Saturday, May 27, 2017

Instant Pot (not really instant)

During Amazon Prime Day 2016, I made an impulse purchase of the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker - IIRC, it was 30 or 35% off the normal $99 so a decent deal.  Well, I've only used it twice in the past 10 months.  I was browsing TV last week and saw the similar "Pressure Cooker XL" on an infomercial with all sorts of crazy recipes - given the family has been eating out so much I figured it's time to dust the IP off and cook a couple dinners.

One thing to realize about the IP (or any electric pressure cooker) is that it can take time, sometimes a long time, for the pressure to build before it actually starts cooking.  So when you see commercials touting "beef in under 10 minutes!", that's pressure cooking time, not total wall-clock time.  If you're throwing in frozen or cold food, it can take over 30m for heat and pressure to build!  This obviously makes sense and is still way faster than crockpot cooking.  For example, the first recipe I tried last year was this simple Colombian Chicken - total time was over an hour, but super easy prep.

Anyway, I did some Google searching and cooked two IP dinners this week:

1. Chicken and Brown Rice (warning, the webpage is busy as heck and loads tons of other garbage)

The family ate both and actually liked them (success!).  I thought both were very tasty as well, though probably didn't add enough salt/pepper to the chicken recipe.  Both required you to saute (onions or beef) as prep, but that can be done right in the IP and is super fast.  The benefit is that the IP and some ingredients are already hot, making pressure buildup much faster.  I was able to complete (from start to serving hot) the spaghetti dish in under 30m and I'm a fairly slow veggie chopper.  The chicken was easier to prep but took longer to cook for me since I just pulled the chicken from the fridge cold (probably around an hour total).

I'm a big fan of various chicken and stewed tomato recipes so am going to morph #1 above to use stewed tomatoes next time.  Next recipe will be something with ribs :)  I have yet to try any desert recipes but may queue one up as well.

Overall happy with the IP.  Seems to be pretty easy to cook with and the results are surprisingly great.  It is also very easy to clean and really doesn't take up much space.  One could argue about total time to cook, but I like the one-pot aspect of the IP w/o complete babysitting.  I guess we'll see how much I use it in the next year!