In culinary school, one of the first things you learn is that shortcuts are your worst enemies—I was conditioned to avoid them at all costs, not wanting to be reprimanded for cutting corners. Now in my work in the kitchen of SAVEUR, that lesson still lingers, so if I'm going to take a shortcut I am going to make it count. One of my favorite cooking tools, the pressure cooker, is the epitome of a magnificent shortcut. Not only can it cook anything in at least half the time when compared to conventional cooking methods, it also preserves more of the vitamins and minerals—and all those wonderful aromas! The best one I've come across yet is the Fissler Vitaquick, and my favorite way to use it is simple: to make chicken stock. I add chicken bones, leek, carrot, onion, and aromatics to the pot with some water to cover, see it come to the right cooking temperature with its user-friendly indicator, and like magic I have a flavorful chicken stock ready to use in less than half an hour. Depressurizing, which can sound scary, is extremely easy with the Vitaquick's safe release button. It is truly great to have an intense stock that has kept more of its nutrients than if prepared in the traditional way, and this Vitaquick has saved me a good chunk of time, too. Can't beat that.
4.8 qt Fissler Vitaquick Pressure Cooker, $239.95 at Fisslerstore.com