, favorite spices and veggies in pressure cooker. Bring the pressure cooker to full pressure. Lower the heat and cook for 45 minutes. Use the natural release method. If you want a richer and darker broth, make sure you brown the chicken before cooking. This can be done with frozen chicken pieces. There is nothing like homemade chicken broth to give whatever you are adding it to a savory flavor.
It is highly recommended for the best flavor and texture for larger pieces of meat and poultry to use fresh or thawed products. There are several ways to thaw meat, depending on the amount of time you have. If you think about it ahead of time, just thaw in the refrigerator. Another way is to defrost it in the microwave. And still another way is the cold water method. Just place the food in a water tight plastic bag and submerge in cold tap water. Change the water every thirty minutes. This works amazing well. The length of time will depend on the weight of the food you are defrosting. Thawed meats also absorb flavors much better.
I wouldn’t recommend pressure cooking a frozen block of ground meat. It will end up a gray color–not too appetizing! It can be thawed quickly in the microwave or even cook it in the pressure cooker pot on high heat and crumble it up while cooking. This is just as fast and much more tastier if you are making a meat sauce. It is also healthier because you can drain the fat out of it.
The Maximatic Elite 8 quart digital pressure cooker is perfect for making large pots of stews, soups, and broth. I like to make large portions of this type of cooking so I have plenty of leftover and can freeze the extra for quick meals. It also makes a great gift of almost any occasion for either a man or a woman or a college student.
Also, remember that if you start off with frozen meat it will take longer for the pressure cooker to reach the cooking pressure. Also, if you are cooking poultry, consider using a recipe (other than a soup or stew), that has some kind of sauce. The plain white meat needs a little dressing up.