I am a woman that any kitchen gadget is generally never going to be wasted on. I love my Magimix, my little tea strainer , my old sandwich maker, all of it. And everything in the kitchen big or small gets used. The wash up is a nightmare. So when my husband surprised me (and I mean total shock) with an Instant Pot Duo this Christmas. I sat perplexed, slightly overwhelmed at all the things this one item could do. I wondered if he might have been hoping for less wash up? But as it turns out, he was ticking off all the things I have mentioned over a long time that would be cool to have. Or have mentioned my super cool culinary genius friend Ciarán has. One being a Sous Vide. (That man is no ordinary home cook.) But I digress.
So after a week on the floor still in the box, the Instant Pot was unwrapped, and the first thing I realised was how heavy it is. This thing is huge and really heavy. My pot is an 8 litre so obviously its big. Im use to my Breville slow cooker that weighs nothing at all. I then stare at it on the counter for a further 2 weeks becoming more and more daunted by all those buttons. Sauté, broil, slow cook, pressure cook, air-fry, sous vide, steam, roast, dehydrate and so on. At this point I hadn’t even taken off the lid. Every now and then, said husband, who was starting to worry he had made the wrong choice would ask, “what are you going to make, maybe some chips in the air fryer?”. My reply quiet guiltily would be, “I need a quiet day to just get my head around it”. “Well, just don’t blow your face off and read the instructions” would be the response. Not words to in-still confidence.
I realised the thing that was really making me stall was in fact the Pressure Cooker. I had never used one. Not to be deterred by anything in a kitchen along with some encouragement from avid pressure cooker and Instant Pot users. I set about having a good look at this gadget, instruction book in hand. I realised very quickly, I was getting myself to bogged down in valves, release buttons, timers and all this additional while important information. Rather than just picking something and following a recipe. I have to commend the makers of the Instant Pot, they have a great little section in their instructions about doing a trial. And this was my saviour, because this pot is so well made, so sturdy with safety measure, and switch locks. That really the only way I was likely to blow my face off was if I lay face down on the pressure vale. Plus it’s only a matter of switching lids depending on the type of cooking you are doing. Two lids, not exactly rocket science.
I began with something simple like a soup. “Oh my gosh, it’s so easy” I proclaimed excitedly. Everything in one pot, sauté first, then pressure cook. The flavours were wonderful. Everything timed and done to perfection. No slaving over a stove for ages sweating and simmering. 20 minutes I was done. Where has this thing been all my life? I then progressed to the air fryer . Which Im still working out. Yes it crisps for sure. But I might like it better if the bowl had some kind of rack that splits the contents. In saying that, my roasted veg, potatoes were really lovely. It’s really handy when doing a big roast dinner and you only have one oven. As you can do the potatoes in it and not have to worry about room in the oven. Thats a real bonus.
As my confidence has grown I have become a little more adventurous . This week I dived into a great book I was given as a Christmas gift to accompany my Instant Pot. The Milk Street, Fast & Slow by Christopher Kimball. Initially when I looked through the book I was a little worried as the book is for a 6 quart pot. And mine is an 8 litre. But it didn’t matter. I cooked the Filipino Pork Adobo. Oh sweet mothers of cooking, this is where these Instant Pots come into their own. I love slow cooking, I’ve been doing it for years. I had intended using the slow cook feature, as the recipes in the book give either a fast or slow cook options for all their dishes. Alas time ran away with me on the day. So I went with the fast cook option. Admittedly dubious it would work considering what the dish was. How wrong was I? This was another level of flavour retention, and falling apart meat from a cooking style. Traditionally a Pork Adobo cooks for hours. Mine was cooked in 30 minutes having all the flavour & tender meat, you’d expect from one cooked over hours. This is what you want from a great piece of cooking equipment. Something that eases the cooking and prep, retains the integrity of the ingredients and provides the user with nutritious meals. Whats even better is its one pot to wash. If your a busy house, regardless of your size, then this is definitely a piece of kitchen equipment worth getting. We were all gobsmacked at how good this was. I have now earmarked at least 10 recipes from the Milk Street book I’ll be trying in the coming weeks.
What I like even better about the Instant Pot, is that it can actually save you a lot of money if you use it right. For example, you can buy the cheapest cuts of meat and they will come out restaurant quality. If like me you buy things like dehydrated fruit to munch on. This baby will do it for you. You will save money, you’ll save on the packaging and you’ll retain more of the nutritious quality of your ingredients. All good in my book.
There are very few items on the market you can buy that cook in so many ways, while retaining the integrity of the food. Allowing the consumer to eat everything from soup, chips, pasta to meat in a nutritious healthy flavour retaining way. As a housewife and family cook you really can’t ask for more. This thing even makes yogurt for go sake! (Are you sensing Im over my initial apprehension?). Finally what probably put it up on top of the Kitchen gadget list this week was the range of sizes it comes in. So why is that important.? Well if you live alone, or are just two people, cooking may seem like a drag, storage might be an issue. Let’s be honest kitchen equipment does tend to be aimed at family cooking. However when you can buy an Instant Pot in a 3 litre size, which does all these things. Then that opens up the idea of cooking quick, wholesome nutritious meals for 1 or 2 to a wider audience of homemaker. Lots of people live alone, yet are really forgotten by recipe books and the food kitchen kit scene. As I have family that live alone, both young & older, I love that this super machine can be useful to them. When my son grows up and moves out. This will be the gift he will be getting. Bye, bye cook your own dinner now. lol!
So was it an instant hit? Well, when I first saw it probably more confusion than hit. But once I switched it on I fell in love with it. It is brilliant. Every house should have one. I have used it every day for something wether its a soup, to air fry to roast, to put the pressure on , you name it. Husband has earned trillions of brownie points on this machine. Now I know why he was so excited about it. This is the mother of all pieces of kitchen kit. Do yourself a favour and get one. You’ll save a fortune, cut your cooking time by half if not more and you will wow your tummy with gorgeous flavourful food. Not to mention the most important one….less wash up. xx https://instantpot.com/portfolio-item/duo/