I’ve rhapsodized about my Breville Smart Oven, expensive but well-worth the price especially since my full-sized oven is broken, but the Breville’s place in my culinary heart may have been taken over by the Instant Pot. This appliance, available under several brands, is essentially an electric pressure cooker with added features so that it’s great for making a meal in one pot.
I’ve always been afraid of pressure cookers. The stories of exploding pots and hot beans erupting and painting the ceiling didn’t do anything for my confidence. Even my daughter Rebecca, the cookbook author, who uses a pressure cooker couldn’t convince me …until one day I saw an Instant Pot for a price I couldn’t pass up.
Now I use it at least once a week and sometimes more.
Here are some recipes for tried and true classics that are quick and easy in the Instant Pot and as good or better than when they are made the traditional way. And they are perfect for winter.
The advantage of using a pressure cooker is not having to watch or time the pot. The soup also comes out clearer without a lot of skimming and tastes as if it’s been cooking all day.
- 2 lbs. chicken thighs and legs, skin on and bone in
- 1-2 lbs. of assorted chicken parts, such as necks, backs, wings
- 1 medium onion , halved with skin on but root end cut off
- 2 medium carrots, unpeeled
- 3 stalks of celery, rinsed
- 1 small parsnip
- 1 small parsley root ( or good sized bunch of parsley,rinsed and tied tightly with string)
- 12 cups of water
- 3 T kosher salt
- fresh dill (optional)
- matzah balls or noodles (optional
- Add all non-optional ingredients except salt to the pressure cooker and set to high for 45 minutes.
- (In the meantime you can prepare noodles or matzah balls)
- When 45 minutes is up, manually release the pressure. The broth may be oily and a little foamy-this is normal.
- remove the solids but do not discard. remove the large chunks of chicken meat and carrot and set aside.
- Place the solids you did not set aside in a mesh strainer over a pot and press the solids to release the broth. Discard the solids and rinse the strainer.
- Strain the broth from the pressure cooker through the mesh strainer.
- Season to taste with the kosher salt. Add salt gradually especially if using kosher chicken.
- Serve immediately or cool and then refrigerate. Skim off any fat that congeals on top.
- Garnish with chopped dill and serve as is or with noodles or matzah balls.
NOTE: Since this releases a lot of steam, it’s best to set up the pressure cooker near a kitchen exhaust fan.
If you like soup but want something heartier than a chicken soup, why not try gumbo. Filled with vegetables and meat, but with lots of liquid for soaking up rice, a gumbo is perfect for the Instant Pot. Even people who don’t like okra, will enjoy this unique vegetable in a gumbo. And don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients.
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 c. celery chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 pkg Andouille sausage cut into rounds (or substitute Kielbasa or Chorizo which is spicy)
- 1/3 c. flour
- 1/3.c margarine or oil
- 3 c. chicken broth
- 1 lb. chicken, cubed
- 2 tsp. Creole season or to taste
- 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
- 1 (14-15 oz) can of roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 1 c. okra sliced
- 4 c. cooked rice
- Set Instant Pot to saute and add 2 T .olive oil.
- Add peppers, onions, celery, garlic and sausage.
- Saute for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables become soft.
- Remove vegetables and sausage and set aside.
- Immediately add remaining oil or margarine to Instant Pot and stir, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the pot. When hot, add flour.
- Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly until dark brown, forming a roux. Turn cooker off.
- Add chicken broth, cooked vegetables and sausage and chicken, Creole seasoning, diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
- Close and lock lid of pot. Turn steam release handle to Sealing position.
- Press Manual and select High Pressure. Set time to 20 minutes. When time is up, turn cooker off.
- Quick release by turning valve to venting.
- When pressure is fully released, remove lid and stir in okra. Press sauté and cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf.
- Serve with rice.
NOTES: This is a spicy dish. Do not add ground pepper until you’ve tasted the gumbo. You can also add small meatballs to the mix.
Instant Pot Meatloaf
Who doesn’t like a juicy meatloaf on a chilly winter night. Add some roasted potatoes and the meal is perfect. For years my mother’s meatloaf recipe was my go to recipe. But meatloaf made in an Instant Pot is so good that Mum’s Meatloaf just got shoved to the back of the recipe box.
- 1 1/2 c water (for the pressure cooker)
- 2 lbs. lean ground turkey or beef or combination
- 1/2 c. breadcrumbs or Panko (I like Panko)
- 2 T dehydrated onion or 1/2 cup fresh, finely diced
- 1 1/2 tsp.. coarse salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp garlic powder or 3 cloves pressed fresh garlic
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (or steak seasoning if using beef)
- 1/2 c. light non dairy creamer or eliminate totally
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 c. ketchup
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp mustard
- Mix all of the meatloaf ingredients together and combine thoroughly. Don’t overmix.
- Put water in the instant pot and the steamer rack.
- Place meat mixture on a piece of foil and form into a rounded loaf shape.
- Grab the foil and lift the meatloaf into the pot and set it on the rack. Close the lid and set the stem release knob to the sealing position,
- Press the pressure cooker button and adjust the time to 35 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is finished and the unit beeps, leave it to do a natural pressure release of 10 minutes. Then turn the steam release knob and do a quick release of he remaining pressure.
- Before taking the meatloaf out of the cooker, make sure the internal temperature is 160 degrees. And then use a small knife to poke a few holes in the foil so that the drippings will drain into the water below.
- Grasp the two ends of the foil and carefully lift the meatloaf out of the pot and place on a baking tray.
- Turn on broiler to 450 with the rack in the middle.
- Spread glaze all over the meatloaf and put it under the broiler for few minutes to caramelize.
- Serve with potatoes or rice.
NOTES: This can be made in a conventional oven also. It will just take longer and won’t be quite as moist. The half cup of liquid can easily be eliminated as the steam keeps the meatloaf moist.
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