This Christmas I got a new kitchen gadget that I was hoping wouldn’t be one of those novelties that just ends up in the basement gathering dust. I had heard a lot about the Instant Pot, which is not your grandma’s pressure cooker. It’s electric, multi function, and can double as a crock pot. Best of all, no worries about blowing your kitchen up! Mauri got this for me for Christmas and I swear, it’s changed how I cook at home.
I like to cook so keep that in mind. But in January, I also started following the Whole30 Eating Plan to see if I could figure out was making me feel so old and awful. It worked. I feel so much better, I’ve lost about 30 pounds, and I have managed to eliminate the chronic back pain that had been making me miserable for almost two years. I can thank part of it to the Instant Pot.
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen me going on about some of the things I’ve made in my IP. Yep, I love it, I cannot lie. Friends have now asked me to share some of the great things I’ve made since I got my IP, so here goes! First, the very basics……
STOCK UP. First, I make a LOT of beef and chicken stock. Every week I buy a rotisserie chicken and use the meat in salads and such. Then I take all the juices from the bag, all the bones and skin, and toss it into the pot with a bunch of onions (and the skins too!), some roughly chopped celery and carrots, a bit of garlic, some black peppercorns, and about 1/8C of kosher salt. I set the pot to 75 mins on either soup or manual and let it go. When it’s done, I do slow release (meaning letting the pot come back down to pressure on it’s own as opposed to turning the valve and releasing all the steam…that’s quick release), then strain out all the chunky stuff from the broth and put it away. I normally keep a few mason jars in the fridge and in freezer bags in the freezer. I also do this with beef bones, and last night I used the large ham bone from a spiral ham to make ham stock. Just a tip ~ the longer you cook it under pressure, the healthier it gets and if your stock gels up a bit when it’s cold, that’s the holy grail of good stock! It will liquify again when you reheat it. I use this stock for a base to pretty much everything.
MARINARA SAUCE. One of my favorite things to do is to make homemade marinara sauce. I’ll never buy pasta sauce in a jar again. Last summer I canned a bunch of tomatoes and I use those, but you don’t have to. Take a large onion and a bunch of garlic (you can use green or red peppers too, whatever you like) and put it into your IP with a bit of olive oil and hit the saute button. Saute these for about 5-10 mins. Take a few big cans of San Marzano tomatoes and dump them into the pot. Add about 1 C red wine (optional) and about 1/8 C kosher salt. Add any herbs that you like ~ i keep it simple and toss in a good handful of fresh basil, fresh oregano, and fresh parsley. Dried is just fine too. Set your pot for 35 minutes and do quick release. Taste it when it’s done. SO good. No sugar, no preservatives, and SO tasty. This freezes great!
TURKEY/WHOLE CHICKEN. That’s right, turkey (and the same applies to a whole chicken as well). I made a great turkey breast a few weeks ago and it was one of the best we’d ever had. I started with a 7lb bone in turkey breast, thawed and patted dry. I stuffed the inside with a chopped onion and some celery. You can brown it on saute’ if you want, but I didn’t. I put some fresh rosemary under the skin and put some ghee (clarified butter, but you can you regular butter!), and salt and pepper on top of the skin, and about 3/4 C of my chicken stock in the pot. Cook on Meat for 30 minutes and do slow release. Remove the turkey/chicken from the pot and stick it under your broiler for about 5 mins on high to brown it up. SO good and so easy. Feel free to use the juice to make gravy.
SOUP. It’s going to be 86° today so soup probably isn’t going to be your jam, but I always like soup for lunches all year, so it’s easy to make soup in your IP and not heat up your house. Pretty much just toss anything and everything you like into the pot, and put on SOUP for about 25 minutes. If you’re making something like chicken noodle soup, put the noodles in after you cook the soup. Just dump them in and let them sit for 15 minutes or so and they’ll cook themselves. I’ve also found that when the steam from the soup isn’t going into your kitchen and making it smell so good, it stays in the pot and makes your soup taste even better. You can not mess this up ~ just make sure you don’t overfill your pot. I always do slow release, but you can do quick release if you’re adding noodles or rice. Oh, and chili ~ you can’t go wrong. It’s so good and FAST. You can make a pot of chili in 30 mins that tastes like you’ve been cooking it for hours.
BBQ and SUCH. This thing rocks if you want to make pulled pork, chicken, brisket, or pretty much any kind of shredded meat. The basic premise is to dry the meat, season it, pop it into the pot with about a cup of liquid of some sort (stock, salsa, water, wine, beer, whatever!), set your time, and let it go. For a brisket or something like a pork shoulder which tend to be tough, I’d set it for about 60 minutes with slow release. For chicken, probably about 15-20, slow release. You really can’t go wrong. If you open the pot and the meat isn’t falling apart, set it for about 10 minutes more. Remove the meat from the pot and shred it, then put it back into the pot and mix in whatever sauce you like. Yummy. I made chicken carnitas last week and all I did was toss in a bunch of chicken thighs with an onion (I rubbed salt and pepper and cumin on the chicken first) and about 2C of salsa. Cooked it for 17 minutes. Yum.
OTHER WINNERS. I have tried a LOT of things in my IP and for the most part, everything has been a hit. I can’t think of a miss, to be honest. One nice thing is easy one pot cooking for the most part and you won’t heat up your house with something like short ribs or brisket. A lot of people use theirs to make rice, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and even cheesecake, but I can’t be bothered with those things. I pretty much just experiment a lot and rarely use recipes, but here are some recipes that I have tried and they were total winners….
My friend Comfort tipped me off to this one and we had it the other day. It was great. I had never made short ribs before but you can bet I’ll be making it again. Korean Short Ribs – Nom Nom Paleo
Cabbage Roll Soup (so yummy!)
There are literally hundreds of great recipes out there for your Instant Pot. Try them and don’t be scared! I hope you enjoy what I’ve shared so far (and will continue to do so!).