How many of you have actually taken it out of the box??
Confession: I got mine over 4 months ago and it just came out of the box a few weeks ago. There was too much to do over the holidays to start experimenting with something new. And it didn't help that I'd read too many blogs about how people had suffered to overcome the initial trauma of its newness and many buttons. But I told myself it's an appliance for pete's sake and I have a graduate degree....I can DO this!
So I did. And it is awesome and simple and all things good and wonderful.
Here's my story.
All I remembered about pressure cookers was that my mom did have one and the few times I can recall it being used was for cooking corn on the cob.
And steaming artichokes - which was one of the most exotic things we ever ate as children in North Dakota, dipping those leaves into butter or mayo with our parents slyly assuring us they would take the weird hairy bottom parts off our hands because 'we didn't like that part' (what did we know???)
So what is an Instant Pot and how is it different from those days? We've come along way baby since the first one invented by a french physicist named Denis Papin in 1689! The Instant Pot is basically a souped up pressure cooker with more functions - a multi-cooker that acts as a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot. But add in that it's electric and very safe.
Why would you get one?? Here are 5 great reasons:
- It cooks food fast (12 minute risotto? 20 minute chicken dinner? Sign me up.)
- It keeps more good nutrients in your food by using less cooking liquid and shorter cooking time.
- You can cook with frozen meat for many recipes - skips the defrost time!
- Saves using a bunch of cookware to create meals - one pot, less clean up!
- Go green and save energy: less time cooking saves electricity
Like I said in an earlier post, I'm a visual person and I do like my cookbooks for inspiration so ones for pressure cooking were no exception.
I use these 2 books - simple recipes and clear instructions.
So here are a couple good easy recipes I've used with partial credit to the above authors for the second and third recipes below (I've altered them to my taste and portion needs).
I've Got Better Things To Do Pulled BBQ Chicken
- 3 lbs frozen chicken breasts (you can chop in half if so desired to fit better)
- 1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice
- 1 tbsp worcester sauce
- 2-4 tbsp apple cider vinegar to your taste
- ~2 tbsp brown sugar or more to your taste
Directions: Throw all the ingredients into the pot, stir to coat the chicken. Press 'Manual' timer and set for 40 minutes. Walk away and do something more fun.
Allow pressure to release naturally, remove the lid and shred chicken, mixing it with the sauce. Serve on buns. Serves ~8. Experience the rapture of doing about 5 minutes of work for dinner.
I Got Home From Work Late Chicken Risotto
Directions: Using 'Saute' button, add oil and 2 tbsp butter and saute onion, garlic, crumbled bacon and chicken for about 2-3 minutes. Add in rice, salt, pepper, thyme, and wine. Give it a stir for a minute or two. Press 'Stop/cancel', pour in the stock and stir well. Press ‘Manual’ and set time for 12 minutes. Seal the lid. When complete, vent, open lid, stir well and add in the grated parmesan and 1-2 tbsp butter. Leave to stand for a few minutes. Serves 6-8.
No, We're Not Going Out For Dinner Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 chicken breasts diced
- 1 cup frozen shrimp
- 16 oz box penne pasta
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock or broth
- sundried tomatoes or red pepper flakes or both (or whatever's on hand for flavor!)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp flour
Directions: use 'Saute' function to soften onions, garlic, and cook chicken in oil for ~3 minutes. Press 'Stop/Cancel' button. Add in shrimp, pasta, chicken stock/broth, sundried tomatoes, red pepper flakes and set 'Manual' timer to 7 minutes. When complete, vent, open lid and add cream, parmesan cheese and flour and stir to thicken, adjusting liquid as needed.
So those are just a few simple ideas - all were dinner hits. If I had this appliance before my kitchen remodel I would have created a designated counter space for it, it's that magical. And I have not yet even tried the rice, beans, or yogurt functions. Future posts....
So if I've sold you on the virtues or you have one and are now ready to finally open the box, that's great. You should know there's an Instant Pot community on Facebook and many websites that provide great basic instructions so I won't repeat - here's a great one on getting started!
Don't be afraid and give it a chance. It's not the pressure cooker of yesteryear.
To steal (and play on) the words of the immortal David Bowie and fabulous Freddie Mercury, why can't we give [the pressure cooker] one more chance?
Oh stop groaning at my cheesiness and just listen to the awesome music!
Give love give love give love give love give love