Fast food that’s great for you.
That’s the thing about the InstantPot. After months of teaching InstantPot cooking classes at Williams Sonoma, I feel like I can finally say that I’ve seen the range of what this smart little pressure cooker can do. From cheesecake and cornbread, to macaroni and cheese, even cog au vin blanc (fancy, right?) and chicken stock…this incredible device aids in getting a healthy dinner on the table fast.
At Vie, we’ve been overloaded with requests to start featuring more InstantPot-friendly recipes. So we are doing just that. Truth be told, most of the recipes we write can be made in the InstantPot, but I figured I’d take the time today to highlight the top 7 rules to follow when using the IP, or when transitioning a favorite recipe.
- The Saute function is your best friend. Offering something that a slow cooker can’t, you can build a greater depth of flavor by doing a quick saute of aromatics in oil/butter before adding your other ingredients. Same goes for meat, just make sure to not overcrowd the pan.
- Incorporate the time it takes to heat in your overall cook time expectations.
- Don’t under/overfill with liquid. You’ll need minimum one cup, but make sure not to go over the MAX line.
- Layer ingredients based on texture and required cook time.
- Slice everything into larger-than-normal pieces.
- Don’t wait for the steam to release naturally, use a long-handled spoon to open the steam valve, just make sure you’re standing far enough away to not get burned, and that your IP is not sitting directly underneath your cabinets, as the steam can cause warping over time.
- Start your IP in the morning and simply steam to reheat in the evening. Almost anything will keep in the IP for a few hours since the steam helps to banish bad bacteria and once the pressure cooking time is finished, the machine simply keeps things on warm for you until you tell it otherwise.
Other tips: Use your IP everyday, making something different each time. Here’s an example of what I do at home:
I poach a whole chicken in water, remove it once cooled and pick off meat. I store the stock in a glass jar for use in sauces and soups throughout the week. I’ll then store both in the fridge until I need them, but the chicken bones will go back in with more water (plus any veggies scraps I have in my stock bag). I’ll make stock out of these once more, and typically freeze the broth until I need it.
Make grains. Using stock, I’ll cook my grains (6 minutes on high pressure). I’ll flavor them with onion salt from Trader Joe’s and some butter or olive oil + water sauces I have on hand (chimichurri comes to mind!).
Make beans. Using only water and a thumb-sized piece of kombu (seaweed), I’ll cook a pound of dried beans without needing to soak them beforehand. Just make sure not to add salt! This can arrest the cooking of the beans.
Steam veggies: a whole head of cauliflower or broccoli, some Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes or green beans…you name it. I steam most veggies for 3 minutes, then remove them immediately after a quick release of steam and plunge into an ice water bath to prevent overcooking. No one needs a mushy mess…
Make a big batch of baked oatmeal or overnight oats (or even just porridge) using the Porridge setting. 3 cups dried oats will last us all week and can be kept in a container for up to 6 days.
Make a dessert. Melissa Clark’s NYC Cheesecake from her book Dinner in an Instant is my favorite, but really any pound cake-style recipe that benefits from having a little moisture is good. Molten Lava Cakes, anyone? Those work, too!
Rest day…and leftovers! My IP needs a break and will resume it’s job the following day.
MAIN Moroccan Rice with Potatoes, Sausage & Chickpeas
Yield 4-6 servings
Comfort food that's rich in color & flavor. Making this dish in the InstantPot saves you time and is an effortless meal for a last-minute dinner scramble.
1 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch saffron *optional
1 Tbsp turmeric
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
2-4 chicken sausages, cubed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups jasmine or basmati rice
2-3 cups chicken stock
- Begin by prepping ingredients and heating pressure cooker to the brown/saute function.
- Add olive oil, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add all spices and stir to combine. Toast spices with onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add bell pepper, potatoes, and sausage. Stir to combine.
- Add rice and chicken stock and stir to make sure everything is well mixed.
- Push the cancel/stop button, close the lid and push the rice button, reducing the time to 6 minutes on high pressure.
- Manually release the pressure once cooking time is done, remove lid carefully and serve hot!