Ultimately, few inventions will go down in the annals of history as truly life-affirming creations –– electricity, democracy, and Pop Tarts probably. But, one recent invention that could ride the fan-favorite vote all the way into permanent history: The Pressure Cooker, aka the Instant Pot.
Regardless of what you call it (crock pot, pressure cooker, instapot), not since Instagram’s Amaro filter has one device made so many people look good. Essentially, if you are capable of throwing a random set of ingredients into a pot and waiting patiently, you are able to cook with an Instapot. Get your hands one, learn a few basic concepts, and you’re on your way to culinary greatness:
First, take it for a test spin with just water before making a full-on meal. This way you’ll know its quirks and be able to cook with confidence. All you do is:
- Add a cup or two of water to the pressure cooker pot (you always use the inner pot).
- Lock the lid in place.
- Make sure the valve is in the sealing/pressure cooking position.
- Select a pressure cooking button with a short cook time.
- Watch while the pressure cooker does all the work. It will take about 5 minutes for the water to heat up and build pressure; when pressure is reached the time will start counting down.
- Second, be sure you know how to release the pressure once the cooker has finished. The easiest way is to do nothing and let the pressure release all by itself. But each pot should also come with a set of instructions on how to manually release the pressure so you can be in control of when something stops cooking.
- Once you have a feel for you pot, the possibilities of what you can make are endless. Headed to a holiday party or office potluck this year? Perfect. Grab an Instapot, think up your favorite side dish, and before you can wipe the drool from your chin it’s ready to go!
Here are a few instant pot recipes and ideas that we’re stewing over (pun intended) for our future office gatherings this holiday season.
Creamy Broccoli Mac ‘n Cheese
Anyone who doesn’t like mac ‘n cheese is wrong. Plain and simple. It’s probably one of the most perfect foods we have as humans. And with a pressure cooker, it’s probably one of the easiest things to make. This creamy recipe also calls for the addition of broccoli, to give it a little extra crunch.
Pork & Pinto Bean Chili
Martha Stewart, the reigning Queen of the Kitchen, has a number of great pressure cooker recipes but this Pork & Pinto Bean Chili seems particularly apt for the season, and is a perfect addition to any group meal.
Crock Pot Apple Cobbler
In case you were skeptical that it truly is possible to cook just about anything in a pressure cooker, may we present Goop’s recipe for the perfect looking Crock Pot Apple Cobbler. Leave it to Gwyneth Paltrow to make crock pot cooking effortlessly chic.