This recipe - or collection of suggestions - hopefully will open your eyes to the many useful variations of the types of food we think of cooking in the Instant Pot.
“A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable". So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said "This being is like a thick snake". For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, "elephant is a wall". Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear”.
This ancient Indian parable reminds us of all sorts of things about truth and such, but it is also applicable to the instant Pot. One person makes rice and assumes that it is a rice cooker. Another person makes baked beans and assumes that it is a hopped up slow cooker. One person steams vegetables and assumes it’s a steamer. A friend told me that she didn’t want an Instant Pot because she doesn’t like sloppy, stewed food. Apparently she assumed it was a stewer. Like the blind man with a firm grip on the elephant’s tail, she refused to move beyond her initial assumption. We will leave her there and move on.
If you like vegetables cooked crisp and bright, give your Instant Pot a chance! Put a half cup of water in the liner, cut up your broccoli, including slices of stalk, put the lid on, close the vent. Set the pot to Manual for one minute. (It takes a few minutes to get to pressure). Vent (quick release) when finished, and Oh my! Perfectly cooked bright green, tender broccoli! How much? It doesn’t matter. Just a few bits or a whole lot. The process and the timing is the same. Magic!
Asparagus is a particular favourite of mine, and it’s wonderful in the Instant Pot. Cook it the same as broccoli. One minute Manual. Quick release. Perfect.
The Instant Pot is also an excellent egg cooker. Nor only are the eggs perfectly cooked, one or a dozen, but, even very fresh eggs practically jump out of their shells! According to Chatelaine, “It’s a bit of a debate on why. Chef and TV Host Alton Brown speculates that fast-cooking the egg prevents the egg white from bonding with the shell membrane — the cause of all our egg-peeling woes. Others are certain that the internal pressure of the egg changes, causing the air pocket within the egg to expand and create a pocket between the shell and the egg, allowing for an easy peel.” Whatever the reason, egg peeling woes are now a thing of the past!
For a quick, easy and divine breakfast, you must try the following.
Toast or a bagel if you like, but I favour a croissant for this. Slice in half and put in your toaster oven or whatever you have. Start your toaster.
Half a cup of water in the liner of the Instant Pot. Put in the trivet that came with the pot. Put two eggs on the trivet. Close the vent. Set the timer to Manual, two minutes on high pressure if you like a very soft boiled egg or three minutes if you prefer it a a bit firmer. Or two minutes and wait a bit before plunging it in water. Quick release. Put your eggs into tepid water for a minute to stop them cooking.
Put your asparagus on the trivet in the Instant Pot. Lid on. Close vent. One minute on Manual.
Be peeling your eggs.
When the asparagus is done, Quick Release.
Arrange the asparagus on your toasted, buttered (Why not?) croissant, plop the eggs on top. The eggs provide a rich, golden sauce. Add a sprinkle of salt or a grating of Parmesan, and you just enjoy every bite of that!
I do enjoy a few or more thin slices of smoked salmon on my croissant, should I be lucky enough to have some, or prosciutto or a slice of ham or a few strips of bacon. Perhaps a lovely slice of perfect tomato and a shred of old cheddar. Mushrooms? The possibilities are endless!
Notice as well, that your Instant Pot liner needs a quick wash up, but for the rest, you have created a divine treat in just a few minutes without a mess or fuss or flap. Everyday gourmet.
So you got that Instant Pot for Christmas, made oatmeal in it once and put it back in its box in the basement? Be not like the blind man with a firm grip on the elephant’s tail and no need to grope further. There is a whole lot more to that elephant if you just keep feeling your way along!