The term "greens" covers a wide variety of cold-weather leaves -- many of them related to cabbage -- which are packed with nutrients but also prone to being bitter and tough when raw. Pressure-cooking cuts steaming or boiling times significantly, retaining more of those nutrients in the process.
Start to Finish: 5 minutesServings: 4Difficulty Level: Novice
1 bunch greens, about 1½ pounds1 cup water
Step 1: Prepare the Greens
- Wash the greens thoroughly under cold running water to remove any grit or insects.
- Trim away the leaves from the stalks and discard the ribs, particularly for heavily ribbed greens such as chard.
- Chop the greens into medium-sized strips so that they are easier to fit in the pressure cooker but still hold their shape.
Step 2: Start Cooking
- Pour 1/2 cup of water into the pressure cooker, lay the shredded greens on top and close the pressure cooker lid tightly until it clicks.
- Place the pressure cooker on the stove and heat until the hissing sound of steam is consistent. Based on a standard pressure cooker, which cooks at around 15 pounds per square inch, begin the countdown for cooking.
Step 3: Allow to Settle
Remove the pressure cooker from the heat, and press the button or lever to allow the steam to release, keeping your hands out the way of the steam jet.
Season the greens with plenty of salt and pepper as well as cayenne pepper for a spicy flourish, and serve.
- If your pressure cooker comes equipped with a steaming rack or trivet, use that instead, as it willkeep the greens -- and their nutrients -- out the water and cook theleaves entirely with steam.
- Use the quick-release method with greens, whose short cooking time requires quick action once steaming is finished. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and run the lid under cold running water. The heat will dissipate much quicker, allowing thepressure to equalize enough for the lid to be removed.
While greens can take up to an hour on the stove in a conventional pot, they need only a brief session in the pressure cooker.
- Swiss chard and kale need no more than 2 minutes.
- Beets, collard greens, mustard and turnip greens need no more than 5 minutes.
- Mustard greens have a peppery flavor and frilly leaves but can be cooked from frozen with a nominal adjustment for cooking times.
- Collard greens are normally slow-cooked with a ham hock or pork bone for an unctuous, soft spinach-like consistency. If you are recreating this approach in the pressure cooker, extend cooking times to 20 minutes and be warned that the leaves will emerge not just wilted but mushy. The flavor, however, is terrific.
- Kale keeps its shape more than the other greens and doesn't shrink too much by comparison. The center rib should be removed first.
- With greens such as Callaloo, popular in the Caribbean, the leaf needs to be thoroughly cooked to neutralize oxalates that can irritate the throat.