I’m not usually intimidated in the kitchen.
You see, in addition to all those great cookbooks I got for Christmas, I also got an Instant Pot. Are you familiar? No? Okay, well let me explain. Instant Pot is a pressure cooker. But not just any old pressure cooker – it’s also a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, saute pan, yogurt maker and a warming pot. Seriously, I don’t think there’s anything this thing can’t do.
And you know what? This thing cooks food fast. Real fast. I mean I successfully destroyed an entire bag of broccolini in three minutes flat. Three minutes. You can imagine my horror when I opened up the pot and discovered a pot full of green mush. Hmm – turns out pressure cooking reduces cooking time by 70%.
So apparently there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using a pressure cooker. And so far steaming with the cooker appears to be my biggest challenge. When steaming, you only need a small amount of water and – depending what you’re steaming – a very small amount time. Which theoretically, is a very healthy way of cooking vegetables – you know when you don’t turn them into mush. If you cook vegetables with a small amount of water in a small amount of time, you’re helping retain all those water soluble vitamins.
But I can say that I have successfully made Homemade Stock in about a third of the time than it usually takes. I’ve also thrown in unsoaked dried beans and had them cooked perfectly within 30-40 minutes. This is especially handy since I can never seem to plan ahead with dried beans. But you know what – if you do pre-soak, it can take as little as 10 minutes!
In an effort to get over my intimidation, I attempted chili. Seemed pretty appropriate since the Super Bowl’s right around the corner. Chili and Super Bowl go together – right?! And I mean how hard could it be – there’s even a button that says chili! As it turns out it was pretty easy if you ask me. Since there’s a saute function you can brown the meat and vegetables right in the pot, add seasonings, beans and liquid. Push a button and there you have it -chili.
Despite my intimidation do I like my new cooking vessel ? Yup. Why? It’s convenient. It’s versatile. It’s efficient. And I’m always up for a challenge in the kitchen.
What’s your favorite pressure cooker recipe?
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 6 cups beans (3 cups dried beans)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 jalapeno, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 3 cups bean liquid
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in dutch oven. When hot, add onions, jalapeno, celery and red pepper.
- Cook a few minutes until it begins to soften.
- Add ground turkey and garlic. Cook a minute.
- Add cumin, chili powder and paprika. Cook until brown and cooked through.
- Add beans, bean liquid and tomato paste.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Simmer for about hour for flavors to blend.
- This will start with dried beans. Use water or stock in place of bean liquid and increase to 4-5 cups (enough to cover by 1 inch).
- Follow traditional method to cook vegetables and meat but do in pressure cooker on saute setting.
- Once cooked through add remaining ingredients. Set the cooker to chili/beans.
- Season with salt and pepper after cycle ends.
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