Cooking Under Pressure

I am fairly new to the world of electric pressure cookers. I have a stovetop pressure cooker so I never felt the need for another kitchen gadget. However, a friend recently gifted me an Instant Pot, and—to my surprise—I love it.

Cooking Under Pressure

Chicken and Dumplings

Serves 6-8
Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

1.5 pounds chicken breast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Water
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chicken stock base or 1 bouillon cube
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
16-ounce tube refrigerated biscuits
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper

Directions

Place chicken breasts into the pot of an electric pressure cooker. Add salt and enough water to cover the chicken. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on meat setting, 15 minutes. Vent to release pressure. Drain chicken and reserve cooking liquid. Shred chicken with two forks. Set aside. To the pressure cooker add the butter, onion and garlic. Cook on sauté setting on low (use adjust button to turn the sauté heat down to low) until onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken base and the flour. To the reserved chicken cooking liquid, add enough liquid to equal 8 cups. Whisk the liquid into the flour until smooth. Add the frozen vegetables and shredded chicken. Open the biscuits and cut each biscuit into 6 to 8 pieces. Add the biscuits to the pressure cooker. Close the lid. Pressure cook on for 5 minutes. Vent to release pressure. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Click here to watch a step-by-step video to learn how to make this recipe!

 




Pork Carnitas Tacos

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Serves 10 to 12
Pork Carnitas Tacos

Ingredients

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
2 oranges, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dry oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tortillas
Chopped red onion
Chopped cilantro
Queso fresco
Diced avocado

Directions

Cut the pork shoulder into 2- to 3-inch cubes. Add the pork to the pot of an electric pressure cooker, along with the sliced onion, minced garlic, chopped jalapeño, orange juice, lime juice, water, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on multigrain setting, 90 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Once the floating pressure valve sinks, remove the lid. Alternatively, use the slow cooker function on the Instant Pot to cook on high for 6 hours or medium for 10 hours. Remove the pork. Drain the liquid and reserve for another use. Shred pork. Add olive oil to the pot of the pressure cooker and turn on the sauté setting to medium. Working in batches, add the shredded pork to the pressure cooker and cook, stirring, until brown and crispy. Serve in tortillas, topped with red onion, cilantro, queso and avocado, as desired.




Cinnamon Apples

Yields 6 cups
Cinnamon Apples

Ingredients

4 large apples
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/3 cup cold water

Directions

Peel and core apples. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. To the pot of an electric pressure cooker, add the apple slices, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl combine corn starch and water; mix well. Add corn starch mixture to pressure cooker. Place lid on and move steam release to sealing. Cook on manual for 5 minutes, for firm apples. Firm apples work well as filling for pie or for apple crisp. Cook 8 minutes for softer apples. Soft apples are a delicious ice cream topping. 

 




Easy Cinnamon-Apple Crisp

Serves 6-8
Easy Cinnamon-Apple Crisp

Ingredients

1 recipe cinnamon apples
3 cups granola cereal

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the cinnamon apples into an 8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle granola over top. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with ice cream. 

 




Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 6-8
Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

1.5 pounds fresh or frozen ground beef
4 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup uncooked rice
4-ounce can tomato paste
6 bell peppers
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

For frozen beef, place the trivet (small metal rack with feet) into the bottom of an electric pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water to the pot. Place the frozen meat on the trivet. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on manual for 10 minutes. Vent to release pressure. Remove meat and drain liquid. Return pot to cooker. Turn on sauté setting to medium heat. Add oil to pot along with fresh or defrosted beef, onions, garlic and salt. Cook on sauté, to brown beef, breaking it apart with a spatula. Add the rice and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add 2 cups of the water. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on rice setting for 10 minutes. Vent to release pressure. While the rice is cooking, cut the tops off the bell peppers; remove seeds and ribs. Once the rice is done cooking, divide the mixture evenly between the peppers. To cook the peppers, place the trivet into the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water. Arrange the peppers on the trivet. Top each pepper with parmesan cheese. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on steam setting for 5 minutes. Vent to release pressure. Allow to cool for several minutes before carefully removing from pressure cooker. 

 




Curried Cauliflower and Chickpeas

Serves 6-8
Curried Cauliflower and Chickpeas

Ingredients

1 cup dry chickpeas
3 cups water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut into very thin rings
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
24 ounces frozen cauliflower

Directions

To the pot of an electric pressure cooker, add the chickpeas, water and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on multigrain setting, 25 minutes. Vent to release pressure. Drain chickpeas and set aside. To the pressure cooker, add the oil. Heat pot on sauté setting and use adjust button to change temperature to high. Cook onions until they are dark brown (almost burnt-looking), stirring as needed. Use adjust button to turn the sauté heat down to low. Add the garlic, curry powder and cumin and cook over low for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cauliflower and chickpeas. Place lid on cooker and move steam release to sealing position. Cook on steam setting, 6 minutes. Vent to release pressure. Season with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste. Serve as a vegetable side or a vegetarian main dish. 

 



 

Here are a few things I’ve learned as I’ve used my Instant Pot: 

  •  Make sure to add liquid to the pot in order for pressure to build: 1/2 cup to 1 cup is minimum. 
  • For pressure cooking, place the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the movable steam release handle on top to “sealing.” The screen will read “On” until pressure builds. At that time it will start a countdown. Note that the cook time on recipes doesn’t include the time required for pressure to build. (The time required for pressure to build will vary based on the amount of liquid inside, the temperature of the liquid, etc.) 
  • After cooking, there are two ways to release pressure from the pot. For quick release, turn the movable steam release handle to “venting.” Steam will release out the top of the pressure cooker. (Be careful; the steam will burn you.) The other option is natural pressure release, which takes longer because the pot naturally loses pressure as it cools. Some recipes may call for natural pressure release as it will continue to cook the contents for longer. 
  • Never open the lid when the floating pressure valve (the small metal pin that’s visible in the lid) is up. Once it sinks down, the pot is depressurized and the lid is safe to remove. 
  • Settings that don’t require pressure include slow cook and sauté. If using the lid for slow cooking, make sure steam release handle is set to “venting.” Never use the lid for the sauté setting. 
  • Other settings on your electric pressure cooker are pre-programmed time and pressure settings for particular foods (similar to the ones on a microwave). You can use them or select your own pressure/time using the “manual” setting (or the “pressure” setting on certain models). For manual, use the plus and minus buttons to adjust the time. OKL Article End