By now you’ve probably heard the buzz about the Instant Pot®, the slow cooker, pressure cooker and stove-top stand-in all wrapped into one compact appliance. If you decide to jump on the bandwagon, here are a few easy, comforting meals to set you down the right path.
5 ingredient Mac & Cheese
• 1 pound elbow macaroni
• Kosher salt
• One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
• 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
• 3 cups shredded mild or medium Cheddar
Combine the macaroni, 4 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt in an Instant Pot® (see Cook’s Note). Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
After the pressure cook cycle is complete follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid and switch to low saute setting.
Stir in the evaporated milk, butter and 1/4 cup water. Then add the Cheddar, a little at time, while constantly stirring, until the cheese is completely melted. Serve hot.
Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer’s guide.
Tex Mex Beef Stew
• 1 Tablespoon chili powder
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 pounds cubed beef stew meat (preferably chuck)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 poblano chile pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, smashed
• 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with chiles
• 1/2 cup corn chips, finely crushed, plus more for topping
• 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, more for topping
• Cooked white rice, for serving
• Shredded Cheddar and sliced scallions, for topping
Mix the chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika and cinnamon in a small bowl. Put the beef in a medium bowl; add 4 teaspoons of the spice mixture, season generously with salt and pepper and toss until coated. Set aside.
Set an Instant Pot to saute at normal heat. When the display indicates “hot,” add the olive oil, then add the onion, poblano, garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining spice mixture and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 1 more minute.
Cancel the saute setting and stir in 3/4 cup water and the tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the beef and nestle it in the liquid. Put on the lid, making sure the steam valve is in the sealing position, and set the cooker to high pressure for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully turn the steam valve to the venting position to release the remaining pressure.
Turn off the cooker. Remove the lid and stir in the crushed corn chips, gently breaking up any large chunks of beef. Let cool a few minutes, then spoon off any excess fat from the top. Stir in the vinegar and cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Serve the stew over rice; top with cheese, scallions, cilantro and more corn chips.
Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
• 8 bone-on, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 3 strips bacon
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 medium carrots, chopped
• 1 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 3/4 cup red wine
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Serving suggestion: polenta
Turn a 6-quart Instant Pot® to the saute setting on high and wait for it to say Hot. Meanwhile, sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the oil and 4 pieces of chicken, skin side-down, to the pot, and sear until the skin is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to sear until the bottom of the chicken is opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.
Add the bacon to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until just golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot, until the onions are just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots just begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste has softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the red wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced by half, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, the reserved bacon, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and stir to combine. Turn off the saute setting and add the chicken.
Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. After the pressure cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Be careful of any remaining steam and unlock and remove the lid.
Remove the chicken to a platter. Turn the pot back to the saute setting on high and reduce the sauce until thickened and about 2 cups remain, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with polenta.
Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to manufacturer’s guide.