The easiest way to cut the cooking time of meat and vegetables in half is with a pressure cooker. Beets, with their dense flesh and thick, winter-hardy skins, take about 45 minutes to simmer until tender. Pressure cookers cut that time down to 20 minutes or less. Soups take only a few minutes to make when you cook the main ingredient in the pressure cooker, too. Simply cook the beets with stock and any other ingredients, such as onions, carrots and celery, and puree everything in the pressure cooker when finished. Finish by seasoning to taste and adding butter or cream for texture.

Cut the tops off of the beets, leaving 1 to 2 inches of the stem attached. Scrub the beets under cool running water.

Place the beets in the pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water or stock if cooking large beets and 1/2 cup if cooking small beets. Add 1/4 cup of liquid if cooking sliced beets.

Close the cover of the pressure cooker and build the pressure to 15 psi over medium heat. Cook large beets for 20 minutes; cook small beets for 12 minutes; cook sliced beets for 4 minutes.

Place the pressure cooker in the sink under cold-running water until the steam dissipates and the cover unlocks.