I was looking for some cooking inspiration in 2018. And friends, I found it. I have discovered the Instant Pot. And I'm SO EXCITED. Do you have one? Have you heard of it? Of course you have. I was late to this game. Instant Pot was one of the 5 best selling items on Amazon and Target on Black Friday. I read that Amazon shipped an Instant Pot to 2/3 of American zip codes in 2017. Is that possible? I don't know, maybe that's exaggerated BS, but I tell you what, it's a freaking miracle.
It sautes. Pressure Cooks. Slow cooks. Steams. Warms. It even bakes cakes and makes yogurt.
a remarkable example of a new breed of 21st-century start-up — a homegrown hardware business with only around 50 employees that raised no venture capital funding, spent almost nothing on advertising, and achieved enormous size primarily through online word-of-mouth.
Robert Wang, 53, did not set out to be a kitchen mogul. An engineering whiz who grew up in Harbin, China, as the son of two professors, he earned a Ph.D. in computer science and intended to develop artificial intelligence systems for a living. After a series of telecom and tech jobs, he was laid off from his dot-com position in 2008, just as the global financial crisis hit.
After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to start his own tech company, Mr. Wang turned his attention to kitchen appliances, a market that hadn’t yet been visited by the tech industry’s disruption fairies. A lapsed home cook whose busy schedule rarely allowed him to make healthy meals for his wife and two children, Mr. Wang recruited two other engineers and spent 18 months and $350,000 of his savings developing a high-tech device that would combine pressure-cooking, slow-cooking, sautéing and other common cooking functions in a single appliance.
In 2010, after several months of sluggish sales in and around Ontario, Mr. Wang listed the Instant Pot on Amazon, where a community of food writers eventually took notice. Vegetarians and paleo dieters, in particular, were drawn to the device’s pressure-cooking function, which shaved hours off the time needed to cook pots of beans or large cuts of meat. Sensing viral potential, Instant Pot sent test units to about 200 influential chefs, cooking instructors and food bloggers. Reviews and recipes appeared online, and sales began to climb.
I asked Santa for an Instant Pot, and had to wait a bit because the model I wanted was out of stock, but, dear reader, Santa hooked me up yesterday.
I have to admit, it's a bit complicated and intimidating. Pressure cooking is no joke and if you screw it up you can get yourself hurt. But I went from out of the box to full meal on the table in an hour with a dish that included brown rice and to me that's nothing short of miraculous. If you get or have an Instant Pot, please make sure to follow all the safety instructions therein. This was my trial run and a totally thrown together recipe mashup based on what I had available.
What's so different from the crock pot is that this sucker can get HOT, and you can saute in it.
I heated up some olive oil and sauteed a large chopped onion.
After they were translucent and yummy,
2 cups of brown rice
1 package baby carrots
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 can cream of anything soup. (SO much better if you can make some version of this yourself, but I am all about making what you have on hand work for you....)
2-4 chicken breasts, sliced or pounded thin.
add a ton of ground pepper and a dash of worcestershire sauce
Then seal that thing up tight and set it to high pressure for 25 minutes.
Ok here's the scary part.
When time is up, you have to release the pressure. You can release it slowly or you can do the quick release by releasing the steam valve. But holy shit, people, be careful, because that steam is hot and dangerous and powerful and scary.
But then? You have perfectly cooked rice, tender chicken that falls apart with a fork, and a delicious sunday night comfort meal.
One last fact, and my favorite tidbit from that NYT story.
He (Wang) also revealed a secret: in every official photograph of an Instant Pot, the unit’s timer is set to 5:20 — a series of numbers that, when spoken aloud, sounds like “I love you” in his native Mandarin.
“It’s a subliminal message,” he said. “It shows how much we care about our customers.”
Don't you love that? Insta love!!