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Instant Pot Goals

January 11, 2018

Okay. Let’s get this out of the way. Yesterday when I mentioned that I bought the three quart Instant Pot instead of the six quart Instant Pot, I got a little bit of pushback. And that’s fine. I love passionate, opinionated people who are eager to share their thoughts.

Now that I’ve finally taken the thing out of the box, I’m more convinced than ever that this smaller sized model was the right call for me.

But how will I know for sure? Well, it helps to have a clear set of goals.

There is absolutely a cult behind the Instant Pot. And that’s cool. People love all sorts of appliances and cooking tools. I love my cast iron skillets, but I don’t love all of them equally. It’s the eight inch one I love the most. Love is a crazy thing. Maybe we can talk more about love as we get closer to Valentines Day.

Instant Pot devotees seem to cook everything in the Instant Pot, and cook them in quantity.

This is an instinct I can totally understand. I too will often cook things in quantity, be they large batches of Cuban black beans, crock pot pulled pork, or a large pot of split pea soup. I’m sure the Instant Pot can make all of these dishes in a fraction of the time it takes me using the techniques I’ve learned over the years.

But that’s not why I wanted an Instant Pot.

My desire to have a timer controlled electric pressure cooker was to accomplish a different set of tasks. Remember, I’ve got a large stove top pressure cooker that I’m happy to use for larger quantities of soups, stocks, and stews.

Here is how I will know if the Instant Pot was a success: How good a job does it do in the role I want it to play in the kitchen? Let’s look at the list of tasks, and why those are important to me.

Beans, Beans, and Beans
I want to eliminate the convenience of canned beans from my life. Yes, it’s easy to make a large batch of beans, portion them, and freeze them for later use. But then you have frozen beans, which need to be thawed, and that’s a pain. Plus even though we have a chest freezer, it tends to get a bit crowded in there. And then there is all my craziness about storing hot liquids in plastic containers, not to mention the refrigerator space required to cool down large quantities of hot food.

So when I need some beans to enhance a pasta, fill burritos, or supplement a soup, I am going to turn to the Instant Pot.

Morning Oatmeal
Steel cut oatmeal is a favorite of mine. I especially love toasting the oats in butter before simmering them in a mixture of milk and water, with a pinch of salt. It just takes a ton of time. I’ve tried doing it in the slow cooker overnight. And it’s fine. But the slow cooker is so big, I need to make a jumbo batch. Leftovers are great and all, but it simply makes too much. With the three quart Instant Pot I can make one cup of steel cut oats in “three minutes”.

Rice
I’ve always wanted a rice cooker, but I never bought one. Mostly because we don’t eat rice that much, and I try to limit the number of appliances in the house. But I’m excited to see how well the Instant Pot does as a rice cooker. While I’m happy to make brown rice in the winter using the boiling method, I’m especially excited by the prospect of having rice in the summer without heating up the house.

Stock
The large pressure cooker is my go to device for making big batches of chicken stock from the bones of many chickens. But sometimes I have just one bone. Or a small handful of parmesan rinds.

Actually, I have a lot of parmesan rinds, but I really don’t want to keep parmesan broth on hand. Although I would like to be able to make a quick batch of richly flavored cheese broth for making polenta when the mood strikes. So with a small Instant Pot I can make just a few cups of stock à la minute.

That’s it.

Those four things are what I need most. I want to be able to have them on hand quickly, and with minimal intervention on my part. Most importantly, I would like them in small batches. Okay, rice I’m fine with a slightly larger batch. I do enjoy a good fried rice every now and again. But the three quart Instant Pot makes up to twelve cups of cooked rice, so I’m good.

Oh yeah, and I don’t want the thing to take up a lot of space on the counter when it’s working either. The three quart machine may look small in the big box store. But on my counter in the kitchen it’s got a solid footprint. The six quart machine is a monster in comparison.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll fall in love with this device so much that I will want to cook everything in it. But even then, I will still want a smaller device for the tasks outlined above.

But first, we’ll have to see how it does once I put it through the paces. I’ll let you know.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jean Patiky permalink
    January 11, 2018 11:57 am

    Rats! You beat me to it! I was going to buy you the big one! Still may do! Watch the YouTube videos… Printed directions are daunting!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • January 11, 2018 12:17 pm

      Thanks for the thought. I’ve got all the kitchen gear I need. Although if you must buy me something, I do find those eight-inch black steel French omelet pans kinda dreamy.

  2. January 11, 2018 2:47 pm

    I have a small pressure cooker (not the Instant Pot), and it’s brilliant for quick beans. One caveat: they’re not always pretty to look at. As long as you don’t care if some of them are blown out, then you will love it for beans.

    Regarding the steel cut oats, I make them using the slow cook function on the cooker. Overnight on low, on a Sunday night, and I have oatmeal for breakfast the entire week.

  3. Ryan H permalink
    January 11, 2018 5:40 pm

    Welcome to the family, Brother Daniel. I have only run the water test on the IP and have found the recipes too intimidating to start without an afternoon in front of me. Maybe this weekend.

  4. Dave permalink
    January 11, 2018 6:25 pm

    I’m not being purely contrarian here concerning du jure cooking equipment fads, I’ve wholeheartedly embraced the immersion cooker fad or instance… But I am baffled by the Instapot craze. I’ve seen them, I’ve seen them used, I’ve had food from them, I don’t get it.

    It seems to me to be something that is just a sort of good version of a few other things. I am very comfortable with pressure cooking the old fashioned way, and I guess some are not. So maybe I’m not the market.

    Also, I keep getting the “but it makes yogurt!!! it sterilizes eggs!!!” answer. 99.9% of owners will never get it together to do either. I guarantee it.

  5. Jenny permalink
    January 12, 2018 12:43 pm

    I get the foodie skepticism about the instant pot, but for those of us who have thought about (but failed to invest in) a pressure cooker for years, they are great. If you already have a pressure cooker that you use, then maybe the added bells and whistles might not be worth the investment. But I have used mine more than I have used my immersion cooker, especially since I now have a reliable method for perfect soft boiled eggs.

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