Have you joined the Instant Pot community yet? I did this past winter when we were in the middle of a huge kitchen remodel.
What is an Instant Pot — or IP for short? It’s a fancy new pressure cooker with a cult following that I kept hearing friends rave about. I will start by saying that at first I was very intimidated by it. I wasn’t sure how it worked and I am not a fan of reading a manual. So I made my hubby do it. I was seriously afraid that I was going to be hit in the face with the lid. But these new pressure cookers are not anything like the old stove top models. They are very safe and can be a great kitchen addition.
Now here’s the thing to know: Yes everything cooks much faster, however you have to let the pot build pressure in order to cook. Depending on what you are cooking, this could take anywhere from 10-30 minutes — this is before it actually begins to cook. Second, once it’s done cooking you need to let the pressure out and how you do this depends again on what you cooked. Many dishes allow a quick release where you simply turn the valve and all of the pressure quickly releases from the machine. Some foods require a natural pressure release — this can take again 10-30 minutes. So while it may cook your meal in 5 minutes you still need to allow at least 30-60 minutes.
So we finally decided to give it a try! By we I mean my husband, Mike, and I: I prepped the food, he operated the machine. We made chicken and rice. It was a very simple recipe. We prepared the ingredients, put it in the pot, pressed a few buttons, and dinner was cooking! Soon it was done and time to eat. It looked good, it smelled good, and tasted pretty good; however the rice was mushy. So a few nights later we tried something different but again with rice and once again, mushy rice. Ok, so now what? I joined some IP Facebook groups and quickly learned that cooking rice in the IP is like a fine art. So I tried something new, this time turkey meatballs with penne pasta. Keep in mind, this was my first time alone with the IP. Mike was gone. I enlisted a friend for support via text message.
First you make the meatballs and use the sauté feature on the pot. Ok — easy and nice to only use one pan. Once the meatballs are brown, you add your pasta and sauce ingridients. Simple. I put the lid on and set the timer for 5 minutes, yes 5 minutes for meatballs and pasta. I thought awesome, I can do this it’s so easy. The timer beeped. It was time to remove the lid. My house smelled amazing and I was starving, but I was terrified to take the lid off. Here is how the text message to my friend went:
Once I got the lid off and we sat down to eat it was delicious! The pasta was a little over done, however that was my own fault for leaving it in the pot for so long because I was terrified to take the lid off! I think they were the best meatballs I have ever had and the even better news, my super picky 12 year old loved it!
Meal number 3 was a success! We started trying more and more in the IP and now we are hooked. We have made several meals and some have been great while others were just ok. We did try a roast with veggies and honestly the meat was tough and the veggies mushy, so we are selective in what we cook in it. It’s not meant to cook everything, but it’s so nice to be able to set it and walk away! Chicken is amazing in the IP, it always comes out very tender and delicious. I honestly think every house needs one! Here is how I make perfect hard boiled eggs that peel beautifully:
Pour 1 cup water in IP. Add in steamer basket. Place large eggs in basket (I made 18). Cook for 6 min on low pressure. 6 min natural pressure release, then turn the valve to do a quick release. Cool in ice water bath for 5-6 minutes. They peeled and cooked perfectly — I have never had eggs peel this easily!
I have also made yogurt in the IP, and I have yet to perfect that but am still working on it. It’s so easy, but takes some time. If you have an IP, Facebook has some great groups with people who will answer questions and they always post some amazing recipes! I have also started using the app called Paprika to copy and past recipes and its well worth the $5 for the app. I can actually find my recipes now! I found my IP on Amazon and bought the 8-quart size. It’s pretty big but we have more options with this size. If you purchase one, I highly recommend joining a couple IP Facebook communities and getting a good cook book. Since purchasing the IP, I have also purchased a steamer as well as some stainless steel pans that can be used inside the pot to cook things at the same time but in separate dishes. I also bought spare silicon rings — these rings do get stinky and you will want one for savory foods and one for sweets. No one wants chocolate cake that tastes like chicken… just sayin! Now that the kitchen is done and we can use the stove again we still use the IP, because it’s just so simple!