My husband calls me a kitchen gadget queen, and he’s correct – I have owned just about every kitchen appliance and gadget out there. From the electric Hot Dog maker to the Air Popper, I’ve bought, and subsequently given away, loads of useless gadgets taking up space in my kitchen.
So much space, in fact, that my husband has taken to using the Alton Brown method of determining if I can purchase or keep an appliance. For those unfamiliar with this method, it consists of placing a piece of masking tape on the appliance with a date on it. If you don’t use the appliance/gadget within 6 months, out it goes.
We do have a couple of exceptions to this rule: Some gadgets just don’t get used all that often but they are extremely useful when they are in use. The 18-quart roaster oven, which gets a lot of use during the holidays and then gets cleaned and put away for most of the year is the largest of these. The travel crock pot with the lockdown lid (for going to potlucks) is another one that gets a pass.
When the Instant Pot came out, I wanted one. Eric (the aforementioned Husband) rightly pointed out that I have never used a pressure cooker, we already have a steamer/rice cooker, and we own two slow cookers – why spend more money on another kitchen gadget that may be doomed to collecting dust? My answer was to get a small pressure cooker and learn how to use it.
I will admit, pressure cookers frighten me. My mother rarely used hers, and the sound of the weight rocking and the steam escaping always made me afraid it was going to blow up. I bucked up, got a pressure cooker cookbook, and made a few things in my new 3-quart pressure cooker. They came out tasty, moist, and far quicker than the same meal would have taken in the oven or the slow cooker. And then, the inevitable happened – the pressure cooker got put away in a spot where I don’t see it, and I didn’t seek it out to use it.
So this year I approached my husband about a new slow cooker – one that had three smaller crocks so it could be used for a buffet. He pointed to our extremely full wire rack of appliances and said, “Fine, as long as you can get rid of enough things on this rack to make room for it.”
It took me three days. Three days of pondering what I could live without, and did I really need something that would be used only when I hosted a large meal, and really how often do we do that since our son moved out?
After three days, I picked 6 items off the shelf to be donated or re-homed and announced I was buying an Instant Pot instead.
One of the two slow cookers, a large Steamer/Rice Cooker, a smaller dip pot, and a panini press/griddle joined the ranks of my potato ricer and a few other gadgets and I chose a Duo 6 quart Instant Pot.
My first use was for mashed potatoes for a turkey dinner that I was hosting, and they came out quite well. Lovely, fully cooked in less time than boiling the potatoes normally takes.
My second attempt at using it was less than successful – I tried a recipe for Lemon – Rosemary roast chicken. The fault is entirely mine – I assumed I could translate a recipe for a regular pressure cooker without making adjustments. Oh, and at the end of the recipe, it has a note on how to do the recipe in an electric pressure cooker! I felt like Doctor Strange – “They really should put the warnings at the beginning!” My Instant Pot kept giving us a BURN message, and after we took the chicken out to cut it up for easier cooking, we realized the chicken was far too large for the cooker, even cut up. The sauce had a roux in it that had burned to the bottom of the pot under the chicken.
Further research showed that I needed to use a smaller chicken, and use the steamer rack under the chicken to keep it from making the sauce burn under it.
The third time is the charm, and here is the recipe I used to make dinner tonight – a lovely, moist chicken with a garlicky sauce that pairs well with riced cauliflower and winter squash.
Yields 4 to 6
Roast Chicken in the Instant Pot
I made some tweaks to the original recipe, found in "Pressure Cooker Perfection" by America's Test Kitchen.
1/2 cup dry white wine (or 1/4 cup white wine vinegar and 1/4 cup white grape juice)
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
Remove giblets from chicken and rinse. Pat dry, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Using the Saute function, heat the tablespoon of olive oil until it is just shimmering. Place the chicken, breast side down, in the pot and brown for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown the other side for 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set in a sheet pan.
Add the onion to the pot and saute for 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is translucent and softened. Add garlic and rosemary and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the white wine (or in my case vinegar and grape juice) to deglaze the pot, whisking to get all the lovely browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken broth and let it warm up for a couple of minutes.
Place the steamer rack in the bottom of the pot, with the arms of the rack up. Place the chicken breast-side up in the pot and cancel the saute function.
Close the lid, turn the vent to sealing, and using the Pressure Cook function, set it to high pressure for 25 to 35 minutes (25 for a 4-pound bird, 35 for a 5-pound bird). When the timer is up, do a quick release - hit the "cancel" button, and using a kitchen towel, turn the steam release valve to "venting".
Remove the lid, and move your chicken to a clean tray. Tent it with aluminum foil for 10 minutes.
Now, back to the Instant pot- using the saute function on low, add butter and lemon juice. Whisk in the flour to thicken the gravy. This should take 10 minutes or so, which gives the chicken enough time to rest before carving.
If you want the chicken to have a crispy skin, get the broiler going 10 minutes before the end time of the cooking program and put the chicken in the oven for a few minutes under the broiler to crisp up the skin.