Instant Pot Advice for My Peeps

If you haven’t heard of an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, you will now! I got mine almost a year and a half ago.  Bought it on Black Friday for almost half price; great deal! Purchased a cookbook and a glass lid for slow cooking.  I was very excited and not a little bit scared of using the big black device.  Mine is a six quart 7 in one, lots of features, some I still haven’t used. One of my girlfriends had been bugging me to investigate and get one as she knows how much I love to cook. It was slightly daunting to use it at first. But I tried out recipes from the little cookbook it came with and my full sized one I got for ten bucks. Almost everything I have made has been a resounding success.  I have used it infrequently as a slow cooker – I think it runs a bit hotter than my old slow cooker which was only about 2-3 years older and now resides in the basement on a shelf.

instant pot 2

So, let me tell you some of the things I love to make in it. I use it a lot with bone-in chicken thighs; it cooks them in about 16 minutes once it comes to pressure.  That means that when I lock the lid down it takes a bit of time to fully heat up and get pressurized; that time is not counted in the recipe cooking time.  Some people put frozen meat in recipes and so it can add quite a bit of time to the process. Once you lock it and it starts the process you can walk away and do any chore or activity you like. I also often saute things before starting the pressure cooking process. Yes; it sautes! This is a favorite task the IP does for me. I regularly saute onions/celery and such for a bit then add meat to cook for a while before the next step of pressure cooking or I do that in reverse; brown meat; remove it while I cook veggies then I add the meat back in as well as water or broth. Which brings me to one other important fact; it must have a cup of water or broth for it to pressurize.  I generally cook enough for 4-6 meals so I have enough but if you cook small amounts there is a 3 quart model; a friend of mine recently acquired one of those and loves it for her smaller needs. The other day I made rice pilaf in it which it does very well, I forgot a portion of the water and the rice came out a bit crunchy; I added the missing water and pressured it for 5 more minutes and it was fine.  Lesson learned; make sure you put in the right measure of liquid.

sausages in soup

Sausages in a soup base

In the back of my cookbook are charts for how long to cook meats, grains, etc.  They are invaluable. I use them all the time. Now that the IP has been in my kitchen for a while I adapt non-pressure cooker recipes to it. The charts help me judge how long to cook.

gumbo

Sausage gumbo

 

Other things I make in the IP are ribs; I cook them on the trivet that came with it and then lay them on foil on a baking sheet, slather in BBQ sauce and pop them in the oven or broiler for 10-15 minutes, so tender and delish! I have done baby backs, spare ribs and beef short ribs which do not get the oven step.  I have made some yummy stews and soups in there: beef vegetable stew, chicken noodle or rice soup or other soups. It cooks the beef really quickly. I have used it to make bean soups as well. Beans cook pretty quickly under pressure.  You can make a rotisserie style chicken in it; love that one!

There are settings for stewing and rice as well as a few other things. I do love rice made in it; perfect and fluffy, never burnt, never runs out of water.

shrimp-risotto

I’ve made risotto in it a few times and it is great as no stirring needed. If you don’t have the patience for risotto on the stove top this is a super alternative cooking method.

The other food I like to make is yogurt. I started doing that fairly recently, as I realized it would actually save me money and my sister who got one for Christmas says it tastes wonderful. So, with a bit of advice from her I did just that and found out it was indeed creamy and delightful. I get organic milk from Aldi’s to make mine and it makes a big difference. Great flavor and texture and once you’ve done it a couple of times it is quite simple.  I add a spoonful of jam or marmalade and I have a healthy and delish yogurt for lunch or a snack. And I get to use my glass lid for a change, LOL!

I haven’t used it for sweets yet, although I plan to; just ordered a small cheesecake pan; 7 inch size to fit inside the inner pot as my other latch cheesecake pans are too large for it. I plan to use it for several other things that can be steam baked like this recipe for caramel custard I discovered in my new IP Indian cookbook!

Folks in my IP Community fb group say IP cheesecakes are fantastic. Plan to test that and see if it’s true.

So, if you are thinking of buying an electric pressure cooker, I do recommend it for a number of things. It is one more great way to cook. I love that I can set it and go out to the yard and it finishes and keeps warm until I am ready to eat. That is my favorite thing about my IP!

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