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Author Topic: So I gave in and bought an "Instant Pot"(1) to see what the fuss is about  (Read 6519 times)
makattak
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« on: October 02, 2019, 05:59:05 AM »

(1) Competitor- Power QuickPot- but same thing. It was on sale at BJs.


So far I've had it two days and I am pleased.

I first tried a crockpot recipe that is my go-to for a quick and easy meal, Mexican chicken. It took more active attention than the crock pot (It is literally just dump the ingredients in) BUT was done in less than an hour, while the crockpot takes at least 4. (And at 4, the chicken is tougher than I would prefer. I usually do 6-8)

Additionally, the flavors were more distinct and the beans and corn more crisp. Overall, nice trade-off for speed and better flavor. The family was pleased.

Last night was chicken pot pie. Another favorite, but takes a good amount of time. Again, the quickpot worked very well. I could saute the onions and celery beforehand, toss in potatoes and carrots and chicken and cook with the pressure feature and then heat the cream and frozen peas with the saute feature after the cooking.

VERY tasty. Possible the best I've made. I may have cooked the potatoes too long (and didn't need all the time I used for the chicken) because they were softer than I would prefer, but my favorite part of this one was I was able to look at two different instant pot recipes and the go with my own ideas and it turned out very well. As I get a handle on the cooking of meat I should get better results. And since this was one clearly one of my best chicken pot pies, that's impressive. (My children all said this was the best chicken ever. But they say that every other week, so it just means it was really good.)

I'm looking forward to trying instant pot ribs. I found a recipe online for them and that was what actually made me break down and buy one.

It has several other features (yogurt maker, slow cooker- not sure if I'll use either of these), but the one I'm interested in trying still is the Sous Vide function. I've never gotten into that, but now I have a means to do so.
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2019, 07:02:15 AM »

We are still happy with our Instant Pot and use it several times a month. I plan on using it to make pork adobo this weekend.  I prefer the chicken adobo and my wife prefers pork, so we are making pork.
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2019, 07:31:24 AM »

Patty bought one a couple of months ago.  She mainly uses it to hardboil (pressure cook) eggs.  I've used it a few times to cook dried beans, and a spaghetti squash.  It works very well.  But so does a stovetop pressure cooker and I have several of those already in various sizes.  The Instant Pot doesn't hiss like the old pressure cookers, and I don't have to watch it to keep adjusting the fire, so I like it.  

I will keep using the old pressure cookers for canning.  The IP should be able to can pint jars but they say not to, probably because its pressure settings are not certified.  (but if you only need to maintain 11 PSI to kill botulinum and you set the IP for 15 lbs it should be good enough.)  Not that botulism is something you wanna mess around with.

I was going to try using the IP to make some Beef Bourguignon last weekend with an old package of stew meat in the freezer -- not sure if it's beef or lamb -- but I couldn't find the meat so I must have used it already.  I did find a few steaks that I didn't know were in there, so it was still a win Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2019, 07:36:31 AM »

We use it regularly.  These are some of my favorite recipes:

https://www.recipethis.com/101-instant-pot-recipes-for-the-complete-beginner/
https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/pressure-release-natural-quick-release/
https://twosleevers.com/instant-pot-butter-chicken/
https://www.simplyhappyfoodie.com/instant-pot-mississippi-pot-roast/
https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-cheesecake-new-york/
https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/pressure-cooker-peanut-butter-cup-cheesecake/
https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/instant-pot-crispy-carnitas/
https://cookingwithkarli.com/dump-and-start-instant-pot-alfredo/
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2019, 04:44:49 PM »

Instead of one of those, I bought a Ninja Foodi. 

https://www.amazon.com/Ninja-FD401-Fryer-Stainless-Pressure-8-Quart/dp/B07S85TPLG/ref=sr_1_5?crid=SPNWYATDUGST&keywords=ninja+foodi&qid=1573000762&sprefix=ninja+%2Caps%2C185&sr=8-5

Didn't pay that much.  Wife had Kohl's Cash and coupons.  Ended up paying around $170.  It's a pressure cooker/slow cooker/air frier.  Damned if it doesn't do a good job of all of those.  Pressure cooking is super easy to do.  The air frier works really well, to the point where I was surprised. Easy wings and very well cooked.  Recommend if you are in the market for one.
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2019, 06:24:54 PM »

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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2019, 04:54:27 AM »

I've always been excited about a crockpot, even when my family got our first one in the 1970s. Damned useful devices. I guess that means I was 40 when I was born...

I've contemplated getting an instant pot, but I also have a pressure cooker, so no real need. I did get Castle Key and his wife one for Christmas last year; they don't have a pressure cooker. He's used it a number of times and seems to like it.
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makattak
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2019, 05:45:54 AM »

So far, I've used it at least twice per week.

The recipe for pulled pork is so far my favorite.

Add ~4lbs of pork butt to the instant pot. Season with salt/pepper as you like.
Pour a can of Dr. Pepper over it

Pressure cook for ~30 to 40 mins

Shred. (And toss the soda/liquid)

Add Barbecue Sauce of your choice.

I also made Chicken Tortilla soup: very good and very easy

I next made Chicken and Dumplings: it was ok. The chicken part was great, but the dumplings not so much. I may avoid pressure cooking the dumplings next time.

I made my mom's potato soup in the instant pot as well and it was very good. (I also learned her secret because I just never thought to ask how she got these tasty little dumpling-like things in it. The secret? She makes tiny dumplings with a little flour and egg yolks.)

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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2019, 06:02:38 AM »

"The secret? She makes tiny dumplings with a little flour and egg yolks."

In Pennsylvania German cooking those are called rivels. They're pretty much mandatory in any good chicken corn soup, and will show up in a lot of other chicken soups, as well. I've also seen them in ham and bean and potato soup.

Very easy to make.

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rivels


I know some people who put a bit of baking powder in theirs to give them somewhat lighter texture, but not so light that they'd be a leavened dumpling.


Regarding dumplings, yeah, no good on the pressure cooking the dumplings. My gut tells me that they would tend to get soggy from the pressure forcing liquid into the dumpling.

The best dumplings are made by dropping the mixture into a pot of liquid that is boiling just as hard as you can get it to.

My Grandmother used to make incredible baking powder dumplings for New Year's that she'd boil in the sauerkraut. I'm not sure which of her cooking I miss most -- those dumplings, or her sour cherry pie.
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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2019, 09:45:53 AM »

"The secret? She makes tiny dumplings with a little flour and egg yolks."

In Pennsylvania German cooking those are called rivels. They're pretty much mandatory in any good chicken corn soup, and will show up in a lot of other chicken soups, as well. I've also seen them in ham and bean and potato soup.

Very easy to make.

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rivels


Those are way too big ain't they?
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2019, 10:22:10 AM »

No. Every cook has their own version of how big a rivel should be, and there's no really correct answer.

I've had rivels that have ranged from around pepper corn size to ones dropped from a soup spoon (the ones in the example are dropping from a teaspoon).
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2019, 09:12:19 AM »

Made rivels to go into my chicken corn soup.

Decided to do them big this time, so I dropped them from a teaspoon. They look great, they taste good, but they got really tough on me. I think I must have overmixed them.
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2019, 09:35:22 AM »

This is the first time I have ever heard of Rivals, we just called any boiled dough Spatzle.
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2019, 12:13:37 PM »

"This is the first time I have ever heard of Rivals"

RivEl... no a.
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2019, 12:38:52 PM »

"This is the first time I have ever heard of Rivals"

RivEl... no a.

Spell check is a bitch on an Android
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2019, 11:38:30 AM »

I made rivels last night for some chicken soup. (I have a cold)  I used 1 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder (I don't think the BP did anything), and a large egg.  That wasn't enough moisture for the dough to come together so I added water a few drops at a time until it was the consistency of stiff pie dough but a lot stickier.  Dropped pinches of it into rapidly boiling soup.  Boiled hard for about a minute, then turned the heat way down and let it simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes.

They didn't thicken the soup nearly as much as I expected.  Wife said "wait until tomorrow".  It may have thickened up a little overnight, but not really.

I can see why the Pennsylvania Dutch like these; they have a meaty texture.  So you can get away with not putting any meat in the soup, just boil some meat and bones to make a broth for soup and use the meat in something else.  (Am I right about that, Mike?)

Next time I will make the dough a little drier so it's still kinda crumbly and not so sticky.  I like dumplings (no eggs) better, but these have potential.
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Mike Irwin
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2019, 07:09:26 PM »

"I can see why the Pennsylvania Dutch like these; they have a meaty texture.  So you can get away with not putting any meat in the soup, just boil some meat and bones to make a broth for soup and use the meat in something else.  (Am I right about that, Mike?)"

My guess is no.

The oldest recipes I've seen for Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup, ones dating back to the mid to late 1800s, all call for boiling a whole chicken until the meat starts to fall off the bone, then pulling the meat, chopping it, and returning it to the pot.

My guess is that CCS developed primarily as a way of using a rooster or hen that was no longer capable of fulfilling its primary duty. These would have been older birds, generally tougher but chock full of flavor and connective tissue. The meat really wouldn't have gone well in anything else other than a soup. Younger birds would have been roasted or fried, but the old birds are best for soup.

In that sense, I think chicken corn soup is a lot like French coq au vin - a way of getting the nutritional value out of the bird in a way that would make the meat tender enough to eat but also take advantage of its flavor.

Rivels would have simply been an addition to the soup, something to make it even tastier, but also to thicken it and make it heartier. But, rivels aren't universal -- many PA Dutch CCS recipes that have been handed down over the years don't call for them.
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« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2019, 09:31:38 PM »

I made rivels last night for some chicken soup. (I have a cold)  I used 1 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder (I don't think the BP did anything), and a large egg.  That wasn't enough moisture for the dough to come together so I added water a few drops at a time until it was the consistency of stiff pie dough but a lot stickier.  Dropped pinches of it into rapidly boiling soup.  Boiled hard for about a minute, then turned the heat way down and let it simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes.

They didn't thicken the soup nearly as much as I expected.  Wife said "wait until tomorrow".  It may have thickened up a little overnight, but not really.

I can see why the Pennsylvania Dutch like these; they have a meaty texture.  So you can get away with not putting any meat in the soup, just boil some meat and bones to make a broth for soup and use the meat in something else.  (Am I right about that, Mike?)

Next time I will make the dough a little drier so it's still kinda crumbly and not so sticky.  I like dumplings (no eggs) better, but these have potential.

Are you a Midwest native? Most chicken soups/stews are for meat too old to be fryers. No one reserves meat.
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2019, 09:54:27 PM »

Are you a Midwest native? Most chicken soups/stews are for meat too old to be fryers. No one reserves meat.

No, I'm a native Texan. Smiley  I know if you have an rooster or old hen, you make soup, because the meat is too tough for anything else.  (my mom cooked an old rooster, and if I recall correctly it took 2 days in a crockpot before it was edible)  But I thought once you simmer it until it's falling apart, you might chop the meat for sandwiches, etc.

Buying meat at the supermarket, you have to pay a premium now for roasting or stewing chickens.  So I just buy fryers when they are on sale.
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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2019, 05:48:37 AM »

"But I thought once you simmer it until it's falling apart, you might chop the meat for sandwiches, etc."

The Pennsylvania Dutch don't really have a tradition of sandwiches.

Soups, stews, relishes, pickles, desserts, full sit down gut buster meals yes...

But sandwiches? Not really.

My guess as to why sandwiches never really developed any hold is Pennsylvania Dutch recipes developed primarily on family farms where families sat down to meals, whether in the home or field side during planting/harvesting season. It wasn't uncommon for the women to set up a full meal, complete with a table and tablecloth, out in the fields at lunch so the men could eat quickly and get back to work.

Sandwiches are more a portable convenience meal that really took hold because of factory workers having to take an easily portable meal that didn't require special storage (like a soup would) or reheating/cooking.
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2019, 08:05:58 AM »

"we just called any boiled dough Spatzle."

Nope. Spatzle is similar, but different. Spatzle dough is a lot looser, almost liquid.

*expletive deleted*it, now I want spatzle. I think I'll make some this weekend. The question is... do I have anything that would make a good spatzle tray... Not sure that I do.

Well yes, I do.

The steamer insert to my deep stockpot. It will make smaller spatzle, but it will work.
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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2019, 09:55:36 AM »

"we just called any boiled dough Spatzle."

Nope. Spatzle is similar, but different. Spatzle dough is a lot looser, almost liquid.

*expletive deleted*it, now I want spatzle. I think I'll make some this weekend. The question is... do I have anything that would make a good spatzle tray... Not sure that I do.

Well yes, I do.

The steamer insert to my deep stockpot. It will make smaller spatzle, but it will work.

There are thousands different versions of Spaetzle, depending where you are is what one calls Spaetzle. Spaetzle where I grew up is almost dumpling like, like smaller kumla without the ham gravy sauce
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2019, 10:40:16 AM »

"depending where you are is what one calls Spaetzle."

Germany. Germany is where we are, or should be, and spaetzele has a very specific meaning tied to the ingredients -- spaetzle always has flour, eggs, and a liquid (milk, broth, or water).

The basic spaetzle dough can be used to form many different sizes and shapes of "noodle," for lack of a better term, and each of those can have a different name based on its size and or shape.

In this sense it's very much like pasta in Italy. Pasta has a very specific list of basic ingredients that comprise the dough. From that basic dough you can make literally hundreds of types of pasta -- fusilli to ruote to cappalini... all very different, but the same base material.

So no, not all boiled doughs are spaetzle. Rivels only have flour and egg, so they don't quality as spaetzle.
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makattak
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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2019, 11:24:47 AM »

I made Pineapple Upside Down Cake in the instant pot last night. (I actually halved the recipe so I cooked on in the oven, as well.)

It turned out fine.

I preferred the oven-baked one as I liked the browning and crispiness. The instant pot one was fine, but its outside was more like a twinkie.

So, I'm sticking with the oven for cakes. But if I need it, I have a back up. The cake was good, just not as good as the oven-cooked one.
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2019, 12:57:42 PM »

"depending where you are is what one calls Spaetzle."

Germany. Germany is where we are, or should be, and spaetzele has a very specific meaning tied to the ingredients -- spaetzle always has flour, eggs, and a liquid (milk, broth, or water).

We're not in Germany, FYI.
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