Food

Multicooker Magic

Instant Pot adventures

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A few months after Christmas, my sister sent a message noting her gift to me was finally on its way. The following afternoon, a FedEx guy rang the doorbell and I was introduced to my latest gustatory gadget—the Instant Pot.

I’d heard rumors about the magical multicooker, with fans pointing out it could do just about anything in the kitchen—from acting as an electric pressure cooker that cooks meat and more in a fraction of the time that a stove would, to a slow cooker, rice maker, steamer and even a yogurt-maker.

Although I was eager to test out the Instant Pot’s powers, I was intimidated not only by the amount of buttons on the face of the machine, but also by the cautionary tales about the propensity of the steam valve on the top of the lid to scald people’s skin if they release it incorrectly.

After reading a New York Times article aptly titled “How to Use an Instant Pot”—something I would recommend to anybody starting out on a similar culinary adventure—I thought I had a better handle on how not to hurt myself, and whipped up my first recipe, a chicken breast and mushroom dish that didn’t quite go as planned. I got paranoid the pot wasn’t working correctly, and interrupted the process to double-check.

Apparently, for many recipes it takes a while for the machine to get up to pressure, and at least 15 minutes to de-pressurize. I hadn’t factored that in, and thus the chicken was slightly rubbery (although it still tasted pretty good).

Since then, I’ve only burned myself once, and have gotten a lot more confident using the Instant Pot. I’ve concocted everything from corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day to amazing chicken stock, chili, rice and various soups and stews. I’ve also queried friends about what they use the device for, and am looking forward to testing its abilities to make homemade hummus, pulled pork, taco meat, potatoes, Kalua pork, country-style ribs, beans, spaghetti squash, hard-boiled eggs, a variety of Indian dishes and more.

My sister—a hardworking ICU nurse who uses her own Instant Pot on the regular to help feed her family of six—recently forwarded a recipe for an easy weeknight pork stew, and the day I read it I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand. Unlike a lot of the other soup and stew recipes I’ve seen utilizing the Instant Pot, it didn’t require the meat to be sauteed in advance or for any of the ingredients to be cooked separately—meaning I could just put everything in the pot and walk away.

The finished product was ready in a little over an hour, and was savory and delicious. Best of all, I didn’t have to stand by the stove and keep and eye on the stew the whole time. I felt like I’d pulled off a magic trick, and vowed to keep using the Instant Pot until I completely harness its magical powers.

[RECIPE]

Instant Pot Pork Stew
—By http://www.sustainabledish.com

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds (approximately) pork shoulder or country-style ribs, lamb or beef, cut into 1- or 2-inch squares
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon salt
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 medium-sized bulbs of celeriac, peeled and chopped (or 6 sticks celery, chopped)
1 pound string beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (or regular tomatoes)
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
2 cups broth (chicken or pork works well)
Freshly chopped cilantro to garnish (a handful)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, combine the meat cubes with the curry powder, ginger, cumin and salt. Mix well. Now place all the ingredients except the cilantro and salt and pepper (use to season at the end) into your Instant Pot.

Turn the pot on, be sure the steam valve is closed, and punch the “stew” button (which automatically sets the time to 35 minutes). When it’s done, turn the pot off and you can either turn the valve to release the pressure or allow it to come down on its own.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro. If you’d like it thicker, stir in some arrowroot starch. Feeds five.

Silver Reef Money
More Food...
Mixed Messages
Make your radish shine

A radish sends mixed messages.

They can look like something designed by Willy Wonka, but taste like mustard gas. In perhaps the ultimate bait-and-switch of the vegetable world, eating a radish can feel like leaning in for a kiss and getting slapped. The key is to get as much mileage out…

more »
Meal Plans
Take a Bite for Skagit

If there’s any downside to participating in the fifth annual “Take a Bite for Skagit” Foodie Fundraiser happening from dawn until dark on Thurs., May 16, it’s that it may be difficult to reach a conclusion about where to plunk down your dining dinero in the name of philanthropy.

During…

more »
Garden Goods
The rhubarb awakens

During the heyday of the Silk Road, dried rhubarb root was at times more expensive than cinnamon or opium, and Marco Polo went searching in northwest China for specimens that could thrive in Europe.

A powerful laxative, rhubarb was medicine long before it was food. Half a century after…

more »
Events
Today
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Parkinson's Dance Class

11:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Meet a Truck

1:00pm|Bellingham City Hall

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

SeaFeast Kickoff

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Spring Fling with Skagit Women in Business

5:30pm|Grand Willow Inn

Hidden Forest Foray

6:00pm|Sehome Arboretum

Off-Leash Books

6:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Spring Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Birds of the West

7:00pm

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Birds of the West

7:00pm|Village Books

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

House Concert with Wandering Seas

7:30pm

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Trove Web
Tomorrow
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Seaside BBQ

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Bellingham Community Chamber Orchestra

7:00pm| Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web
Saturday
Upper Skagit Library Photo Contest

12:00pm

Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Play Readings with Dragon Tales Productions

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

The Hobbit

7:00pm|Judson Auditorium

Matilda the Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Improvised Musicals, LOL

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #154

Concrete Saturday Market

9:00am|Concrete Community Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market2333

9:00am|Riverwalk Park

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Birch Bay Book Sale

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Birch Bay Kite Festival

10:00am|Birch Bay Beach Park

Lummi Island Artists' Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Designing a Four-Season Hummingbird Garden

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Whatcom Memorial Day Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Poetry Night with Sara Sutton

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Village Books Kids Guide 2019 Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1