Need a little basic Instant Pot (IP) info? Scroll down to bottom of post.
I not long ago had a chat with a fellow food writer. No need to mention names and you’ll see why. The subject of Instant Pots came up. This person pointed out the box that had been sitting for weeks, maybe months, in his/her closet. And, yes, you know what was in that box: an Instant Pot. (IP). A slow shake of the head, a flutter of the eyelashes, and a tiny slide of the mouth to one side indicated distaste with even touching that parcel, much less figuring out how to cook with it. “Someday,” s/he shrugged.
What is an Instant Pot anyway? (People ask this regularly in the winter of 2018.)
I felt a bit the same, as I’m not into rushing through anything in the kitchen and waited way long into the IP sermon before even ordering one. Mine actually arrived last April (2017), just in time to begin testing recipes for _______ ________’s Instant Pot Cookbook. I didn’t sit on it too many days before test-driving it, as time was of the essence, but it has spent quite a bit of time in my closet when not in use. I had nowhere to put it in the kitchen; my kitchen is full, including the cabinets.
I keep four appliances on the counter in the kitchen: Breville food processor, Kitchen Aid mixer, KRUPS coffee pot, and NESPRESSO espresso maker. (Now you know.) The food processor is used nearly daily; it has a spot of prime real estate. The mixer is over the way a bit, but right where I can turn it on fast anytime someone needs muffins.
I can’t live without being able to push that coffee button every morning (truth in blogging–Dave –husband– often does it); I use an old school electric drip pot and make a big pot at o’dark early. The espresso is supplemental around here, but sometimes really necessary. Instant Pot (IP) joining that crowd? Probably not. Closet it was for me, too, though I’m a bit embarrassed to say so. Don’t feel badly, IP, the slow cooker’s in the garage freezing its butt off even though I just used it to make chili.
I’m rarely in a hurry to cook dinner (in fact I’m all about taking my time, right?), but I’m not sure if this wouldn’t have been just as fast on the stove (definitely would be quicker in the microwave), given the
- 1. prep time
- 2. coming up to pressure time
- 3. cooking time
- 4. waiting for pressure to come down time (depressurizing)
- 5. puréeing and the
- 6. cleaning up
–which is no small thing given the parts of the cooker. Math isn’t my strong suit, but it’s just a good feeling as I’ve cooked oh, about a gajillion pots of soup in my day and washed many more soup pots as soup gets warmed up so often. Still, it was fun, could be made anywhere equipped with electricity (cabin or rv without stove?), and I’ll continue to suss out new methods and recipes. Why not? That’ll keep me at it and waiting to see if I ever completely jump on this gadget bandwagon, as well. Big pieces of meat like briskets, pork shoulders, dry beans, risotto, and so on are lovely; that’s my sense so far and others seem to feel likewise. Regular rice? Lentils? Not so much. And that’s all only if you aren’t attached to the sweet aromas of slow cooking meals–in a kettle, Dutch oven, or slow cooker– following you around the house all day (or greeting you on arrival home), as am I. By the way, Melissa Clark’s (NYT) guideline is to make it on the stove if the stovetop cooking time is 20 minutes or less.
About my soup: A serving is all of 154 calories ( that’s with chicken broth–less with vegetable broth) and will keep you in your New Year’s resolution mode of salad for lunch every day–chew, chew, chew–without the salad! If nothing else, I used up a ton of vegetables that needed cooking…and have ultra-healthy lunches and snacks for all week long. As you might if you try this:
Naturally gluten-free. If you’d like to make this soup totally vegetarian or vegan, choose italic ingredients where noted. A bit spicy, hefty-hearty and great for a meal or a snack. If you need more, grilled whole grain bread and sharp Cheddar are accompaniments I’d choose.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced (well-washed)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, sliced or diced
- 1 pound yellow squash, diced
- 1/2 pound carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon ground rosemary
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
- Minced green onion or grated Parmesan for garnish
- Press SAUTÉ feature and adjust to NORMAL. Add oil, heat for 10-20 seconds, and tip in garlic; cook, stirring for a minute. Add leeks, onion, and celery. Continue cooking, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are softening.
- Add remainder of ingredients except green onions/grated Parmesan (garnishes): butternut squash – chicken/vegetable broth.
- Secure lid and close the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE. Select MANUAL and set for 10 minutes, pressure cooking. (It may then say ON and take several minutes to build up pressure before it actually says  again and begins cooking.)
- When pressure cooking is completed, let sit cooling to use NATURAL RELEASE to depressurize–may take 20 minutes or more. Press CANCEL. Open the PRESSURE-RELEASE VALVE and allow steam to release. Open lid.
- Purée using a hand-held immersion blender or carefully in batches in the food processor or blender (hold towel down tightly over lid). Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with green onions or Parmesan, as desired.
COOK’S NOTE: Place IP in a spot in your kitchen where it will not emit and release steam onto the underside of your cabinets or other surfaces.
Have my soup cookbook? This is very close to an IP version of “Creamy Butternut and Other Squash Soup” on page 11. I’m interested to see how my recipes translate here.
Need breakfast? Bring a cup or two of this soup to a simmer and break in an egg. Salt, pepper, lower heat and cover until the egg is done to your liking–3 minutes for mine and another minute off the heat, still covered.
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 5 g||8 %|
|Saturated Fat 1 g||4 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 4 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 7 mg||2 %|
|Sodium 338 mg||14 %|
|Potassium 588 mg||17 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 19 g||6 %|
|Dietary Fiber 4 g||16 %|
|Sugars 5 g|
|Protein 5 g||10 %|
|Vitamin A||369 %|
|Vitamin C||54 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Nutrition for soup (only) data provided by fitness pal dot com
BRAND NEW TO INSTANT POT? Read your manual and recipes well, though at the first reading of my book, I quickly decided to check out a youtube video that might make particularly the diagrams clearer. This made all the difference in the world, as my paper copy looked something like this:
You might do the same. I hesitate to recommend one as there are tons and at this point nearly a year later, I can’t remember which one I watched. You might choose the one with the most likes or just the one that appeals. (diagram courtesy Instant Pot)
Other helps just below by NYT’s Melissa Clark and, of course, on lots of blogs and websites; take your choice.
Here’s the pot I bought nearly 10 months ago: Instant Pot LUX60 V3 6 Qt, 6-in-1 Multi Use… Now that I’ve looked around more, I think I should have bought an 8-quart, though I’m not sure which model I’d choose at this point. More to come as I may switch mine out. My kids are stellar cooks and have no truck with occasionally taking home my used equipment. If I’m making soup, a 6 quart is just not large enough. Also, you can only fill the pot 1/2 full if making something that increases in size (or froths)–such as beans. If you like to cook big, an 8-quart pot could be in your future.
BOOKS AND BLOGS:
I’m not at a place where I’ve used enough recipes from either these books to say they’re the best of the bunch, but they are the ones I chose and so far I haven’t wanted others. There are many available! As to the first, I would trust any book by Melissa Clark and the second one, INSTANT POT MIRACLE (bought at COSTCO for only $13.99), is authorized by Instant Pot. I do wish the latter had an indicated author(s); instead there are a few recipes attributed to bloggers, but little else. Someone, or a few someones, wrote that book!
Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark
Instant Pot Miracle–Editors at Houghton-Mifflin
BLOGS: Kalyn Denny’s blog, SLOW COOKER OR PRESSURE COOKER, for more favorite recipes for IP and slow cookers. Or check out PRESSURECOOKINGTODAY, which also contains a review of the Crock-Pot version of the electric pressure cooker.
If you liked this post, you might like my Cauliflower-Cheese Soup with Bacon and Wine.
Thanks for spending more time at the table! I’m grateful you’re here.
Do cook a new recipe at home,