In preparation for our retirement it got me to thinking about cooking. Food is never far from my mind as all my friends and waistline will testify, but this time I wanted to put a more serious edge to my thinking. I wanted to come up with a plan that would allow me to spend time in the kitchen cooking nutritious foods – on a budget, but not give that much time that it would eat into the day where we could be doing other things. Whilst cooking yet another batch of chick peas that were refusing to soften, I for the sixteenth hundred and twenty fifth time during my marriage swore that I needed a pressure cooker. And after twenty seven years I thought blow it, I’m getting one. So then I started the research and found much to my delight that there was a new gadget about town, an electric pressure cooker. Wow. So then I started to research those and after much peering at websites, calculating costs versus quality and versatility I decided to go with…
The Instant Pot. A seven in one miraculous invention that needs no attending, no turning up of hobs or turning down of hobs or looking at gauges rattling around on the top, you simply press a few buttons and it does it all for you.
Well what does it do? It does everything! Pressure cooking, slow cooking, yoghurt making, rice cooking, steaming, its a warmer and you can use it as a frying pan to brown your meat. A one pot wonder indeed.
When I first got it I made a pasta dish, which involved simply throwing in vegetables and pasta and water and setting it for ten minutes and it came out really well. There is a big community on face book, utube and on the internet and if I was thinking about buying shares in one company this would be it. It has a stainless steel inner lining which means its dishwasher proof, (although not the lid) many of the others I looked at had non stick liners and we all know as experienced housewife’s what that means… People are making cakes and lasagnas and curries etc, it looks really promising.
So last weekend I decided to make a beef stew.
And I assembled my ingredients. Beef, carrots, onion, swede, garlic, mustard, tomato puree, Worcester sauce and chicken stock, plus salt and pepper and a couple of tablespoons of flour.
I fried off my beef in batches using the saute button adjusted to high, then made a roux sauce in the left over fat with the flour and a little chicken stock, adding the aromatics, Worcester sauce, mustard, garlic and tomato puree, salt and pepper to make sure they all were evenly dispersed. Added the rest of the chicken stock, the liquid level then came up to 4 cups. Which is much lower than you would normally make a stew but the liquids don’t disappear like the do in an oven baked casserole and it would become too much like a soup if you added the normal amount. Then I added the meat back in on the bottom, followed by the carrots and swede, onion and potatoes on the top.
And we are just up to the maximum the pot can hold. Then I put the lid on and made sure it was not venting and hit the meat stew button, which is thirty five minutes, you can adjust that for more or less time, but I didn’t. The pot then comes up to pressure and then it cooks. I was busy when it had finished and it will keep it on a keep warm cycle for ten hours! It was keeping warm for thirty minutes before I opened it, I let the pressure off and we had this.
See how much more liquid there is. Oh the smell was divine. I greedily dished it out.
The potatoes were perfectly soft and fluffy, the meat was juicy and moist you could cut it with a spoon and the carrots and swede tender and succulent. The flavour was off an old fashioned stew that had been burbling on a low heat for two hours, absolutely delicious.
Yep, I think we are going to enjoy this new toy.
(Recipe suitable for Instant Pot operating on 11.6 psi, if using a 15psi pressure cooker you might want to reduce the cooking time by 7 – 15 %)