Modern-Day Pressure Cooker Works Magic in Kitchen
by Kirsten Harrington
Goodbye slow cooker, hello Instant Pot. If you’ve resolved to do more cooking in 2018, you might want to invest in this multifunctional cooking device that takes the place of several kitchen appliances, clearing up counter space and slashing meal-preparation time. Instant Pot is the brand name for a programmable electric pressure cooker that can braise, sauté, slow cook, steam, warm, cook rice, make yogurt and even bake a cake — all in one pot.
This Canadian-designed smart cooker boasts of cutting cooking time by up to 70 percent, making it possible to prepare healthy meals in a fraction of the time. Since one device can perform six to nine functions, it saves kitchen space, making it perfect for dorm rooms, tiny apartments and places with limited cooking facilities. There are even versions that are Bluetooth-enabled, so you can get dinner started from your tablet or phone.
Being able to cook from scratch quickly means you can prepare a whole chicken in 25 minutes,
prepare falling-off-the-bone-tender barbecue ribs in under an hour, or sear beef and sauté veggies for stews and soups and then cook all in one pot. Forgot to defrost the meat? No problem. You can go from frozen to dinner in less than an hour. Put the Instant Pot to work on Sundays for meal planning by cooking pork tenderloin, turkey breast or other proteins for sandwiches, salads and weeknight meals. By performing several cooking methods in one pot, you’ll have fewer dishes to wash — an added bonus.
Pressure cooking means foods like steel-cut oats, beans and lentils, and root vegetables can be cooked quickly with no need to pre-soak, stir or watch the pot. The yogurt-making feature means you control the flavor and sweetness, cutting sugar consumption and saving money by making your own. Cooking sweet potatoes or spaghetti squash is a snap, brown rice is ready in about 20 minutes, and even frozen chicken breasts can be ready in 10 minutes. With so many quick, healthy options, who needs takeout? An Instant Pot might just work magic on your wallet and your
Recipes & Resources
Whether you received a shiny, new Instant Pot underneath your Christmas tree and don’t know where to start or you just want to learn what all the fuss is about, there are many helpful online communities with tons of tips and recipes. The Facebook group “Instant Pot for Beginners” is a good place to ask questions and learn from others. Try pressurecookrecipes.com for reviews on different models, recipes, videos and tips.
Quick & Easy Italian Farmhouse Vegetable Soup
From www.instantpoteats.com, a great source for recipes and information.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 long red chili, sliced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced
6 large button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, diced
A handful of dried porcini mushrooms
3 to 4 ounces kale leaves (medium bunch of kale), leaves removed from the hard stems and sliced roughly
1 small zucchini, diced
1 cup of canned chopped tomatoes
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Lemon zest, chopped parsley for garnish
Turn on the Instant Pot and press “Sauté” function. Add oil, onion, salt, celery and carrots, and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes while slicing mushrooms. Add the chili, mushrooms, garlic and dried porcini mushrooms, and stir. Cook for 2 minutes on “Sauté” while preparing kale leaves and zucchini. Add the kale, zucchini, tomatoes, stock and bay leaf, and stir.
Press the “Off” function key. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Check that the lid knob is turned to “Sealing.” Press “Manual,” “High Pressure,” and set to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, allow the pressure to release naturally for a couple of minutes, then use the quick-release method to let the rest of the steam out. Serve in bowls with grated lemon zest and chopped parsley on top. Adaptation: This recipe could easily be prepared in a slow cooker or on the stove top with increased cooking