I got this amazing kitchen appliance: the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker 6 in 1, six quart size. It has functions for sautéing, steaming, making rice, porridge, stewing, slow cooking and yes; pressure cooking. Now, when I was a kid, my mom had a pressure cooker. She used it mostly for canning tomatoes and I remember being told to never ever touch it while in use. I was terrified of that pressure top thingy; if touched, clouds of boiling hot steam poured out. Any time I thought of getting a pressure cooker, those memories would come back and it was “nope” to a pressure cooker. This past year a lovely friend of mine, Jenn, got an Instant Pot and she was always talking about it on facebook. I asked and got her response of “This thing is wonderful and I use it all the time.” She is a vegetarian and is totally in to legumes and grains. Not gluten free like me but she eats very healthy and that IP (as folks call it) seemed to be her best friend in the kitchen. On Black Friday, the 6 qt Instant Pot went on sale on Amazon 47% off. I ordered one during my lunch break and it came the following Monday! Kinda intimidating with all the directions, but I dove in and did the required water pressure test, no issues so next I made my favorite chicken paprikash in it in slow cooker mode. For this setting, I did get the glass cover that allows one to see the food cooking inside; not for use under pressure but great for sautéing or slow cooking. It turned out perfectly. And so it began. My love affair with my IP….
I made amazing coq au vin; chicken thighs braised in red wine to you! It was done faster than the mashed potatoes I was making in the traditional stove top fashion. The sauté feature is wonderful; the chicken goes in to get a browning, comes out, the onions go in and cook a bit; then garlic and after a minute back goes chicken as well as wine, broth, herbs and the lid is tightened and the manual feature set for the desired minutes. It takes a few minutes to come to pressure and then my IP beeps and starts the pressure cooking and the count down to zero. I let it naturally release (read: turn it off and let it stand ten minutes untouched) and then I pushed the pressure valve to release with a kitchen towel over it for any serious steam. It released for 2-3 minutes and then I added the pan full of sautéed mushroom slices and my luscious and tender chicken with mushrooms and wine was ready to serve. To recap the time: it took about 5-6 minutes to come to pressure and the time at pressure was like 15 minutes. That’s a fast way to make excellent dishes. I like it better than a slow cooker; my veggies taste fresher and the meat is cooked better without being over cooked.
Then, I made two different kinds of meat broth; chicken and pork; done in about 30 minutes for chicken and 60 for the pork. Which is far less than half the usual time for making broth. I love being able to load it with the broth ingredients and start the cycle and walk away to do other stuff.
The other day I made some amazing dulce de leche caramel sauce; so delish and creamy and one ingredient: sweetened condensed milk. You pour it into canning jars and pressure cook it for 14 minutes. I did two batches of that for gifting.
I expect to make soup in it often; made some cauliflower potato soup last week; so easy. One item I had that is very helpful is my immersion blender; great for pureed hot soups. I call it the boat motor!
So, next time someone starts talking about an IP you will know what they mean. And maybe you will start thinking about getting one. It will change how you cook, for the better.