I got a new toy and I want to shout out to the world…. “THIS THING ROCKS!” I don’t know about you, but I have always been nervous to try my hand at pressure cooking. I have visions of steaming my face off and not in a relaxing facial kind of way. I remember our northern BC days listening to the steady steaming noise of the pressure cooker my sister in law used to cook our wild game dinners and of course for canning. I always ran for cover when she opened it, so I was a little scared to try this new Instant Pot, but I couldn’t be more wrong! I am happy to report that this bad boy is super easy to use and not scary at all.
If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is, this is the down and dirty (taken from the Instant Pot website https://instantpot.com/ Instant Pot® is the Smart Multi-Use, Programmable Pressure Cooker designed by Canadians with the objective of being Convenient, Dependable & Safe.
The Instant Pot speeds up cooking by 2-6 times using up to 70% less energy, while preserving nutrients and preparing healthy tasty dishes. The Instant Pot combines the functions of a Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice/Porridge Cooker, Yogurt Maker, Sauté/Searing Pan, Steamer, and Warmer. Built with 11 smart programs – Soup/Broth, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Slow Cook, Sauté/Searing, Rice, Porridge, Steam, Yogurt, Keep Warm, and Pressure Cook, your favorite dishes are as simple as pressing a button! You can even delay start up to 24 hours – that’s how easy it is! And if your food is ready before you are, the keep warm setting will keep your food warm for up to 10 hours, but really who needs to keep dinner waiting for 10 hours? I mean if you must wait that long, you should probably find a different dinner date, but that’s just my opinion. What do you know that can steam corn, green peas, carrots from fresh or frozen in 2-3 minutes? I know what can – the Instant Pot, that’s what!
Even though I’m not working anymore, I still value my time – even my time doing one of the things I love, COOKING. So when my friend got an Instant Pot and told me it took her 16 minutes to cook some fall of the bone ribs…….SOLD! Truth be told, I originally thought it would be a great gift for my daughter for Christmas. She works full time as well as run a busy photography business while momming a busy 3-year-old, so I figured it would work well for her. As the responsible mother that I am, I decided to do a test run for her and I am blown away! I can emphatically say that she definitely needs one!
Wanna know what I made? Well, read on to see the first two things I cautiously made in my Instant Pot and stay tuned for more, because I guarantee you, I will be making more yummy things as time goes on! The first recipe is for Coconut Curry Chicken which is one of ten recipes from Melissa Clark’s Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker and Instant Pot. Melissa’s ‘Dinner in an Instant’ is available everywhere books are sold. I will say that I made a couple of slight changes to the recipe so the recipe I am sharing is modified slightly to work for my family (we are wimpy where spice is concerned).
This coconut sauce is so yummy, you will want to slather it on everything!
3 – 4 Ripe Tomatoes, halved
3 Tablespoons Ghee, Unsalted Butter or Safflower Oil (I used unsalted butter because honestly, I don’t know what Ghee is)
3 Tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil
2 Cups Finely Chopped Onions
6 Garlic Cloves (grated or minced)
2 Tablespoons Grated Peeled Fresh Ginger
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds (I used 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin)
1 – 3 inch Cinnamon Stick or ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
8 Cardamom Pods, lightly crushed with the flat side of a knife or 1 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric
2 Tablespoons Ground Curry (the recipe I followed didn’t call for curry at all, but I added this in)
¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (I omitted this because I was feeding this to little ones)
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 ½ Pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 – 2 Teaspoons Garam Masala (to taste)
½ Cup Canned Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Cooked Basmati Rice for serving
Plain Yogurt for Serving
3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro for garnish
- Use a mandolin on grater setting or set a box grater over a bowl. Starting with their cut sides, grate the tomatoes saving the pulp. Measure out 2 cups of pulp. Discard the skins.
- Using the sauté function, heat the butter and the coconut oil in the Instant Pot. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring often to encourage even browning, until they are caramelized (12 – 18 minutes). Stir in the garlic, ginger, curry and cumin; cook until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Stir in the cinnamon and cardamom and cook for another minute. Then stir in the coriander, salt, turmeric, red pepper flakes, black pepper and finally the tomato paste.
- Add the chicken to the sauce, cover and cook on low pressure for 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. If the sauce seems too thin after cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl and then simmer the sauce on the sauté setting until it has thickened to taste. (Note that the coconut milk will thin the sauce down further). Stir in the garam masala and the coconut milk, and let the curry sit for 20 minutes for the flavors too meld.
- Serve with the rice and yogurt if desired. Garnish with cilantro.
The next recipe I tried was some yummy Refried Beans! I’ll be honest, I have not had the best of luck cooking beans from scratch – EVER. No matter what I do, they have been crunchy and tasteless, so I was a bit nervous but willing to go out on a limb and give them a try. I was making some yummy enchilada’s and thought what the heck?! I’m happy to report that they were a perfect compliment to my enchilada’s and super easy to boot. This recipe came from The Pudge Factor (Isn’t that the greatest name?) http://pudgefactor.com/instant-pot-mexican-smashed-pinto-beans/. The Pudge Factor creator originally set out to create a cookbook for a Christmas Gift to give to family members with the first edition printed in 1997. Rather than produce hard copies of the third edition, they decided to go digital, and publish the recipes to pudgefactor.com. There are many many recipes on this site and I intend to use quite a few of them as I continue my Cooking in Cowboy Boots blog, which I will share with you as time goes on!
Creamy refried beans to compliment any Mexican Dish!
- 2 cups (16 ounces) dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 jalapeño pepper, spine and seeds removed, and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- Place all ingredients in Instant Pot. Cover, making sure that the steam vent is closed. Select Bean/Chili. This setting is for 30 minutes on normal pressure.
- At end of cooking cycle, allow Instant Pot to depressurize normally. Remove lid. Stir to combine ingredients.
- Remove about 1 cup of liquid; set aside.
- Process beans with immersion blender, until smooth. If necessary add reserved liquid to desired consistency.
- Season to taste.
I hope you enjoy as much as we did!