Beth R. | Dec 07, 2017 | 0 Comments
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Cooking in the Instant Pot and We Love It

The Instant Pot has taken the culinary world by storm!  A true instant success!  You haven't heard of this kitchen wonder?  It is a kitchen tool/appliance that is a multi-functional cooker and cuts cooking time down to nearly by about a third of normal cooking time!  We tried one and fell in love immediately.  Imagine a tomato sauce that has the flavor from cooking all day that is ready in under an hour - Weeknight Gravy in the Instant Pot.  Or Italian Chili that normally would simmer for hours on the stove, but in the electric pressure cooker it cooks in 40 minutes.

How does a pressure cooker work?  Pressure cooking is a way of cooking in a sealed vessel that doesn't let any steam to release once it reaches a set temperature.  As the temperature inside of the vessel increases, pressure builds and allows the liquids inside rise above boiling.  Pressure cookers have been around for centuries, invented by a French Physicist in 1679.  It didn't become know for household use until during the World War II when it proved to be an energy saver and time saver.  Early models of the pressure cookers were used on the stove top.  They were heated on a burner and had a safety-valve that was activated by pressure that was to protect it from overheating or exploding.  Steam in these older models did escape at a minimal amount and were known for hissing and sputtering steam while they cooked.  In the early 1990's a patent for an electric pressure cooker was filed.

Electric Pressure cookers are different in that they have a built-in heating element and use an inner pot or cooking pot for cooking food within.  They typically allow for presetting pressure and temperatures and are all controlled by their built-in processors.  There is a whole engineering explanation on how this works - what matters is that it does indeed work and it works well!

We love the Instant Pot multi-cooker for so many reasons but here is our top five list:
  1. Replaces other small kitchen appliances such as a rice cooker, yogurt maker and slow-cooker.
  2. You can saute and cook all in one device, less pans to wash!
  3. Make meals in half the time of a traditional slow cooker
  4. Tougher cuts of meat become fork-tender in the pressure cooker
  5. These models are much safer than those we grew up with that sometimes could cause severe burns or worse!  Ever have a volcano of scalding hot barbecue sauce in your kitchen?  I have and it wasn't pretty!
We decided after seeing post after post on Pinterest and our favorite blog sites (Skinnytaste, and Lexi's Clean Kitchen to name a couple) and decided we needed to get our hands on one and get cooking!  We started off simple by making a couple of soups and a basic chili recipe.  We did a bit of researching to find out how to convert cooking times from traditional stove top cooking to the quicker pressure cooking times.  We found this guide on the Instant Pot website to be very helpful along with many other (and by many we MANY) other sites that have guides and tables on cooking times.  We then moved onto a favorite recipe of ours that normally cooks in the oven for 3 hours - Braised Beef with Red Wine and Tomatoes.  We loved that we could brown the meat and the veggies using the Saute function and then added the remaining ingredients, placed the lid on, set it to Seal and cooked on High pressure for 45 minutes and allowed it to naturally release pressure for an additional 20 minutes before releasing remaining pressure manually.  The meat was tender and had great flavor, but the broth was a bit on the thin side - more like an au jus instead of a gravy that you get when braise in the oven.  But we all agreed on a weeknight when time is tight it was still delicious and would make our weekly meal plan rotation.

We found ourselves pulling this cooker out for quick steaming of broccoli, making rice while other dishes cooked on the stove and "boiled" 18 eggs at once for deviled eggs!  Talk about peeling like a dream!  We even made a cheesecake in a special pan that fit our Duo 6 Quart with no cracks!  This tool was staying on the counter and being used 2-3 times a week!  We needed more recipes and along with the Italian Chili and Weeknight Gravy, we added Pork Verde Chili and Beef Short Ribs Italian Style to our growing list and they didn't disappoint!

We love kitchen gadgets!  See what we thought about the Inspiralizer, click here.

Many of you may have your eye on getting one of these, maybe you tried to snag one on Black Friday or put in on your holiday wishlist?  For those of you who are coveting the hottest kitchen "gadget" for the past 2-3 years, wait no more!  We are giving away 5 that's FIVE Instant Pot Duo 6 quart pressure cookers and Tuttorosso products to cook with.  One lucky winner will win the Ultra Instant Pot Package that includes a 10-in-1 Instant Pot Ultra 6 Quart, Tuttorosso Tomato Products and our favorite accessories for the Instant Pot!  Registration ends December 13, so register today!  And if you don't have one or maybe aren't ready to take the IP plunge, all of our Instant Pot Recipes have basic oven or stove-top directions as well.

Do you own an electric pressure cooker?  What's your favorite thing to cook in one?

 

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